Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (17) – 1892 – 1933


             Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion – portrait


Blog - Letter of condolence - J.P. Oppenheimer


Mr. Alfred D. Guion

231 Fairfield Avenue

Bridgeport, Conn.

Dear Mr. Guion:

It certainly was terrible news to me to hear of your bereavement. It was particularly shocking as it came right on top of news of the sudden passing away of a dear friend of mine.

Words cannot express my heartfelt sympathy in your hours of sorrow, and I hope the good God will soften them to make your loss a fond memory of golden hours spent with the most cherished and loved one.

If my lame expressions can only convey to you one half of my feeling and sympathy, I am thankful to be able to add them to those of your many friends.

I sincerely hope that time will heal this very deep wound and that the memory of your loved one will serve to press you forward to greater success for her sake and remembrance.

Sincerely yours,

J.P. Oppenheimer


Blog - Letter of condolence - Frank Hetzel


July 27

Dear Al,

Elsa and I were so shocked that it seems all we can say, over and over again, is, “We are so sorry.” and “Why should it have had to be Al’s wife?”

There is so much one could write and say and after all we could write and say, it would all mean that our heartfelt sympathies go out to you and yours. You know this old-timer.

Elsa is all okay and the kiddies too. I’ll be in Bridgeport soon and would be awfully glad to see you.

Love to all the kiddies-

Frank Hetzel


August 1, 1933


Dear Al:

I was shocked to hear of your loss and want to extend my sincere sympathy. One thinks of such a possibility now and then but it hardly seems possible when it actually happens to a friend, much less than to one’s self.

My “little” family is away for the summer at the beach, so I only see them weekends. Next week is my vacation so that will shorten this month considerably.

I’ll see that you get a Standard Rate Book now and then, if I have to”lose” one.

Sincerely yours,

Irving E. Blaine

These are the final letters of condolence I have that were sent to Grandpa following the death of his wife, Arla, after only 20 years of marriage.


Tomorrow, we will move forward to 1934, over a year since Arla Mary Peabody Guion, my Grandmother, has passed away. Her only daughter, Elizabeth, is 14 and having a very hard time dealing with everything. I think that Grandpa, having his own problems adjusting to the loss if his wife, is thinking that his only daughter, Biss, should help with running the household and she is having nothing to do with that idea. Grandpa and Arla’s sisters, Aunts Helen, Anne and Dorothy, discuss the situation and decide that Elizabeth should move to St. Petersburg, Florida, to live with Aunt Anne and to help her care for her children, Donald and Gweneth, spending a year away from Trumbull.  On Saturday and Sunday, for many weeks to come, I’ll be posting the letters written during this time.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion – 1892 – 1933


Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children - Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

Arla Mary Peabody Guion was 18 when she married my Grandfather, Alfred Duryee Guion, in 1913. This picture was taken shortly after the family moved to the house in Trumbull in 1922. A short 11 years later, she passed away after a battle with, what the family believes, was cancer. Dave was only nine when he lost his mother.

These are some of the many letters of condolence sent to Grandpa after his wife passed away.



July 10, 1933

Mr. A. D. Guion

Cor. Broad & Fairfield Ave,

Bridgeport, Conn.

Dear Al:

I have just learned of your bereavement.

Please accept my sincere sympathy. Mrs. Mercer and those in the office feel for you, and each one of us wish there was something we could do. Maybe we will be able to help in the days that are immediately to come.


Frank H. Mercer


123 Waverley Place

New York City

My dear Alfred:-

It was such a shock when Elsie told me of Arla’s death. I did not even know she was seriously ill although I had heard that she was not feeling so well. You are such a devoted couple and you all seemed to enjoy life so much but don’t wish Arla back for she certainly would have suffered and been bed ridden and bad would have been harder on you both. You have the children and they are and will be a joy to you and they are so grown up and that they can take care of things.

You have my deepest sympathy in your great loss.







Dear Alfred:

It was a great shock to us to learn of Arla’s passing away, and I cannot tell you how sorry we all are for you and the children, for I know how much she meant to you, and how much you all will miss her. I always thought she had such a sweet disposition and manner, and was such a nice Mother.

When Elsie belonged to our club, we always asked about Arla and her family, but not having any news all year, and do not hearing of her illness, it was so much more of a shock to all of us.

Please extend our heartfelt sympathy to all, and we only wish we were nearer, to be of some help.

Sincerely yours,

Olga H. Bogart


Parish – Burnham

Advertising   Merchandising

41 Park Row    –    New York City

July 13, 1933

Dear Al:

You have been in my thoughts, my dear friend, a great deal of the time since I saw you last week and I am hoping with all my heart that some way I may be able to make your great sorrow a little bit easier to bear. I know very well how very much she meant to you and how her ever cheerful presence kept you pushing hard when material things looked dark. You know, to, how greatly I admired her and felt how much her character contribute to the wonderful home life of your wonderful family. I shall always counted one of my richest privileges to have known her, that only as we all lived near each other in the garden, but especially her in the last three months when I was so much at your home.

I wonder if you know this poem by James Whitcomb Riley and I am assured expresses your feelings at this time:

“I cannot say, and I will not say

That she is dead. She is just away!

With the cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,

She has wandered into an unknown land,

And left us dreaming how very fair

It needs must be since she lingers there.

And you — oh you who the wildest yearn,

For the old-time step and the glad return,

Think of her as faring on, as dear

In the love of there as the love of here.

Think of her still as the same, I say.

She is not dead — she is just a way.”

I expect to be passing through Trumbull Friday afternoon or rather Bridgeport and if you would like to go up to fishers island with me and stay till Sunday night or Monday morning I would be ever so happy to have your company and fellowship. Maybe such a change of scene among old friends for a couple of days would be a blessing to you. I believe Louise is writing Dorothy to suggest that Dick might like to come up then, too, and visit Brad who is crazy to have him come. I think I’ll get to your office about 1:30 or possibly 1 PM and can take any of the children who might like to go. I hope especially you may feel like coming.

Always your true friend,

Rufe  (Rufus Burnham, a neighbor and life-long friend, who met Alfred and Arla when they built their first house in Larchmont Gardens, Mount Vernon, NY)

Tomorrow I will begin a week of letters written in 1939 when Lad and Dan are working in Venezuela for INTERAMERICA, INC. Their pay is supposed to be sent to Grandpa to help support the younger children but that is not happening.

Judy Guion


Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion – 1892 – 1933


Arla Peabody Guion on the Island in New Hampshire

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Grandpa and his wife Arla had friends all over the country and even abroad. Arla passed away at the end of June but here we are in July and August and the news is still spreading. Friends are just finding out and writing to Grandpa expressing their grief and consoling him for his great loss.


24 July 1933

Dear Al –

I need not tell you how profoundly I was shocked when the news of Arla’s death reached me – I had no idea but that she was in the best of health. I remember her as such and mark this as an example of radiant health and tranquility. Your household has always been to me the perfect example of the best in American family life, and it was Arla’s example, her serenity, her grasp of the fundamentals of life and disregard for its trivialities, that set the seal on it.

Yours, really sincerely,



My dear Alfred

This morning’s mail brought a letter from Rudolf telling of having had word from Helen Perry of Arla’s going in June. I find it hard to believe that it can be true for when I was in Wisconsin, Aunt Mary had heard from Lawrence (Peabody) that Arla was better. Some of us had had word that she had been dangerously ill, though Arla herself had written us that she had not been well. About Christmas time I had a note from her saying that she hoped sometime this summer you all might drive down to visit us, and I have had it in my mind to write, these last few days, and suggest that there isn’t a great deal of summer left, and that the country is very pretty now. If it would interest you and the children, I would still be most happy to have you come. This is lovely country – the hills would, I know, be very good for weary hearts and souls. If you should come before September 1, I have a house in the country where you and the boys could have things your own way, while Elizabeth could be with me in my apartment in town. In fact, I think I could take care of two women, if Helen or your sister wanted to come.

I have been a gypsy this summer. Friends who are abroad gave me the use of their house and I have been living out there in the country for three weeks and shall stay until the 22nd when I hope to come into a new apartment in town, so right now I have the responsibility of three places. All this to let you know what to expect, and I shall be so happy if you decide you want to come.

One of the bright spots in my life was a lovely Thanksgiving that Rudolf and I spent with you and Arla and your family. It was a rare experience, for to me, yours and Arla’s house was one of the loveliest it has been my privilege to be in. Ever since that visit I have felt deeply flattered at the thought that any of the family had felt there was any resemblance between Arla and me. Not much I’m afraid, but I should like to think there might have been some small excuse for the thought.

Rudolph will have written you I am sure, so he has told you probably of what he is doing. He has married a lovely girl and they both seem very happy at the prospect of making no income go a long way. It will take a lot of scheming but I feel sure that it would not have been right for them to have postponed the wedding any longer.

My very deepest sympathy to you all – and I would so love to have you all drive down some time –


Ruth D. Voer

354 Spruce Street

Morgantown, W. Va.

August fifteenth

Tomorrow more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion. On Monday I will begin a week of letters written in 1939. Lad and Dan have been in Venezuela for a few months but there seems to be trouble brewing because the men are not being paid as promised.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (15) – 1892 – 1933

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 8 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  Grandma Arla as a friend in addition to the view we have had as a wife and mother.

Arla Mary Peabody

July 6, 1933

BPT, Conn

Dear Mr. Guion and Sons,

The members of the Webster Club wish to give you it’s greatest sympathies upon the death of your dear wife. You have been of invaluable assistance to our club both in teaching us and giving us experience in the ways of public speaking.

Sincerely yours,

Stanley Higgs, Sect.




13124 Shaker Square


Dear Al –

We received your note, telling of Arla’s death, yesterday evening, both Dorothy and I extend to you and your family our heartfelt sympathies.

We wish it were possible to be near you at this time to do what little we could to help you.

At a time like this, while we may be materially separated, thoughts and the spirit span this great universe to comfort you and keep you on steadfastly.

Believe us as ever Al –

Your sincere friends,

Dorothy and Fran

July 6 – 1933


July 6, 1933.

My dear Alfred,

Blanche and I were greatly shocked as well as grieved to hear of Arla’s untimely death. It must have been an awful blow to you, and those children. They surely have lost their best friend. Had Arla been sick or was it unexpected? I live so far away that we do not see you often.

Hoping God will bless you all, we remain

Yours sincerely, friends,

Blanche and George


Hampton Institute

Hampton, Virginia

July 7, 1933

Dear Mr. Guion:

Any words of mine at a time like this would be inadequate to express my feelings for you and yours. I just want you to know that I am thinking of you with the kindest of thoughts and in sending you my sincerest sympathy and friendship.


Dorothy M Seeley






My dear Alfred:-

The sad news of Arla’s death reached me Friday and I would have written immediately but we were getting ready to go away over the fourth. Frank joins me in sending our sincerest sympathy to you and your dear family. I was shocked to hear the news from Helen McVickar and to know what you must be going through. She was so needed for her family and was so well loved. I thought a lot of her myself.

I nearly lost my own life this winter, but thanks to our wonderful Dr. Anne Frank’s giving me such good care, I am alive today and feeling very well, except for one leg which still bothers me. I presume you heard from Elsie (Duryee) that I had pneumonia and a heap of other things. I was three months in the hospital and am just getting around again. Frank was a peach while I was sick and spent every cent he had for me to get well. With many regards and heartfelt sympathy from us all, I am sincerely,

Edna M. Lee





Dear Al:

Mother (Aunt Anne Peabody Stanley) told me about Arla the other day, when I went over to spend an evening. It was a shock. You are facing the possibility but somehow facing it and meeting it when it comes also completely different, and if it hit me hard – it must have been terrific for you and your family.

There’s nothing I can do, of course; and words are so awkward at a time like this; but that can’t affect the wish that my deep sympathy for you all might help to lift a grain of your burden. If it can, you know it is yours. Arla’s sweet courage (and Kemper told me how deep that must have been) is a real memory for which I shall be indebted all my life.


Donald  (Stanley)

Tomorrow, I will begin posting letters written in late 1944. The holidays are fast approaching and Grandpa is facing them for the first time without all of his sons  far from home.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (14) – 1892 – 1933



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 8 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  Grandma Arla as a friend in addition to the view we have had as a wife and mother.

King Caesar Road

Duxbury, Massachusetts


Dear “Al”,

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.

Cordially yours,

Bob Shedden


Dear Al,

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,

Bill Gamble


July, third



Of the


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.







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.

Very truly,

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


1461 Boulevard,

West Hartford, Conn.

Dear Alfred:-

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.

Very sincerely,

Gertrude Ferguson Greaney

July fifth


Tomorrow I will be posting more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (13) – 1892 – 1933


Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Arla Mary Peabody Guion passed away, probably from Cancer, when Lad, my father, was 19 and her youngest, Dave, was 8. It was quite a blow to the entire family and they spoke of it very rarely.

After the death of his wife, Grandpa continues to receive letters of condolence from family,friends and business acquaintances who also feel the great loss of Arla.

The Roost

New Paltz, N. Y.

Dear Alfred,

We were terribly shocked when we received Cousin Betty’s (Aunt Betty) note letting us know about Arla. There were no details whatever and we did not even know that Arla was ill.

Alfred, words are so futile but you must know in your heart that we are exceedingly grieved for you and for ourselves. We have been so far away from the families in the last few years that now it seems horrible and a matter of keen regret.

In this modern age of skepticism and unbelief, I have tried hard to keep to the one truth that God does have us after we leave here, and if you try to think that Arla is the guest of God, I am sure that it will bring you some comfort.

When you feel like it, I should love to hear from you and if you can possibly come up to New Paltz for over some week and, I wish you would come. We are renting a little place called the “The Roost” as our own house is leased for the entire year now.

If you could come just drop me a postal or telephone New Paltz 127 F 3.

Please remember us to the children and with love to you I am

Yours sincerely,

Nan (Duryee, Grandpa’s cousin)

July third

Nineteen thirty-three


Washingtom, DC

Dear Mr. Guion,

A letter just received from Helen Plumb has told us of Mrs. Guion death, after a long illness. That is quite a shock to us, for although I knew, years ago, she was in a hospital, we did not know of any recent illness. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy. I recall with pleasure our most happy visits with your wife, and shall ever remember her as a wonderful, loving and cultured soul. Between the two of you, you certainly got that tribe of fellows started right – and the girl.

These will be tough years for you and I only wish I might be able to personally help you. But keep close to God and His church, and you will the better come through. Mrs. Lineback and I are here in Washington. We left Ohio two months ago. In this setting, I was (am) V.P. of the Huroquois Council in West Virginia. That is an area Council with 84 troops in it. My church here has a huge troop of 50 boys, a Scoutmaster and seven assistants. All the boys in uniform. It’s a great troop.

Today, the fourth, Mrs. Lineback and I are at home – she doing the wash, I with the bad cold. She joins me in expressing our sympathy and love to you and to the family. God strengthen you.

As ever your friend,

W.J. Lineback


Blog - Condolence - Hollis S. Stevenson


745 North Avenue

Bridgeport, Connecticut

July 4, 1933

My dear Al:

I was not only surprised, but genuinely concerned, when I read in the paper the other morning of the passing of your good wife. For I had no idea that she had been ailing of late, nor that you had any cause for alarm. In questioning Clayton Buckingham at the office, I learned that Mrs. Guion had not been at all well lately, which was indeed news to me. Al, at a time like this your friends can’t do an awful lot. Maybe your immediate neighbors can and were of some service. But those of us who only met occasionally on business, and other projects in which we are mutually interested, find it rather difficult to let you know how we feel. However, I, who have valued your friendship over the period of a number of years, can at least drop you a line and say that I feel very deeply for you in your sorrow and loss. That will probably be of as much comfort to you as if I dropped in and personally shook your hand. I know from experience how many friends and acquaintances there are who take up one’s time and thought in a moment like this, when possibly you would prefer the company of your immediate family.

So, Al, I just want you to know that I have been thinking of you these last few days, and have asked the Supreme Father to give you the comfort of your splendid boys and girl to sustain you during this trying time of readjustment of your family life.

With my very best wishes for you and yours,

Cordially your friend,



New Paltz

July 4, ‘33

Dear Alfred,

I cannot express to you my deep sympathy in this time of trouble – words are so inadequate and help me a little.

But you will know, my dear, that I grieve with you and for the children. May God give you strength to carry on and you will find comfort in caring for those lovely boys and your dear daughter.

You will have to be both mother and father, whereas she will need you most. I can really say no more except that it is a great shock to me – for I thought Arnold was getting along nicely.

All my love to you and your little ones.

Aunt Mamie

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in early 1944. Lad and Marian have been married for only a few months. Just before Christmas Lad was transferred to Texarkana, Texas, and Marian is making plans to join him as soon as he finds a place for them to live. Dave leaves high school and  enlists in the Army. He has just started his basic training.  Dan is in England, probably working on maps for D-Day, Dick is in Brazil and Ced returns to Alaska after an extended visit to Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (12) – 1892 – 1933


Arla Mary Peabody Guion

            Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Arla Mary Peabody Guion, wife of Grandpa and Mother to all the children Grandpa is writing to, passed away after a battle, probably cancer, in 1933. In many of my earlier posts, Arla is mentioned in Grandpa’s early memories and the recorded memories of her children. We see her as a wife and mother. These letters give us a glimpse of the woman she was to family and friends, both near and far. It is a totally different perspective.

1837 Huntington Turnpike

Bridgeport (Nichols), Connecticut

July 1, 1933

Dear Mr. Guion,

We saw the sad news in the paper last night and we all want to tell you how very sorry and how shocked we were. We send you and the family our heartfelt sympathy in all sincerity and pray God to help you all over this dark spot.

Sincerely yours,

All of the Linleys of Nichols

If there is anything we can do for you please let us know and we shall be glad to help in any way, because words seem so useless when one is so helpless to do anything.

Mrs. A. H. Linley


The Belknap Manufacturing Co.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

July 1, 1933

Alfred D Guion

My dear Al,

I was told this morning of Mrs. Guion’s death by one who reads the local newspapers more regularly than I. As one old friend to another, I sent you my love and deepest sympathy to you and all the “bairns”.

Most sincerely yours,



1329 Huntington Turnpike

Bridgeport Connecticut

July 3, 1933

Dear Alfred:-

I am shocked and grieved on learning of the sudden passing of your dear wife and companion. Please accept my sincere and heartfelt sympathy in your bereavement. She was a very exceptional woman and a wonderful mother. My heart goes out to your family of fine children. There is only one such and I mourn with you all, believe me.

Most sincerely,

Romeo Williams


Pitcher’s Pond

near Belfast, Maine

July 3, 1933

Dear Alfred:-

I am too sorry to hear of Arla’s passing to adequately express myself. All I can say is that I extend to you my sincere sympathy and hope that you’ll have the strength and courage to carry on.

Especially I am mindful of your motherless children. I hope you can keep the family together and carry on successfully.

Florence forwarded your note here where I am with some friends over the fourth.

They’re going into town with the mail so I cannot write more now.

Of course this is quite a shock to me as I did not know Arla was not in normal health.

Well, words are empty things and change the only thing that doesn’t change.

Hope to see you some time soon.




North American Newspaper Alliance

The New York Times Annex

247 West 43rd St.

New York


My dear Al:

I know you will excuse the machine; I am still a bit shaky.

There is little that I can say that will help you, just now. You know that we share your grief, because the great loss is ours, also. Never was there a finer, more unselfish character, and it seems unfair that she must leave us now, when all of us need so much her brave smile, her deep and quiet understanding.

It is perhaps because she has already done far more than one person’s share to make life happier and more endurable for others.

I know that that realization on your part will do more than any written or spoken words to give you the courage and strength to be what she would have wished all this time.

We most earnestly should like to help. Could you let us have one of the children for a while, or longer? He would be welcome as one of our family, without taking him from you. I know you will not hesitate if there is any appeal to you in this thought.

God bless you and yours,


Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more of the letters of condolence written to Grandpa at the lowest point in his life.

Judy Guion