My Father Homer A Speer Sr 1880

Homer A. Speer Sr b. 1880

Homer A. Speer Sr

Homer A. Speer Sr

Homer A. Speer Sr was born in Zanesville Ohio (Muskingum County) in September 18, 1880.

The family including his parents and siblings migrated to the Pacific Northwest  around 1900.

Homer A. Speer Sr married Carolyn Edwards May 4, 1907, Their marriage ended  before 1920.

 

 

 

 

 

homer a speer sr travel document argentina0001

 

HOMER A. SPEER SR. (THE FATHER OF THE WRITER) WAS BORN IN ZANESVILLE, OHIO ON SEPT. 18,1880 (ABOUT 15 YEARS AFTER THE CIVIL WAR ENDED). HE CAME TO PORTLAND, OREGON ABOUT 1900 WHEN HIS FATHER ALEXANDER, JR. CAME WEST. THE FAMILY CONSISTED OF HIS DAD & MOM AND BROTHER, VIRGIL ASHTON AND SISTER GERTRUDE. I AM NOT AWARE OF HOW HIS FIRST YEARS WERE SPENT BUT HE WAS MARRIED TO A CAROLYN EDWARDS ON MAY 4, 1907. (FIRST MARRIAGE). AMONG OTHER THINGS HE ENDED UP OWNING THE “ARMY GARAGE” ON THE WEST SIDE OF PORTLAND. ACCORDING TO WHAT I CAN REMEMBER HE TOLD ME HE WORKED VERY LONG HOURS AT THE GARAGE TO MAKE A LIVING. HE TOLD ME A FRIEND OF HIS CAME BY AND SUGGESTED HE GO BY FOR AN UN ANNOUNCED LUNCH AT HOME. HE DID THAT AND CAUGHT HIS WIFE CHEATING ON HIM. THIS WAS ABOUT 1918, JUST AFTER THE FIRST WORLD WAR. HE SAID ONCE WAS MORE THAN ENOUGH AND PACKED UP AND I WOULD GUESS HE MOVED BACK IN WITH HIS MOM AND DAD. HE DIVORCED CAROLYN SOME TIME PRIOR TO 1920.

THE 1920 CENSUS LISTED HIM THEN LIVING WITH FATHER, MOTHER, SISTER GERTRUDE AND HIS MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER, RUSSIA FERBRACH. PROBABLY AT 779 S.E. 39TH ST. PORTLAND – JUST NORTH OF BELMONT. I DO KNOW HE BUILT A SMALL GARAGE BUILDING THERE TO KEEP HIS CAR IN. AS OF TODAY, (AUGUST 3, 2013) THE OLD HOME IS STILL STANDING – ABOUT THE ONLY OLD HOME LEFT ON THAT BLOCK ON 39TH ST.

SOMETIME PRIOR TO THIS TIME HE HAD TAKEN EXTENSIVE MEDICAL TRAINING BUT HE TOLD ME HE HAD CHOSEN NOT TO PRACTICE BECAUSE HE DID NOT LIKE IT. ONE THING IT DID DO FOR HIM WAS GOT HIM THE NICKNAME “DOC” FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. HE NEVER WAS MECHANICALLY INCLINED, BUT MUST HAVE BEEN A GOOD MANAGER, BECAUSE HE RETIRED IN 1932 AND TURNED HIS BUSINESS OVER TO HIS BROTHER VIRGIL WHO APPARENTLY WAS NOT A GOOD MANAGER AND WHO PROMPTLY LOST THE BUSINESS. ONE OTHER THING I CAN REMEMBER WAS THAT HE TOLD ME HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO BE DRAFTED FOR WORLD WAR I AND ON A TRAIN WHEN THE WAR ENDED.

SOME TIME IN THE 1920′S HE MADE A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD AND TOOK MANY PICTURES. A RECORD OF THE TRIP APPEARS ON THE SPEER FAMILY WEST WEBSITE.

ON DECEMBER 20, 1929 HE MARRIED MY MOTHER, ALICE ROSE DOHNER. I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE OR HOW THEY MET. AT THE TIME THEY MARRIED HE WAS ABOUT 52 YEARS OLD AND HIS BRIDE ABOUT 32. MY UNDERSTANDING WAS THAT ALICE DOHNER AND HER SISTER MARIAN HAD DRIVEN TO PORTLAND FROM WISCONSIN IN A MODEL A. MY MOTHER HAD BEEN A SCHOOL TEACHER AND WAS SUFFERING FROM SOME MENTAL CHALLENGES. HE WAS WELL AWARE OF THAT AND WAS ABLE TO RETIRE TO BE AT HOME WITH HERE AT THE TIME THEY WERE MARRIED. MY MOTHER TOLD ME HIS GREATEST DESIRE WAS TO HAVE CHILDREN TO CARRY ON THE SPEER NAME. AS YOU CAN NOW SEE, HE GOT HIS WISH. THEY HAD 4 SONS, THREE OF WHICH SURVIVED TO ADULTHOOD. SHORTLY AFTER BEING MARRIED THEY MOVED TO SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA WHERE I WAS BORN IN MARCH OF 1931. THEY RETURNED TO PORTLAND IN 1931 OR 1932 AND PURCHASED A CUSTOM BUILT HOME – 5 MILES WEST OF PORTLAND -ON ABOUT 2 1/2 ACRES IN “WEST SLOPE” FOR A REPORTED $2,500.00 CASH. IT WAS AVAILABLE BECAUSE THE FORMER OWNER WAS INCARCERATED FOR MAKING BOOZE IN THE BASEMENT. THEY ADDED A GARAGE, PUT IN A YARD AND RAISED THEIR FAMILY OF THREE BOYS THERE. IN LATER YEARS ALICE PAID TO HAVE A LARGE PLAY AREA EXCAVATED ON THE BACK OF THE PROPERTY. MY DAD PASSED AWAY IN THE HOME ON AUGUST 14, 1961.

THE PROPERTY AND ENVIRONMENT PROVED TO BE A PERFECT PLACE TO RAISE THREE BOYS. HIS ABILITY TO RETIRE AT THE AGE OF ABOUT 50 WAS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE FOR ME. IT WORKED OUT THAT I WAS ABLE TO DO THE SAME THING. THE WEST SLOPE HOUSE ENDED UP PROVIDING SHELTER FOR ALL THOSE YEARS AND WAS SOLD SHORTLY AFTER HIS DEATH BECAUSE ALICE CHOSE NOT TO LIVE THERE. AS I REMEMBER THE SALES PRICE WAS ABOUT $60,000 WHICH HELPED SUPPORT MY MOM FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.

HOMER A. SPEER JR – BEAVERTON, OREGON – AUGUST 3, 2013