Saturday, March 4, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 28

Kubler's Dairy Queen
Roy continued to work for the trucking company in Des Moines for about a decade, but his constant travel and entertainment commitments took their toll on the family. Eventually he quit and tried other pursuits, including selling record-a-phones (early answering machines for businesses), Airstream Motorhomes (until his business partner took off with the model they had purchased and left Roy with the payments on it), and owning a Dairy Queen for a brief period. He then settled into selling commercial real estate for a few years, and his last position of employment was as the manager of a store selling parts and supplies for motorhomes and campers.

Oldest daughter Kathleen married Joseph Lane in 1968. They have three children: Julie, Joseph and Christopher. Julie married Ralph Maness in 1991, and they have two daughters: Molly and Cordelia. Joseph married Susan Sheets, and Christopher is unmarried.

Kenneth married Virginia Staley in 1969, and their children are Todd and Sara. Virginia died of complications from an aneurysm in 2015. Sara married Jonathan Wendt in 2006, and their children are Leo, Owen and Hazel.

Kimberly married James Wolterman in 1978. They have two children: Andrew and Kathryn. Andrew married Megan Englert in 2008.

Joseph married Lynn Graber in 1990 and their children are David, Stephanie and Rebecca. Lynn died of pancreatic cancer in 2002. Joseph remarried in 2010. David passed in 2013. Stephanie has two children: Arabella and Killian.

Kubler home in Cincinnati
Roy retired in 1984, and he and Catherine sold their house in Des Moines and moved back to their hometown of Cincinnati. They immediately began reconnecting with relatives and friends, and became extremely active in the local senior citizens center. They both enjoyed the card games and dances, Catherine loved the crafts room, and Roy became the director of the chorale group, which Catherine also participated in.

In the summer of 1989, they traveled out to Colorado to visit their son, Joseph. They stopped in St. Louis and stayed a couple of days with Kimberly and James, and also got to see Kathleen and her family as they lived in the area as well. They spent a couple of weeks enjoying the scenery in Colorado and were on their way home on July 18th. In the middle of Kansas on Interstate 70, Roy fell asleep at the wheel of the car. They had stopped for a potty break in the afternoon, and neither one of them put their seat belt back on when they reentered the car. Driving off onto the shoulder of the road, Roy awoke and over-corrected his steering. The car went off the road, flipping a couple of times. Catherine was killed instantly, and Roy was severely injured. The car behind them happened to contain a couple of off-duty paramedics, who immediately stopped to offer assistance and dialed 9-1-1. Roy was able to give them Joseph's phone number from memory, and he is the one who received the first call about the accident.

Roy was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Hays, Kansas. He suffered from a broken collar bone, all the ribs on one side were fractured, and he had internal bleeding. Joseph, in the meantime, faced the unpleasant task of notifying his siblings. He left a message on the answering machine at Kenneth's house and called Kathleen at work. She told him that she would call Kimberly at home that night after she knew her sister was done with work and had picked up her son Andrew at his baby-sitter's home. Kathleen was so distraught that someone drove her home from the office.

Joseph then had a friend drive with him from Colorado Springs to Hays, and Kathleen and Kimberly drove there together from St. Louis the next morning. Once they assessed their dad's situation and realized he would be in the hospital for quite a while, it was determined that Kathleen would fly to Cincinnati to begin making funeral arrangements for Catherine. In the meantime Kathleen's husband Joe would drive to Kansas and stay with Roy while everyone else made their way to Cincinnati for the funeral.

Catherine's obituary
Catherine's body was shipped by train to Cincinnati. It was very difficult for the children to plan their mother's funeral, especially knowing that their dad would not be able to attend it. They also did not know all of his wishes for the funeral, though he and Catherine had purchased a burial plan so that helped with some of the decision-making. The funeral was well attended by family and friends as Catherine was well-loved in the community. Men from the senior chorale group, dressed in their performance best, escorted the casket into the church while singing, "When Irish Eyes are Smiling." There was not a dry eye in St. Dominic's Church.

One thing that Roy made clear from his hospital bed was that he did not want anything personal of Catherine's to be in the house when he returned home to Cincinnati. He told Kathleen and Kimberly to pack everything up and have a yard sale in St. Louis. It was a very difficult thing to ask of two grieving daughters, but they reluctantly complied with his wishes, bringing Catherine's personal belongings back home with them after the funeral.

The beloved matriarch was dead at the age of 69. The foundation of the family shifted, and the children were numb.



1 comment:

  1. OH, so sad..... What a tragedy. The axis of the family definitely rocks and shifts after a death so sudden, shocking and tragic. Not one thing is ever the same. I cannot imagine stripping the house of your mom's personal items so soon. How difficult that must have been for you and your sister... And for your dad to live with the knowledge that he dozed off, which is so easy to do when driving on a boring stretch of highway. Such a burden for your entire family to bear. Life turns on a less than a dime, for sure....

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