52 Ancestors: Youngest


Last week I explored a memory of my grandma, and for this weeks prompt, I share more of my grandma’s journal.

My grandpa Gerald (Jerry) Eby was my grandparent who died the youngest, at the age of 51. He died before I was born, so what I know about him through stories and pictures. So I think the best way to share about him is through the memories of my grandma. From 1998:

Jerry was born on July 8, 1921, in Idaho. He had 2 older brothers, 3 older sisters, and 1 younger sister. His family was very poor. They came to Oregon when Jerry was six years old where they lived on a hop ranch. His father (Dallas Eby) worked at the ranch. When Jerry was about 10 yrs. old his father died from cancer. The family then was on welfare until Jerry quit school at sixteen to help take care of his mother and younger sister. The older children had all left home by this time.


In 1942 after war was declared, Jerry joined the Coast Guard. He was in until 1945. After he came home from the service was when I met him. He was a customer at a restaurant I worked in.

Gerald Eby, Coast Guard

Jerry was a big man. About 6’2″ weighing 225-240 lbs. He never was fat but very strong. He had brown eyes, dark brown hair (lots of it) and his looks were almost Indian like. He used to kiddingly say, he was part Indian (He wasn’t).

He was definitely a family man. Before we were married he never got into any kind of trouble, drank very little liquor, and was a good friend to everyone. He did smoke cigarettes (as most people did at that time). He never quit and probably never would have if he had lived. This was his big vice.


Gerald and Richard Eby, 1960.


This main concern was always for the family. At first for his mother and younger sister, then for me and our children. He always said he never wanted to “do things with the boys.” If he had he wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.

Veva and Gerald
Veva and Gerald Eby, 1972.

He was an auto parts salesman with the reputation of being the best in Salem. He did this all the years I knew him.


Gerald Eby, c. 1970.


He died on June 24, 1973, of a massive heart attack. That part of my life died with him.

{One correction: Dallas Eby died in 1934 when my grandpa was 13.}

Sometimes it can be hard to put genealogy into words. A lot of family history is looking at documents and other pieces of paper, so having the written (or oral) memories about someone you never knew can be invaluable.

And I had been wondering lately where I got all my dark, thick hair, and it is apparently from my grandpa!

This photo was always displayed in our house growing up. Gerald and Veva Eby celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, 1972.

Now go forth and record your memories so younger generations can have them!

Until next time,








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