Grandpa’s wife, Arla, passed away at the age of 42 from a prolonged battle with, what we believe, was cancer. She left 6 children, the oldest, Lad, my father, who was 19 and the youngest, Dave, who was 9 at the time. She left a void that would never be filled, especially as Grandpa and the older boys struggled to earn enough money to support the household and repay the tremendous outstanding debts incurred by Arla’s illness.
These are a few of the letters of condolence received by Grandpa after Arla’s death. They provide a glimpse of Arla as a friend in addition to the view we have had as a wife and mother.
King Caesar Road
Before coming down here the other day I noticed in the Bridgeport paper the sad news of your wife’s death.
I know this has come as a terrible blow to you and I want you to know that you have my deepest sympathy. There is so little an outsider can do in such a situation but if there is anything I might be able to do to relieve the situation at your office, please don’t fail to let me know. I’ll be back at the end of the week.
I have just learned of your loss of your wife and I wish to extend my very sincere sympathy.
Having lost one very dear to us, I can fully appreciate your great sorrow and loneliness at this time and hope God may give you and yours comfort and solace during these dark hours.
Believe me to be very sincerely,
THE BRIDGEPORT COUNCIL
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, INC.
881 Lafayette Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut
July 4, 1933
Dear Al and sons,
It was a shock to read in the newspapers of the death of your beloved wife. We in scouting want you to know that we sincerely sympathize with you and your sons in your loss.
WILLIAM G. ROCKWELL
26 STRATFIELD ROAD
July 5, 1933
Dear Mr. Guion:
I am very sorry indeed to hear of the trouble and loss that has come upon you recently, and wish to extend my sincere sympathy. It seems hard to understand why a wife and mother should be taken when she is so much needed and none to really take her place.
We cannot understand the things of this world. We can only hope for something very different beyond. I have no knowledge of the circumstances of Mrs. Guion’s illness and passing; but realize it means great sorrow and an additional burden of trouble. Will you therefore, let me offer the word of kindness and fellow feeling that we all have for one another at such a time, and trust you may be given strength to carry on.
Wm. G. Rockwell
My dear Mr. Guion,
Without knowing what to say, I am so deeply moved by your loss, I feel I must try to convey my sympathy in some way.
I have had a number of great sorrows in my own life and I know there is only one thing which eases the pain of loss — time.
You have indeed had more than your share of troubles lately. In the past I have comforted myself with the thought that life’s troubles run in cycles. So, perhaps your cycle of trouble is finished.
We who believe in the heavenly hereafter feel only happiness for those who preceded us.
In my own loneliness in years past I have found my greatest solace in work. I found it a welcome burden to have children to work and fight for.
If there is ever anything I can do for you, please give me a chance.
Sincerely and sympathetically,
Elizabeth Joslin Wright
July 5, 1933
West Hartford, Conn.
I have just learned of the death of your dear wife, and I’m greatly affected. She was such a joy and inspiration to all who were fortunate enough to know her as a friend but I can appreciate how deeply her loss will be felt.
I realized that, at this time, that words are of little consolation, but I do want you, your dear ones, and our Arla’s folks, to know that an old friend offers her deepest and most sincere sympathy.
Gertrude Ferguson Greaney
Tomorrow I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1941, and we find out what is going on in Trumbull with Lad, Biss and Dave; what news there is from Dan, Ced and Dick in Alaska and news of friends of all the children as well as what what Grandpa has been up to.