Saturday, June 15, 2019


16 October 1933 - 13 JUNE, 2019

Alene Judith “Judy” Title Hyzen, 85, died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, June 13, 2019, a week after undergoing a necessary surgery. 

Judy was born in Los Angeles on October 16, 1933 to Julius and Bertha Title.  In 1936  the family relocated to Ontario, California, where Judy attended Lincoln,  Vina Danks and two years of Chaffey High.  Her last two years of high school were at Fairfax High in Los Angeles, where she lived with her Aunt Betty.  She then attended and graduated from Woodbury Business College.  Sometime after graduation Judy met and married Bob Hyzen; their family was complete with the arrival of son Jay in 1954 and daughter Robyn in 1956. 

The Hyzens made the San Fernando Valley area their home. Judy spent many years working in financial positions in various companies before she retired, but she also made sure she had time available for her kids and their chums, who all called her “mom.”

Predeceased by her husband Bob and son Jay, Judy moved to Montclair in 2008 and later to Collinsville, Oklahoma, where her daughter, Robyn Hyzen Brown was living.   It was there that she passed away.

Judy suffered her whole adult life from ulcerative colitis.  Surgery did nothing but add to her woes.  Hence, wherever she lived, she found and became active in a support group for those with intestinal problems. These groups became her lifeline.

She had a heart of gold.  Judy was a kind keeper of kittens and cats, and although not having grandchildren of her own, she became a thoughtful and loving aunt to all the little Title offspring in her brother Jerry’s family.   

No services are planned; she asked that her body be donated to science.  We are missing her already.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


14 October 1935 - 17 January 2007

     There is no one in my scrapbook who appears more times than Dokey.  I met her on the first day of school in September of 1945 - it was the year we both turned 10.  I was the "new kid on the block," my folks having moved across town, necessitating me leaving Willard Elementary School on that side of town and going to Whittier Elementary School instead.  I knew no one, so my job was to make friends with everyone.  I was really rather shy, but a new Girl Scout troop was being formed at the same time and my mother knew it would be a good way to make friends, so she saw to it that I became a member of Troop #28.  I became friends with all those girls, but it was a quiet tomboy named Dokey who became my first friend.

     We were nothing alike.  She was athletic, I was a real dud on any physical activities.  I was a fast reader and she didn't like reading anything.  She was overall a quiet kid who liked everyone.  And everyone liked her.  She was fun, and funny.  Probably one of the things that made us friends outside of the school yard was that both her parents worked, so she was free to come over to my house after school and she often stayed for dinner.  Our social life was primarily through the Scout Troop.  

     In Junior High she and a bunch of the Scouts took up a musical instrument through the school music program.  I didn't, and that did separate us a bit, but she often brought her saxophone over to my house and I would "try" to accompany her on the piano.  She saw me through lessons on the piano, and later on the guitar, neither of which I cottoned to.  But Dokey continued her music for years.

     In High School our connection, again mostly through the Scout Troop, was the strongest in the summer, when we walked a mile to the beach every day.  It was something kids could do in those late 1940-early 1950 years.  We always said we went to the beach the day that school was out for the summer and came home in time for School starting in the fall.  We wore our bathing suits under our Levis, carried our towels and baby oil (for getting a suntan) and I brought along my transistor radio, a new development those days.   Meanwhile, the scout troop still stayed together until the girls either went off to college or got jobs.

     The picture above was taken at one of the Fall Scout Camps we had each year.  Dokey and I, still good friends, found the perfect place to be together and ponder the direction our lives would take from this point on.

     I went off to college.  Dokey got a job with the Park and Recreation Department.  Later she joined the U. S. Army and played the saxophone in a military band for many years, retiring in middle age.. I eventually married, had four kids and led the kind of life that most young women had in the mid '50s.  My kids grew up knowing that Dokey was my best friend, but they never saw her.  They knew her by the pictures we exchanged.  The Scout troop also had periodic reunions up until there weren't many of us left.  The last time I saw Dokey was in 2003 - when she came to California from Arizona for our High School class's 50th reunion.  It was as if no time at all had passed.  We were still  best buds.

      In thinking about this, I remember she was the one who introduced me to my first cigarette - at a summer Girl Scout overnight camp at a local park, of all places!.  When darkness came, we took a walk to a nearby drug store, and Dokey showed me how to puff on a cigarette; she had brought a pack from home.  When we returned to our group, we didn't think anybody would know we had been smoking.  Our leader told us many years later that we reeked of cigarette smoke, but she figured we all had to figure out for ourselves what we were going to do about smoking.  We had a very wise scout leader.

     In 2007 Dokey passed away.  She had a lovely service and the three of us Scouts who were still alive were there to honor her. She had been a heavy smoker all her life and it took it's toll on her breathing.   She is buried in the Veteran's Cemetery in Sierra Vista, Arizona, close to her home.


Thursday, April 18, 2019



                 Sometime back I read a feature article n the LA Times that talked about the evolving field of designing urns for one's ashes.  And just as I never am able to pass a survey without taking it, neither can I not rise to the challenge of figuring out what "urnable" object best represents my understanding of my life.

               The newspaper features some very interesting and actually quite beautiful urns.  Even the urns that I laughed at were beautiful in their own way.  And yes, I did laugh at some of them.  One was the body of a fish that had two chicken-like legs holding the front end of the fish up, making a graceful swoop of the fish body, which of course is where the deceased's ashes were contained.  I can see that urn being used by one of two people - those who thought evolution was preposterous, such as a religious conservative, or those who thought otherwise, a scientist or a biologist, maybe.  Anyway, it made me laugh and if I tell into one of those categories, I would certainly want people to laugh at my ashes. 

               There was another "urn" that caught my eye.  It is a bird feeder - like a seed bell, but looked like a gourd birdhouse with a little hole in the side.  Under the hole was a perch inscribed with the deceased's statistics.  Now the uniqueness of this urn is that it is made of bird seed, beeswax and the deceased's ashes.  It is meant to be hung outside and eaten up by finches or chickadees.  Now this probably will be an off-putting idea to many people - but I find it a great idea to signify one's understanding of the impermanency of human life.  From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, you know.

               Perhaps this one appeals to me because for the last five years or so, Jerry and I have purchased dozens and dozens of birdseed bells and hung them on a wrought-iron staff outside our front window to watch the birds eat at the seeds.  This year I told him that I was finished with the seed bells.  The pile of seed husks had raised our lawn under the seed bell about 2 inches, had killed the grass, and would be blown all over the porch whenever we got a wind from the right direction.  So even though this one has great appeal to me, I think having one's ashes rain down on the lawn along with the husks (if the birds didn't eat all the ashes at the same time) probably is a good reason for me not to choose that one.  And my kids might object to its impermanency.  (Though to my chagrin they might not even notice.)

              Before I tell you what object I have decided on (if I were to change my mind and give up "my property" at the Montecito Ash Garden in Colton, which isn't likely), I'd like to encourage you to take a peek at theese really amazing designs, either at the LA Times online, which you can find via Google, or at, which is headquartered in Graton, California.  (Yes, Dorothy, there IS a Graton!)

               So now for the big moment.  I have decided that the objet d'art for my ashes should be a computer mouse.  I considered a monitor, a CPU, a legal-sized file cabinet, a ream of paper (this one came close to being at the top of the list) and a stack of CDs. But I think that a simple mouse, complete with left-and right-click panels and a tail, is what would represent me quite nicely.  And not to mention that even the shape of a mouse is similar to how I've morphed in my old age - kind of thick in the middle.  It may not be as dramatic as a birdseed bell, but I'm thinking it is pretty much "me."

                Anyway,  here I am, still on terra firma and heading into my 84th year.  I am still feeding the birds and sweeping up after them.  I have my pills and my support stockings, my hearing aids and glasses -- and a few more unmentionable things that seem to be a part of the package we were provided with at birth.  I haven't figured out hw I'm going to actually get myself to this column once my time comes, but for now, you've got a glimpse of my thinking about the whole event.




Thursday, February 21, 2019


24 January 1831 - 27 January 1922


In the Civil War Veteran Widow's Pension Files there is a letter that Elizabeth C. Winton sent to Washington DC in 1898 after she heard the news of her husband's death in an old Soldier's home in Leavenworth.  She appeals for assistance as the widow of John R. Winton, a Civil War veteran.  

….Now I will tell you something of the former part of our lives.  John R. Winton and I were married at a hotel in Lawrence, Kansas on the 26th day of October in 1857 by a Camalite [sic] minister, and we lived at what was then Prairie City, now called Media, Douglas County, Kansas until about 1863 in the spring.  We then went to Dayton, KY where we lived until the fall of 1881, when John R. Winton came home in July that year with a very loathsome case of gonorrhea.  In all those years we had had four children, two girls in Kansas and two boys in Kentucky.  

Now in 1881 we just had one daughter living about 14 years old.  She was already very sickly so I was compelled to leave him.  I stayed in Dayton till in December 1881 then came here to Las Animas [Colorado] to my brother [James Sellers Dobbins] and have been right here ever since.  John wandered about from one [Veterans] Home to another, up in Wisconsin, at Leavenworth, and Dayton, Ohio, and finally wanted to come back to me.  He said he was well and wanted to come back.  I had not applied for a divorce but heard that he had, but he denied ever getting a divorce, but I said I would not live with him unless he married me again. 

So you see he came here to my home that I had earned all myself and had three hundred and ninety eight dollars laid by beside taking care of my daughter and making the living for her.  She died in 1885, and now my money is all gone and I have broke myself down waiting on him for he has been sick nearly ever since he had come here.  I have been an invalid ever since last May, am scarcely able to cook a bite for myself.  Can you do anything ….?  Mrs. E. C. Winton

There IS a record of a second marriage to him in the Bent County, Colorado Courthouse, and she did receive a Widow's pension.

Her obituary provides most of what I know about her life.  It says she "was one of the pioneer residents of 1882...accompanied by her daughter, Alvira, who later passed away.  She opened a boarding house shortly after coming to the city and conducted it for some time, after which she followed dressmaking as long as she was able to do this work.  She was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church in Las Animas, Colorado."

She was my dad's "Auntie Winton."


Thursday, January 24, 2019


Born 10 Sep 1918 Ann Arbor, Michigan
Died 15 Nov 1979 Istanbul (Rumeli Hisar)
Buried 20 Nov. 1979 at Protestant Cemetery, Ferikoy, Istanbul. 

 Services were held on 19 November at the Union Church (Dutch Chapel) in Istanbul at 12:30 (National Archives, State Dept. RG59. Decimal File 367.113 (1930-1939) – Form 192: Report of Death of American Citizen.)

I first “met” Mr. Avery  by tombstone when I was temporarily living in Istanbul and  decided to check out who all was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in that city and see if any of the tombstones had interesting information on them (ALL information is interesting to a genealogist!)

Aside from his name, birth year and death year (1918-1979), there were only three words left: Love, Peace, and Züzüniyet.  So my thinking was yes, this last word was quite interesting, because my Turkish-English dictionary didn’t have it listed.

In wanting to know more about him, I found some records that showed all the degrees he accumulated in furthering his education and then learned that he had served with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) - in their Publication department .   Since I had sought help on my project from Nancy Whittler who was then serving the Mission Board in Istanbul and fluent in Turkish, having been in Turkey for many years, I asked her if she had any idea what “züzüniyet” – the word on Avery’s tombstone meant.  She laughed, and said there was quite a story about it.
According to Nancy, Mr. Avery was editor of the 6th edition of the Redhouse Turkish-English dictionary.  It was a big job, but since he loved words – their precision, derivation and meaning - he wanted to leave his unique mark on the dictionary.  He chose to do this by making up the word “züzüniyet,” which would put it as the last entry in the Turkish –English dictionary.  To this word he assigned the definition “conclusion” or “final word.”  The word “züzüniyet” does not appear in any other edition.  It is, however, inscribed on his tombstone.  

Unless one knows the story, or just happens to have that particular edition of the dictionary, the word will be untranslatable!

According to the Memorial Book kept by the American Board of Missions, Bob Avery had a special joy in life.  He loved music, as a listener and singer.  He loved children; they were drawn to him; and he gave them the time they deserved.  His humor never flagged; he saw all whom he met as children of God.  

And yes, he loved words.

He died November 15, 1979 in Istanbul.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


March 27, 1834-November 6, 1917

Las Animas Leader, Nov. 14, 1917
Las Animas, Colorado

Transcribed by Bobby Dobbins Title

Mrs. Nannie Dobbins, one of Bent county's pioneer citizens, passed away at the home of her son, R. G. Dobbins, last Tuesday evening, after a gradual failing in health due to extreme age.  The funeral service was held from the home on Seventh and Grove avenue on Thursday afternoon, the Rev. Eugene B. Kunts, D. D., officiating.

Mrs. Dobbins was born in Virginia, March 27, 1834, and at an early age moved to Kansas, settling near Lawrence.  Here she witnessed much of the border strife that made the history of that state.  She was a witness of the sacking and burning of Lawrence in 1856 by Quantrell and his band, and many other atrocities and wrongs of those stirring times.  In 1867 she was united in marriage with James S. Dobbins, to which union three children were born – Mary, who died in infancy; Robert G., cashier of the American Sugar plant here at Las Animas; and Scott W., who preceded his mother to the grave but a few weeks.  They continued to live near Lawrence until 1875 when they came to Bent county and settled near Rule Creek, 14 miles east of Las Animas.  With the coming of the railroad shortly after, the Santa Fe tracks were laid through their home and corrals, necessitating a removal.  For several years they resided at Fort Lyon, then a big frontier post; afterwards they settled on land just east of the Purgatoire and engaged in the stock business.  In 1904 Mr. Dobbins died, and Mrs. Dobbins then resided for several years with a sister, Mrs. Olive McGee, at Kansas City, Mo.  Some three years ago, on account of rapidly failing health, she returned to live with her son, R. G. Dobbins and family, in her declining years.

Passing away at the ripe age of 83 years and 7 months, with a residence in the west of nearly 10 years and in Colorado 42 years, would classify Mrs. Dobbins as one of the pioneers of the Great West.  What she has seen in her long lifetime, the things that made history for this great frontier of a great nation, would make a volume more interesting than a romance.  She was the type of woman that helped to make the development of the west a possibility.  Well educated, rugged of health and born with the fortitude that enabled her sex to undergo the hardships of the frontier and to face its dangers, both physical and mental, w\she went through life never shirking her part in any scheme of events no matter what it might be.  To such pioneers of the early days (…..) all that our county now is, for their fortitude made all things that followed, possible.

The many friends of Mrs. Dobbins during her lifetime, and of the family left behind, extend their deepest sympathy to the bereaved relatives at this time of sorrow.


"Nannie," as the family called her, was married first to Francois (Frank) LaHay, in Kansas.  They lived near what is now the Clinton Lake.  Two children were born to that marriage, son Ollie and daughter Ella, but unfortunately Frank died in 1863 while in Missouri and both children died in 1864.  At that time, Nannie moved back to Lawrence, where she lived with her sister Olivia Corel McGee and family.  The McGee's lived next door to the Dobbins family....

Nannie was my great grandmother.

Thursday, November 1, 2018



"He was a Renaissance man," his daughter Carolyn wrote to me when I reached her to find out more about my dad's cousin Traber.   I had heard of "Cousin Traber" all my life; as well as Cousin Percy, both of whom were sons of "Uncle Gaston."  My dad had left Colorado in 1930, and there were no relatives from his side of the family who followed.  Thus, when I started researching my family's history, everything "Dobbins" was new to me.

Traber was born in Las Animas, Colorado on November 25, 1896.  His mother died when he was two, and he was raised by his dad and stepmother, along with a half-brother, Percy Dobbins.  The Dobbins family were very musical.  Gaston and his brother, Scott, were both musicians, playing horns in the Las Animas City Bands for many years and also belonging to the Colorado Springs "Midland Railroad Band."  As an adult, Gaston worked as an accountant in the local beet factory, but his passion throughout his life was music, teaching music and leading bands.  Traber followed his father's footsteps in music, early learning to play the clarinet, saxophone and well as other wind instruments.

Below is a picture of Traber in the Las Animas band circa 1910.

Traber enlisted in the Navy in March 1918 and served as a musician, 2nd class, in the Naval Band at the Naval Hospital, Ft. Lyon, Colorado, until his discharge in February of 1919, according to his obituary.

But why daughter Carolyn called him a Renaissance Man was that over his lifetime not only was he active in the music field but he was interested and knowledgeable about  all wild life (particularly birds and wildflowers), and high school and college sports of all type (football, hockey, basketball, bowling, etc.); he received a medical certificate from the U of Mississippi in 1924, his BS degree from Mississippi State College in May of 1927, and a MS degree from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in May of 1932, having completed courses in entomology, bacteriology, pathology, physiology, chemistry and physics and at various times was an instructor in schools of higher learning.  In addition, in 1932 he was appointed a field aid in the Division of Fruit Insect Investigations, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, and in 1940 was assigned to the Japanese Beetle Labratory in Moorestown, New Jersey. 
He was still actively engaged in his many interests at the time he unexpectedly suffered a heart attack and died in 1952.  He left a wife, the former Vera Pruitt, and three children, Robert Norman, Carolyn and Beverly.  He was buried with military honors in the National Cemetery at Beverly, N.J.

NOTE:  Traber Norman Dobbins had a second cousin named Traber Norman.  Their Grandmothers, Nancy Corel Dobbins and Mary Corel Puckett were sisters.    My dad's grandma was also Nancy Corel Dobbins.