• svanderschaaff

...And She Became a Widow

I've traced two out of four great-grandfathers so far, identifying where my relatives where in comparison to The Judge's children. I know very little about Bob McCoy, the other great-grandfather on my mother's side. (I looked at Wallace Brockman Porter here and Joe Maraniss in this post.)


Most of what I know about Bob McCoy is that "we don't talk about him."


He died in an accident when my grandmother was a teenager. My great-grandmother never remarried and my grandma, Patsy, went to work instead of college. And the sadness over his death seemed to permeate a lot of unspoken grief and pain.



Bob (Robert) McCoy, pictured above with trombone, was born in West Virginia and became a musician, playing the trombone in bands--or orchestras--in an era of band leaders, tuxedos, and scratchy recordings. He married my great-grandmother Cecilia Miller in 1923. Eventually, Bob left the bands and orchestras and became the branch manager for Electrolux.


On August 14, 1941, Bob was heading to his office to file the day's report. When the elevator doors opened, he stepped in. The elevator was not there. He fell down the shaft 14 feet to his death.


He left behind a widow and four children.


The oldest child was my grandmother Patsy. She is pictured below in 1942. I have her high school yearbook and an album filled with photos of her with friends, boys in their uniforms, and a no hint yet of the man who would become my grandfather....











Bob played in many bands, including the Paul Whiteman band featured in the recorded below. The song Jeepers Creepers became popular in 1938, and I think Bob had retired from the business by then. But he would have heard it--and could have played it.




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