Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Katherine "Bema" (Bruce) O'Connor

Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin

Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin
Katherine "Bema" O'Connor
Today's tombstone belongs to my great-great-grandmother, Katherine Jean "Bema" (Bruce) O'Connor. Bema was born January 31, 1872 in Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota and died July 4, 1960 in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin. Katherine's nickname came from one of her grandchildren who had difficulty saying "grandma," so they said "bema" instead.

Bema's parents were Franklin Bruce and Anna (Connor) Bruce, of Irish and German heritage. She had five siblings and one half-sister. Bema's husband was John Timothy O'Connor, and he passed away in 1924, thirty-six years before his wife. Bema and John had nine children: Charles Edward "Charlie" O'Connor, John Timothy "Jack Tim" O'Connor Sr., Anna Katherine "Annie" (O'Connor) Novine Glidden, Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen, Robert O'Connor, Dorothy Alice "Toots" (O'Connor) Sullivan, an unnamed son, Kathryn Jean "Mike" (O'Connor) Brush Baker, and Franklin Dan "Bolivar" O'Connor. I've always thought there were some interesting nicknames in this family.

Last week, I posted about Bema's son Bolivar, who is buried next to her at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant, along with another of her sons, Jack Tim, and his wife Bertha J. "Birdie" (Larson) O'Connor. Bema's husband is, as I learned this week, buried at Calvary Cemetery in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin. Just like Bolivar's, the grass was trying to swallow Bema's headstone before my father and I rescued it, as you can see in the two photos above.

One thing I've noticed in a lot of photos of Bema I've seen are her fabulous hats, so I've made sure to include one below. There are those ancestors that you really wish you had been able to know, and for me Bema is one of them.

Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin Dorothy Toots Sullivan Emily Thielen Annie Novine
Bema and her daughters. From left to right, Toots, Emily, Bema, and Annie.
Bema's Find A Grave memorial is #95641723.

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