Sunday, April 13, 2008

The William Hale Brubaker Family

William Hale Brubaker, born February 22, 1905, was the fourth and last child of Charles Romain and Maude Catherine Wise Brubaker. The family was living in Troy Township, Whitley County at the time. In less than two years the family would move to Traverse City, Michigan where they would live for about three years. In December 1910, when Charles' younger brother Maurice Hale Brubaker, passed away the family returned to Whitley County. They lived at the Goose Lake Farm until about 1918 when they moved into Columbia City.

Bill, as he was more commonly known, married Fern Flossie Rohn on January 5, 1924 in Hillsdale, Michigan. He was 18 years old and she was 16. They moved to Elkhart, Indiana where his uncle Maurice Wise was living. I'm not sure when Bill bought his first restaurant. His obituary stated that he was the owner and operator of Tyler Lunch restaurant from 1927 to 1965 but the 1930 census gives his occupation as a cook in the restaurant industry. That restaurant and the second one he owned, called "Bill's Restaurant" which he owned from 1966 to 1974, were both open only for breakfast and lunch; they closed for the day at 2 p.m. and were opened at 5 a.m. every morning.

Bill and Fern were the parents of three children; Gene, Mary Lee and Glea. Fern passed away on June 14, 1973. The following year Bill sold the restaurant and moved to Orlando, Florida. He died on April 21, 1979 at the home of his daughter in Orlando.

Bill and his family probably came to North Webster to visit my grandmother, there are several pictures of them at her house, but I don't know if we were ever there when they visited, except for one time. I don't remember it but a picture shows that I was there, along with all my cousins. Give me a break, please, it was 1965 and I was a teenager!

Fast forward to July of 2002 when I received an email from a friend that worked at the Whitley County Historical Museum. She had been contacted by someone wanting information on the Brubaker family and she was aware that I had Brubaker's in my family. Long story, short, I made contact and it was the wife of one of Bill's grandson, we'll call them Dick and Jane. Jane was hoping to gather enough information on the Brubaker family to present to Dick as a gift for his birthday that fall. Of course, I sent her the information and we made arrangements to meet.

In October 2002, Dick and Jane came to visit me and they met my mother and her sisters and brother. Now, when you get my Mother and her siblings all together, following conversations can be difficult, and this occasion was no different. There were ten people in the room but five conversations going on at the same time! Aunt Phyllis had brought some pictures of Bill's family to share with them, many which they had never seen. I'm sure that by the time Dick and Jane left they were overwhelmed by it all. I've kept in contact with them via email since then and someday hope to meet with them again.

William Hale Brubaker with his son Gene who was only six days old, according to the writing on the edge of the picture. If so, it would be August 24, 1925. The little girl is Phyllis Phend.

Four Generations - sort of - The baby, Gene Brubaker, is being held by his great grandfather William P. Wise. Then it's William's daughter, Maude Wise Brubaker and her son William Hale Brubaker. Not dated, probably 1925-26.

William Brubaker Family. Fern, Gene, Bill, Glea, and Mary Lee. Not dated, probably 1937-38.

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