Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 13 - My Mother-in-Law Wanda Bernice

Wanda Bernice was born on 10 Aug 1921 in Hunt City, Jasper, Illinois to Murl C Ferguson and Naomi Sempstott. Murl worked as a laborer on the farm rented by his father in Willow Hill, Jasper County, Illinois according to the 1920 census.
By 1923 Wanda had a little sister Garnet.  The little family moved to Chicago to seek better work opportunities.  Murl found employment with the railroad and in 1930 he was a switchman for the Steam Railroad.  They lived next door to Murl’s brother Byrl who had followed Murl from Willow Hill to Chicago.
Although Wanda’s sister Garnet, sadly, died in 1928, there always plenty of cousins around since records show that several nieces stayed with the family over the years and right next door was Uncle Byrl and his family.
Wanda about 14 years

Wanda about 18

On 1 June 1938, having completed two years of high school, Wanda married Harold Peterson who worked as an electrician for the railroad.  One year later, on 1 June 1939, their son David Lee was born. Later came Patricia Ann on 15 March 1942.
During the 1940s Harold and Wanda took flying lessons with Harold’s sister Hazel and her husband Larry.  Photos from that time show the families at the air field.
Unfortunately the marriage did not last and the couple separated about 1947.  Wanda and the children moved in with her parents and Wanda got a job at the telephone company.  Wanda worked nights and eventually met Gus Gulyban who also worked nights at the telephone.

Gus and Wanda were married 2 Dec 1949. Their daughter Susan Margaret was born 15 Apr 1952 while they were still living in Chicago.  Soon they moved to Wheaton where Wanda continued working for the telephone in Wheaton while Gus kept working in the downtown Chicago offices.
Wanda remained in touch with her southern Illinois roots returning there frequently and often letting David and Pat spend parts of their summer vacations in Willow Hill. Gus had roots in Ohio so the couple traveled in that direction often too.  On one of their trips they were in an accident and Wanda suffered back injuries that caused her to take an early retirement due to disability.

After her retirement Wanda began knitting until arthritis in her hands made it too painful to continue.  Her back injuries required several surgeries which were less than successful.  Wanda used a walker for many years before being forced to move to a wheelchair.

50th Anniversary 2 Dec 1999 with Pat, Susan, and Dave
Even though Wanda survived several bouts with cancer, an attack of shingles forced Gus have her admitted into a nursing home.
Wanda died 21 Jan 2011.


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