In January 2014, Amy Johnson Crow of the Ancestry blog No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.
The premise: write once a week about a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, a research problem — any that focuses on that one ancestor. The next week, write about a different ancestor. In 52 weeks, you’ll have taken a closer look at 52 people in your family tree… and maybe learned a little bit more about them in the process.
Uncle Wally was my husband’s Uncle. He was the only boy born to John Glessoff and Alexandria Conacova (I wrote about her in 52 Ancestors#6 ). Wally had 4 sisters,
, Valentine, Mary (my mother-in-law)
and Anna. He was born in Florence in 1903.
The family moved to Elizabethport, New
Jersey Brooklyn when he
was a teenager. The picture below is of the Glessoff siblings. They are from left to right Anna, , Wally,
Valentine and Mary. Florence
Sometime in the late 1930’s Wally decided to change his name. The Glessoff name was giving him trouble finding a job. This was a very difficult time in
with the War in Europe on the horizon. He felt a more American name would be
better. He changed his name to Walter L.
Wally was a wonderful man, and had many activities that he was interested in. He was a life guard, possibly at Coney Island or
. He eventually attended Rockaway
Beach and became an
architect. He did have his own company
in later years designing and selling kitchen cabinets. Cooper Union
Wally married Margaret Lowery in 1942 and they lived first in
Westfield, New Jersey
and then .
During his time in Scotch Plains, New Jersey New Jersey he
sponsored a race car (similar to the one below) that raced on the small dirt tracks near his Scotch Plains home.
They also rented cabins on the
River in the summer and invited family members to come and stay.
My husband remembers his Uncle Wally swimming to an island in the middle of the
Delaware River with him on his back and
spending time on the island. Then he would swim back to shore with my husband
on his back again. My husband was
probably 5 or 6 at the time. Below are Wally and Margaret at their summer cabin
in the late 1940’s.
He never had any children so he doted on his nephew and nieces. He sent them to summer camp, bought bicycles and delighted in visiting with them. He also was the family Santa Claus bringing gifts every Christmas and ringing bells from his sleigh. We still have the bells and put them on the front door at Christmas time.
Wally died young at 49 years of age in August of 1952 in
. Scotch Plains, New