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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018



This is Kathy Fiscus, a darling little girl who lost her life way too early but in a way that probably more people in the United States knew of it than any other loss up to that time.  You will understand that by the time you read her story.

She, a three-year-old, her five year old cousin, and her 9 year old sister lived in San Marino, California, and on the day of August 8, 1949 the three of them were playing in a vacant lot near her home.  Suddenly the older two kids heard some faint screaming; Kathy was nowhere to be seen, but the kids ran toward the source of the screaming and discovered she had fallen through open hole - an abandoned well - in the ground, about 14 inches across and very deep, hidden by a clump of weeds and obviously long forgotten.  They ran home to alert Kathy's mother, who ran quickly to the hole and called Kathy's name.  She asked Kathy if she was ok, and her little daughter answered "Yes."  That was the only and last word ever heard from her.

The story of the her rescue operation, which lasted 3 days, is well documented in news and visual media and it is worth looking up and re-reading.  Television was in its infancy, and there is still a smallish group of people alive who sat glued to their new television set for three days, until her little body was finally brought to the surface.  She was pronounced dead on April 10, 1949, but it is felt she actually drowned in the water accumulated in that old well shortly after she spoke her last word to her mother - "Yes."

Everyone from family to rescue personnel to volunteer workers on large and small equipment, to movie studios who sent large floodlights were so hopeful of a good result, and as with them, we who watched this event on TV all ended with broken hearts.

There is no good thing that can be said to come from such a terrible loss, but there was one major law enacted across our nation - "Kathy Fiscus Laws" - that requires all abandoned wells to be capped and filled in.  

Although there are still a few of us who were alive during this time, it seems somehow improper to label little blond Kathy as an IMMORTAL NOBODY.  But my thinking is that once we leave this place, her short life and her name are simply apt to be forgotten.  So I gladly consider her a perfect candidate for an IMMORTAL NOBODY, and I would really encourage you to use the internet's wonderful resources to read and see the full story of Kathy Fiscus.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Clinton, Kansas - June 1917

"The fateful day, June 5, 1917, dawned hot and sultry, without a cloud in the sky.  Popular wartime songs such as "Over There" vibrated from Gramophones, and the Clinton Draft Board had set up operations in the Community Hall (formerly the Congregational Church).  Sometime after four o'clock, Merritt Woodward noticed a dome of angry clouds forming off to the west, and he decided to keep an eye on them.... Will Cummings, who had been injured by his horse, fretted in bed over his helplessness; the Monroe boy, whose parents worked for the Cummings, skipped to the Hout farm to get a bucket of milk for supper....

"Somewhat later, Merritt Woodward glanced again at the threatening cloud and discovered that its dark billows were swelling rapidly and soon would engulf the town....Suddenly the emergency was there, and no time was left for deliberation.  Emma Cummings ...somehow, with her young daughter, conveyed hefty Will Cummings down the basement stairs and were helping him into a chair as the tornado hit.  The Monroe boy, terrified, raced toward home, sloshing milk down his legs as he ran.

"Raymond's father, Green Monroe, also saw it coming, but it took him longer than he intended to lead the Cummings' four horses into the barn and tie them securely to a manger.  As the fury struck, he decided not to run for the house.  It was well he did, for although the barn was totally destroyed in the violence that followed, Monroe, the manger and the four horses were left unhurt.  Monroe's family was not so fortunate.  His wife, Lillie, was killed, as their house was shattered by the wind, and his son, who didn't quite make it home from Hout's, was struck by a two-by-four and fatally injured...."

The storm passed.

"The two Monroe victims were solemnly carried to the Methodist Church were Dr. Beach examined them and pronounced them dead.  There they lay in state for townspeople to view and remember as a grim symbol of the fearsome power of nature.

"Why the tornado destroyed one building and not another, why it killed or injured so few people, and why it missed Bloomington altogether were questions pondered by Clinton residents as they cleared away the rubble and began to rebuild their town."

From Soil of Our Souls: Histories of the Clinton Lake Area Communities" by Martha Parker and Betty Laird, Parker-Laird Enterprises, 1980.

Thursday, July 26, 2018


My Friend
Barbara L. Maineri

I normally do not use full obituaries for my Immortal Nobodies, but I am compelled to do so for Barbara.  I knew her as President of the San Bernardino Valley Genealogical Society, and we became friends there.  That group is not mentioned in her obituary, and I must confess that I had no idea she was so busy when she wasn't working to make sure our Society stayed functional and helpful!  I am sure you will be as dumbfounded as I was when you read about this fabulous woman.  I hardly knew her at all.  But she was bright, sweet and kind, and all of the SBVGS members are better folk for having known her.

     Barbara “Bobbie Nell” Maineri, 80 of San Bernardino, passed away in the early morning hours of February 6th, 2017. Barbara lost her seven-month fight with an extremely aggressive, very powerful cancer. Her passing was peaceful, without pain, and with her loved ones by her side.
     She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Ronald Maineri; son Paul Maineri (wife Karen Joy); daughter Susan Madden (husband Patrick); daughter Karen Maineri (husband Michael); grandchildren Paul Nicholas Maineri; Connor, Caroline, and Clara Mae Madden; Pria, Blessing, and Masterson Young; brothers Gary Madden, Wade Rowland, and Bobby Graf. She was preceded in death by her daughter Marianne Maineri Whitehall, mother Fleida “Mimi” Cross, father Wade “Jack” Rowland, and brother Michael Madden.
     Barbara LaNelle Rowland was born on October 11, 1936 in Houston, Texas. After meeting on a blind date, she fell in love with and married Cadet Lieutenant Ron. The two traveled the world together for 20 years, living in England, France, the U.S., and the Philippine Islands, and had four loving children along the way.
     After Air Force retirement, the family settled down in San Bernardino where Barbara became a Realtor, then later earned her bachelor’s degree in education and a teaching credential from the University of Redlands. She taught elementary school before teaching at Job Corps where she was awarded “Teacher of the Year”. Later, she taught at the San Bernardino Adult School for many years. After retiring from her teaching career, she partnered with Ron to operate their successful rare stamp auction house. She is being recognized this April by the International Philippine Philatelic Society with a Lifetime Achievement award.
     Barbara had a life-long love for sewing and was a passionate, prolific, and award-winning quilter. Quilting brought her great joy and was her creative expression. She was an active member of the Citrus Belt Quilters and held several offices including 1st Vice President. She enjoyed spending time with her quilting friends and always looked forward to their fun times creating together.
     A long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church of San Bernardino, she made many sweet friends and was active in the Corsairs Mariners fellowship group.
     When she was a young girl, her life dreams were to be a mother, a teacher, and to travel the world. She accomplished all these goals with love, grace, beauty, creativity, and humor. A friend to all she met, a protector to every stray animal, Mom and Grandmother to a fortunate few, and partner-in-life to one lucky guy.

Obituary from Citrus Belt Quilters.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018



There is one fact and one observation known about him.  This hand-tinted photograph was found in San Bernardino County, California, in the early 2000's loose among some boxes full of ephemera and given to the California Room of the San Bernardino Public Library.

There is an unusual story about these boxes.  Some people die as wards of the county, having no relatives, unable to care for themselves and/or who depend on county funds for their very existence.  When they die, the county sees to it that they are buried, usually in a Potter's field and mostly in an unmarked grave, and then cleans out the place where they were last living. Personal material such as photos, bibles and the like are boxed up and, in that time period at least, were sent to the California Room.  The thought was that perhaps there was something in these boxes that would be of historical interest relating to San Bernardino. It was a good idea, but in practice, the employees did not have time nor experience in opening and sorting through all the material in these boxes.   

I moved to San Bernardino County in 2000, and as a genealogist I offered to work in the California room.  That is where I saw some 30 boxes of such material in a back room, waiting for someone to care.  I cared.  Over the course of five years, I sorted through these boxes, and dispersed whatever material I felt of value, threw away things like pictures of pets (a most difficult job!!), and then made an attempt using genealogical research skills at finding someone related to this deceased person - by way of the internet.  I had some spectacular successes, a few times of reuniting some family item with a distant relative, and more than a few simply being thinned out and repacked.  

In among these 30 boxes, I found this lovely sailor photo lying loose, probably escaping from one of the boxes.  There was no identification on it, and it was not connected to any box.  However, it was someone's son, and I couldn't bear to throw it away.  I have kept it in my possession since I left San Bernardino County in 2005.

This much I have learned:  Whoever he was related to died in San Bernardino County, California, sometime between 1990 and 2004.  And if the fellow in the Veterans Club of Country Village, where I live, is correct, his uniform indicates that he is a Radioman/seaman apprentice.  

I have kept this picture safe since I brought it home, but there will be a time when that will not be the case.  I am trusting that by means of this posting on Immortal Nobodies, he will get the honor and respect that he deserves, and mostly, that he will be found by his family.  It's up to you who read this to see that this happens and that the picture will always be retrievable.

Friday, June 22, 2018


If you have ever been to Wichita, Kansas, you likely saw The Keeper of the Plains, a 44-foot steel sculpture (shown above) set at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers.  The sculpture is the most famous work of Blackbear Bosin, a Comanche-Kiowa sculptor and painter. 

Born Francis Blackbear Bosin on June 5, 1921, he was given the Kiowa name Tsate Kongia, which in English means Blackbear and was the name of his Grandfather, a Kiowa chief.  Frank, as he was called, was born in Oklahoma but after high school he moved to Wichita, which he called home for the rest of his life. 

He was essentially a self-taught artist, starting with crayons early in the reservation school in Anadarko, Oklahoma, where he was exposed to the paintings of the well-known “Kiowa Five,” a group of Indian Artists about a generation older than he was.  In his teen years, which coincided with the Great Depression, he peddled small paintings door to door, selling them for a dollar or so.  As an adult, he served in the U. S. Marine Corps during World War II.  There was never a time in his life that he wasn’t involved with art; his first solo art show was in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1945.  At that time he combined a Southern Plains flat style painting with surrealism.  His painting style later evolved through many years of searching out the real lives and histories of the various Indian tribes so he could accurately represent them.

Of special interest is the attractive logo he designed for the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation.  His other artwork is in many collection.

My connection with Blackbear has a distant family link.   It is easiest described in this way:  My My Uncle Marvin and Aunt Florence Kimble lived in Wichita for many years.  They became friends with Frank “Blackbear” Bosin and his wife, Nola.  Nola and Florence had been best friends for years, and the husbands knew each other well.  My Aunt Florence died in 1979.  Blackbear died in 1980.  And long-time friends Marvin and Nola married in the early 1980s.  When Jerry and I went to Wichita to do some genealogy on my Kansas families, we visited Uncle Marvin and Nola, who were busy with the Blackbears. Ltd. Indian Jewelry Store.   By that time Uncle Marvin was almost blind, and Nola was lovingly caring for him.  It was then that we went to see the “Keeper of the Plains” and it was as beautiful a sight as one could hope to see.

June 5, 1921 - August 9, 1980

Sunday, April 22, 2018



The high school I attended (Poly High in Long Beach, CA was large by any standards.  I graduated in the class of 1953, and there were about 900 in that class.  I took what was then called the “college prep courses” but my real focus was in journalism.  And it was the kids in the journalism classes during those three years who became my closest friends.  Bill Warch was one of them.

He was one of the funniest kids I ever met – funny to be with and funny to listen to.  He could take anything and turn it into something that would cause all of us laboring away under a deadline break into laughter.  I was always afraid he was going to tell us we were too deadly serious, but no, he just had a knack for making anything funny.

As I recall, we had a short period of dating, but I really was not focused on my social life, so we just remained very good friends.  Our journalism classmates probably were “grinds,” an early “epithet” for kids who were way too focused on work, rather than “play” – but Bill kept us laughing.  He remained a special friend.

Finally we graduated, spread out to the various schools of higher learning and started our adult lives.  I saw Bill again at our 5th High School Religion, and at that time he was engaged to be married and had already graduated from Long Beach State College.  He was also studying with the “Players Ring” Theater in Hollywood, already starting to pick up some acting roles.   He and I had met again at the reunion committee planning meeting.  He was still funny, but with a little charm by this time.

When planning began for our 10th reunion, he phoned and asked if I’d like to ride with him to the committee meeting, as at that time both of us lived in Orange County and the meeting was in Long Beach.  It seemed like a good idea; the big shock was that a very handsome 27 year old knocked on my door.  I was still expecting to see the kid I graduated with, slightly pudgy and kind of funny hair, but age and experience had done a very good job on him.  Yes, he still could turn things into laughable stories, but it was like we both finally had become adults.  And we had, of course!  That was the last I ever saw him.

I didn’t go to the 20th reunion because I had shortly before then divorced and wasn’t in any kind of condition to go to such an event.  At the time of the 30th reunion, I had just married again, and had no desire to attend a reunion.    

One evening in 1979 I opened the evening newspaper and in the obituary column saw that Rev. Bill Warch had died.  I read it carefully and yes, it was the same Bill Warch that I knew, my funny friend – who at some point had left the acting profession and was now a well-known fellow in Anaheim who had actually founded a church he called “Church of Christian Living.”  Furthermore, he had written books and handbooks that are still being sold today.  His religion was not of a standard variety but you’ll get the idea when I quote from one “”If you are getting tired of being called a sinner yet you want to know yourself and God better, you are about to experience the most fantastic revelation in your life….”  I could tell that Bill had channeled his own smiling and positive approach to life – the very same kind of mirth that I remember from those high school days – into his life’s work.

Unfortunately, it was a short life for him.  I cannot remember the cause of death but it seems that it might have been something like leukemia.   I am sorry I could never have  told him how much fun being his friend was, not only for me but for the others in our little journalism group.  The best I can do is to name him as one of the Immortal Nobodies that I never want to forget!