Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Fern Elizabeth Snapp Robinson Sewell

My dad's first wife was Fern Elizabeth Snapp. I believe they met through mutual friends, Bernie and Opal Cole. Bernie and Opal were the managers of the apartment where Fern was living, and my dad was friends with the Coles. Fern and my dad were young when they married on August 22, 1940. She was 21 and he was 22. They were married in Huntington Park, California and honeymooned in San Francisco, California, staying with Red (my grandfather) and Gladys. They went to the Worlds Fair. I didn't know that until about a year and a half ago when talking to the widow of my dad's childhood best friend. You see, Jack and Betty Ann Swineford, accompanied my dad and Fern on their honeymoon! That was because Jack couldn't get time off of work to be my dad's best man at the wedding. My dad had never mentioned that he went.

Fern was a very kind person. She was also quite a glamour girl. From what my dad said, it was Fern that convinced him to visit his mother, Lola. My dad hadn't seen Lola in a few years. My dad always said Lola was in Norwalk State Hospital (now called Metropolitan State Hospital) and I figured that was where he visited her, but based on the records I have and the timeline of his life with Fern, he would have visited Lola at Camarillo State Hospital.

My dad and Fern separated probably around 1942 and I believe she filed for divorce then. I'm really not clear on that timeline, but I know that my dad said she was very nice and he said he was an "ass". When I spoke with Betty Ann she said that she thought it was 1942 when my dad showed up at their house for cards without Fern and said he had left her. The rest of that is a mystery and I still need to get to Downtown LA to retrieve the actual divorce record for timeline. From what I've heard, they were still married when my dad was drafted and rumor has it that Fern remarried before my dad was discharged and before the divorce was final. Again, I'm not sure if that's correct and will begin to research that soon.

Anyway, they did go their separate ways and Fern remarried a businessman named Paul Sewell and my dad remarried a young lady named Esther Vondollen. My dad's circle of friends always remained in touch with Fern and her mother, Mary Roades Snapp. At some point, Paul and Fern moved to Oklahoma City. Paul had a trucking business and Fern worked with him running the firm.

I knew that Fern was killed in a car accident and that she was the only one that died in that accident, but I just didn't know when or where that was until I spoke with Betty Ann. She told me it was Oklahoma City in the mid 1960s. Prior to that, I just always thought it was sometime in the 40s for some reason and I thought it was in California. My parents never shared tons of info, obviously, hence my thoughts. According to my dad, Fern was always afraid of cars and feared she'd die in one. Betty Ann told me that Fern was actually involved in a plane crash and survived that, and had no fear of flying, but apparently, cars were a different story.

Armed with a place and an approximate year, I posted to the Rootsweb/ message boards for Oklahoma City asking for an obituary for Fern Sewell. It wasn't too long before a woman responded and said she'd check the newspapers at the library (mind you, she did this during horrible weather conditions). She sent some newspaper articles about the accident! True to what I had always heard, Fern was the only one killed in the accident.

It happened on Friday, July 28, 1966. Paul and Fern were driving in their car with Fern's brother James and his wife. They were traveling west on NW 39 Expressway in the 3500 block when they were hit head-on by a car driven by Thomas J. Dawson. Dawson was travelling east in the westbound lanes and police could not explain that. Fern and Paul were both wearing safety belts upon impact.

Fern's funeral services were held at 2pm on Monday, July 31, 1966 at Smith and Kernke Funeral Home. I will have to check with them to see if they have an actual obituary.

As for any art this weekend, the ideas were massive yet production nil. With taking my mom to her hair appointment, errands, filling and picking up prescriptions, returning mom's items that don't fit, shopping, laundry, chores, no art from me, yet again. I am now feeling very down about the fact that I didn't do anything fun for myself (maybe selfish) and now have to prep for the day job tomorrow.

I had an idea for a dish towel and got the supplies I needed and planned to work on it, and photograph it in progress to create a tutorial, but now it is after 9pm on Sunday and none of that has happened. Plus, my new smart phone isn't even loaded with my contacts, nor did I create a Twitter account. I feel sometimes like I'll never accomplish what I want to under my current circumstances. What can I say other than, oh well, deal with it. It’s easier to blog in between doing laundry, running errands and making dinner than trying to do art projects sometimes. Sadly, that doesn't help my goal of creating art to sell on line. Hell, I can barely get views any longer when I re-list items in my Etsy shop. I really need to rethink what I'm doing. I would hate to die tomorrow feeling like I do right now.


  1. After all your positive comments on my blog and suggestions of an ArtySandp book (watch this space) I'm going to return the thought - you have such an amazing amount of family information have you ever thought of putting it in book form, even if it's only for friends and family it'd be a good read!

    Sometimes it's impossible to find the focus/time to create things that's why I went public with my July Challenge to force me to focus - don't know if the same would work for you?

    Getting views is a pain as well, would entering the team BSP help by bumping up your sales? Elizabeth's also just started off a Daily Featured Treasury promotion which hopefully will get more visitors to all our shops!

    Hang on in there, I like to see another HR professional who's also artistic - we're few and far between!

  2. Steve - thank you so much. I have considered a book about the research as I have found it to be quite intersting and really hoped to have it all wrapped it up and then be on Oprah! Then she went and retired on me. Damn.

    I have a treasury in progress right now but it isn't finished and I'm intrigued by Eliazeth's BSNs but still don't quite get them, but plan to get them, and join.

    I have read that some feel that all the effort in Etsy is fruitless, since only the big sellers get attetnion, but I don't wnat to let that discourage me. Thanks for the cheerleading! I can use it right now. I'm surprised that you feel the same way as I thought you had a far greater following than I. You work and your blog are awesome.

  3. As a follower of both of you I've got to agree with Steve. You've done a huge amount of work. it needs to be shared. A book would be a briliant idea.
    As for Etsy, well! The words flogging and dead horse spring to mind!!

  4. Lol - I prefer to think of Etsy as a tool that will bring me lots of customers, only there's no instructions, it's dark and I'm fumbling around a lot....stop that sniggering at the back!

  5. I was always so amazed by the "Quit Your Day Job" series and thought I just HAD to give it a go. Hmm.

  6. Etsy is a lot of work to make it work but I am a firm believer that you will get what you put in to it. I remember just last November is when I opened my shop and waiting and waiting to get my first sale and then when it finally happened I remember jumping for joy when I hit 5 sales, well it has only been just over half a year and I am over a hundred sales now and counting. I have worked my butt off at it and I don't think I would be where I am if I hadn't A) worked so hard and so many hours and B) joined Etsy Teams to help me get there My hope when starting this team is to help others that are like I was and help them get there shops taking off. You will get there, its just going to take time, work, and patience!