Winifred Mary Ryan

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Winifred Mary Ryan, my grandmother (Nana,) was the first generation in this line born in America. Her family immigrated from Ireland to New York state about 1909. She was the second of four children of Denis and Hanorah “Hannah” (McCormack) Ryan. She was born 15 Apr 1915 while her family was living at 245 E 62nd St, Manhattan, New York. She was baptized on 21 Apr 1918 at Church of St Vincent Ferrer, 869 Lexington Ave, New York. She had a younger sister, Mary Rain Ryan, who died as an infant; an older brother Henry F Ryan, and a younger brother Denis Joseph Ryan.

She attended St Vincents Ferrer’s High School at 65th St & Lexington Ave, New York from 1932-1934, then went to work as a secretary to the Head Division & Superintendent of Hospital at Bellvue Hospital until 1945.

On 30 Apr 1945 she enlisted into the Women’s Army Corp. She went through training at different places, keeping a travel diary as she went. She was trained as a medical secretary. Through her travels with WAC she wound up in Texas and married my grandfather, George Gaylord Vandergriff on 1 Jun 1946 in San Antonio. A month later she was honorably discharged from WAC as a corporal at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

George made a career out of the Air Force, so they lived many different places. They raised two daughters, Gaynelle Lea (my mother) and Patricia Ann.

Nana passed away 21 Jan 1999 in Melbourne, Brevard, Florida and is buried at Florida Memorial Gardens, 5950 South US Hwy 1, Rockledge, Florida.Image

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William Luther Vandergriff

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William was my great grandfather and the third child of Joseph Newton and Mary Lodema (Hurn/Hearn) Vandergriff. He had 7 brothers and sisters. He was born 25 Aug 1879 in Hood County, Arkansas. On 15 Apr 1900, he married my great grandmother Mattie Rocelia Simpler (sometimes listed as Samples) in Erath, McLennan, Texas. They had 8 children: Joseph Daily, Audrey Velma, Robert Wren, William Clovis, Mary Lou, Mabrey “Bo” Carl, George Gaylord (my grandfather) and Vaughn Aaron. I have information all families except Vaughn. I lost track of him after he enlists in the service in 1943.

William spent his life farming in Hood, Swisher and Randall counties in Texas according to the census records. In 1940 he classifies himself as a “poultry distributor.” Does this mean chicken farmer instead of agricultural products? I’m not sure at this point.

He died on 23 Dec 1944 in Amarillo, Potter, Texas. He was buried in Dreamland Cemetery, Canyon, Randall, Texas on 26 Dec 1944.Image

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