|Gwen on the steps 2425 Calverton Heights Avenue|
|Bill on the steps |
2425 Calverton Heights Avenue
|Gwen and Carol Betterton Beach, Maryland 1946|
|Gwen on the steps 2425 Calverton Heights Avenue circa 1947 |
with Carol and Wilbur Jr.
|Wilbur Jr, Gwen holding Karen and Carol looking on|
1418 Berry Street circa 1952
|Wilbur Jr, Karen, Gwen and Carol on the lawn in front of 1418 Berry Street|
Gwen wanted a white picket fence and Bill made one for their small front lawn.
|3800 Elmcroft Road, 1956|
|Standing back row: Wilbur C Garner, Jr., |
Carol Ann Garner, Karen L Garner
Seated: Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins Garner,
William Ewart Wilkins and Kate Hudman Wilkins
|Bill loved baseball and enjoyed attending games at Memorial Stadium with friends Bob and Dot Foote. |
This picture was taken because the section in which they were sitting
was also the Section Bill was assigned to during WWII G-1.
|Bill loved to drive and take day trips in the car with the family. Harper's Ferry West Virginia Circa 1956|
"Life became a busy round of getting the children off to school - getting ready to go to work- working hard- coming home to fixing supper for a hungry group of people- and the inevitable, never-ending job of housework! And so the years rolled on. Many happy hours were spent working in the garden- a sad return to England in 1964 when my father died - the children's graduation from school and their subsequent marriages... "
When Gwen's father passed away unexpectedly in July of 1964, Gwen made the trip home to console her mother and tend to her fathers affairs. Gwen and Bill became grandparents in 1968 with the birth of their first grand daughter Christy Jane Clements.
Gwen retired from the Hecht/May Company in 1971. In 1973 at the age of 50, prodded on by her sister-in-law Mary, Gwen learned how to drive and got her driver's license. Bill and Gwen made several trips back to England on vacation.
At the end of Gwen's personal genealogical profile she wrote:
And so, dear descendants, I say "Goodnight" to you and God Bless you always. These last lines of my life to date are being written on the last day of the year 1974. Soon it will be another New Year--- and we will raise our glasses in a toast to the year 1975. It seems appropriate to end with these few lines from a poem sent to me by my father many, many years ago.......
"So live each day with gratitude, be thankful for the power
To live, and love, and to enjoy each good and perfect hour
And make the best of every day, and take what it can give
Tomorrow is God's Secret- but Today is Yours to Live."
Gwen's mother passed away in 1979 and Gwen returned to England once again with sadness in her heart to dissolve her mothers estate. I remember Gwen saying upon the passing of her mother that all of her ties to England had now been severed. Bill retired from the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company in October 1981, he retired after 43 years of faithful service. Bill and Gwen enjoyed traveling in their retirement years, visiting with their children, 5 grandchildren and long lost relatives as they pursued answers, to questions they had, while completing research of their family trees.
Gwen became ill in 1999 and was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at the age of 76. She passed away in June 1, 2000. Bill was heartbroken again, losing his life long love of 56 years. Upon her passing Bill found in her notebook a card with a photograph of a single rose on the front and inside she had written:
"If my life on this earth should end today and there was something that I had left unsaid to the most dearest people in my life, these words would be:
To the most important man in my life, my dearest husband, besides my forever thanks for all the considerate things you have done for me and continue to do, the love with which you have surrounded me, your comforting words when I needed them most, your shoulder to cry on, your wise and thoughtful advice you gave our three contributions to the continuation of life on this planet---- Carol, Will and Karen----and for you caring for them in the early stages of their development ----especially Will----no words can express how much that meant to me."
Bill designed their headstone engraved with wedding rings entwined and their wedding date inscribed on the stone which was in the shape of two hearts.
While in the cemetery he also wanted to visit the place where he stood on June 28, 1943, fifty-seven years ago when he buried Elizabeth Sutton Garner, his first wife and high school sweetheart. I could feel his grief as we stood there while listening to him tell the story of her passing, as a young soldier, only 23 years old, preparing to go to war a widower.
In August of 2000 Bill (Dad) and I took a trip to Seattle, where my daughter, Rachael made her home. She married that summer in Jamaica and invited family and friends to celebrate upon returning home to Seattle. Bill had never seen the west coast as the travel time he had was spent returning to England visiting Gwen's homeland. I asked Dad if he wanted to go, and he said yes. So Bill and I headed west.
Benny Henderson, who Bill wrote about in his "Letters to Mary" was Bill's buddy from WWII who also lost his first wife before "The War." Benny had settled in Seattle after "The War." Bill and Benny had maintained correspondence, sent Christmas cards and made occasional phone calls to each other over the years since "The War." So Bill called Benny and said he was coming to Seattle. Benny agreed to meet him and so it was after 55 years the two of them sat at a diner table over lunch and chatted about their wartime experiences and life as it was. Benny Henderson, settled in Seattle after "The War" and married again. He raised a family and was married happily until his wife passed away. Benny passed away one year later in the summer of 2001.
After Gwen's passing Bill went on caring for Mary in her assisted living facility, watching over the care she received, taking in supplies, arranging for her nails to be painted, her hair to be cut and her bills and affairs managed until he became ill in 2002.
Bill was diagnosed with Leukemia in January of 2002 and passed away August 23, 2002. He was laid to rest with full military honors along side his beloved Gwen under the Ginko trees, and across the lane from the Garner Family burial plot in Druid Hill Cemetery.
|They will forever be "An American Soldier Boy and his Lovely English Bride."|
Wilbur C Garner and Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins Garner October 1995