Robert E. “Bobby” Parmer, Jr Dies at 96

Robert passed away on August 7, 2016.

Here’s a copy of his obituary, which can also be accessed at LancasterOnline..  Thank you cousin Stephen for sending it to me.

Robert E. Parmer Jr. Obituary

Robert E. Parmer Jr. Obituary

 

I think I would have liked to have known Robert better, but I’m sure glad I was able to meet him.

Robert’s Family of Military Service

 

Robert served in the military, as did several of his siblings.  You can read more about the family’s service on my previous post.  Here is a collection of photos regarding Robert’s military service.

 

Here’s some photos of Robert’s siblings who served in the military.

Millitary photos

Top Row: Harry, Earl, Charles Bottom Row: Harry, Richard, Sam

 

Thanks for your service men!

Robert’s Photo Legacy

I figured calling Robert would not be a good option based on my previous phone calls.  So we just drove to his home.  He welcomed us in and shared lots of family pictures, some of which I have used in previous posts, including those about Samuel E. Parmer, who is Robert’s grandfather.  Robert’s father is Robert E. Parmer, Sr.

Robert Jr. was interested in preserving family photos.  He decided at some point that it was important to pass on family knowledge to future generations.  So he made copies of family photos, identified the individuals in the photos, and laminated them.  He produced many copies and would give them out at family reunions.  Imagine my joy at seeing all those photos!

Here is a collection of some of his photos, along with an introduction in Robert’s own hand.

Robert's photos intro

Introduction to Robert’s photos.

 

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Meet Robert Jr.

Meet Robert.  Here’s a picture of him and me on July 3, 2015.

Robert E Parmer Jr with Heidi

Meeting Robert E. Parmer Jr., July 3, 2015

 

Robert was 95 years old and going strong.  He lived by himself in an upstairs condo and still drove himself around.  Do you see the sandwiches on the counter in the background?  He was preparing his lunches for the week.

Robert E. Parmer Jr. was born on September 13, 1919 to Robert E. Parmer and Esther Suter.  He is the grandson of Samuel E. Parmer and the great-grandson of Samuel M. Parmer.

On my initial visit to Lancaster, PA, Robert was on my list of people to hopefully visit.  I had cold-called him on the telephone before visiting Lancaster, but he had a hard time hearing and understanding what I was saying over the telephone.  So on my last day  in Lancaster, I told Ronald that I’d like to visit Robert.  I’m so glad we did!

Marriage And Family

On October 10, 1897, Samuel E. and Rebecca Ruth were married.

Rebecca Ruth
Rebecca Ruth, date unknown.

Samuel had a sixth grade education and Rebecca had a fifth grade education.  We know this thanks to the 1940 Census.  I just love the census records!  Although their questions were determined for other purposes, they sure do help us get to know a little about the lives of our forefathers.

Samuel and Rebecca had four children–Robert Elwood, Mildred (Myrtle) R., Pearl I., and Jack.  There’s a 19 year gap between Robert and Jack.  Jack was born 11 years after Pearl.

 

samuel E and Robert Elwood

Samuel E. Parmer and son Robert Elwood Parmer

A Patriotic Family and Blue Eyes

 

Happy Independence Day!

Having a family connection to an event always makes it more meaningful.  Finding a connection to 1776 can be a bit tricky.  How patriotic were the Parmers?  Tracing back that far is a bit difficult for the Parmer family.  But many Parmer descendants have served in the military and defended freedom.  Samuel M. Parmer’s son, Robert E. Parmer, had six sons serve in World War I.

Robert E at war memorial

Standing from left, Robert Parmer Sr., wife Esther, son Harry, daughters Myrtle and Mary.  Sitting from left, daughter Betty, granddaughter Shirley, daughter Nancy, son Earl, and daughter Gail.  Children not pictured are Elwood, Robert Jr., Charles, Kenneth, Richard, Samuel, and Jerry.  Taken August 20, 1944 at the dedication of the original World War II memorial in Lancaster, PA.

The photo above was published in the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal on May 23, 2004 with an article about Lancaster’s World War II memorial.  According to the article, “The memorial was erected to honor those from the Cabbage Hill neighborhood of Lancaster who served during the second world war.  The names of 160 men are inscribed, including nine who were killed.”  Six of Robert Parmer Sr.’s nine sons served in World War II.

In 1863, the Union instituted a draft for men ages 20-45.  John Parmer, the probable father of Samuel M. Parmer, was 46 years old at the time.

Samuel M. Parmer was 24.  He would have been required to register.  Below is what likely is his record of registration, along with his brother, Daniel.

civil war draft registration excerpt

I could not find any record of Samuel serving in the military, nor could I find any record of his children serving in the military.  However, I did find records of several of his sons’ draft registrations.  All Samuel’s sons who registered for the World War I draft did so in the third draft on September 12, 1918.  Those who registered for the World War II draft did so in the fourth registration, also known as the “Old Man’s Draft,” which was not to enlist soldiers but to determine the skills and abilities of men who could support the war effort at home.

Draft registrations are fun to look at because they have valuable family history information that is not usually found elsewhere, like physical characteristics.  Here’s what we learn from Samuel’s sons’ draft registration cards:

John Jacob and William E. were born after the Civil War ended and were past the age of the draft for the World War I.

Samuel E., World War I registration on 9/12/18, blue eyes & black hair 45 years old, lived at 542 Dauphin Street, worked as a watchman at Donovan Co., a garment manufacturer.

Harry, World War I registration on 9/12/1918, blue eyes & dark hair, 39 years old, lived at 439 E Mifflin Street, worked as boiler foreman at Lancaster Iron Works.

Aldus, World War I registration on 9/12/1918, grey eyes & black hair, 37 years old, lived at 507 Green Street, worked as an auto machinist at Queen Motor Co.

World War II registration on April 27, 1942, 5’5″ tall and 61 years old, grey eyes and grey hair, physically identifying characteristic was  a scar on the end of his index finger on his left hand.  He still lived at 507 Green street and was working at Lancaster City Water Works.

Luther, World War I registration on 9/12/1918, blue eyes & dark hair, 33 years old, lived in Coatesville, worked as a boiler maker at Midvale Steel and Ordinance Company.

World War II registration on April 27, 1942,  5’6″ tall and 56 years old, blue eyes and grey hair. Self employed and living on his farm in Londonderry  Township.

It’s interesting that many of the brothers had blue eyes and dark hair.  And they were not very tall.  I love that this information is preserved!  What do you remember that can be shared and preserved?