My Ancestors (40) – Marian Dunlap Irwin – (1915 – 2004)

Last June I read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

 (1) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion

Marian Edith Rider was born 15 Oct 1888 at Santa Cruz, CA

She married Mowry Addison Irwin on 28 July 1914 in Watsonville, CA

Mowry Addison Irwin was born in Erie, PA on 16 Oct 1888

They had the following children:

1.  Marian Dunlap Irwin, born 11 Nov 1915 in Sacramento, CA

2.  Homer Addison Irwin, born 24 April 1917 in Marysville, CA

3.  Margaret Edith Irwin, born 28  May 1920 in Oakland, CA

4.  Donald Mowry Irwin, born 3 July 1925 in Albuquerque,NM

Marian Dunlap Irwin and her great-grandmother, Edith May (Lewis) Rider


Marian Dunlap Irwin in a satchel – 1 1/2 months old

Marian Dunlap Irwin, my mother, was born in Sacramento, California on November 11, 1915. Three other children joined the family. She had a happy childhood surrounded by a large extended family of siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Homer Addison Irwin and Marian Dunlap Irwin

Marian graduated from Berkeley high school and continued her education at San Francisco State University, graduating in 1937 with a degree in Elementary Education.



                  Marian, Don, Margaret and Homer Irwin – 1938                    


         Marian Dunlap Irwin – SFSU – 1937



Marian Irwin’s first teaching job – Arvin, CA – 4th, 5th and 6th grades

She exhibited her adventurous spirit by driving with a friend from Oakland to New York City during the summer of 1939 to visit the World’s Fair. 

Later, he was hired by the Camp Fire Girls Organization and became the Director of the South Pasadena area, a position she held until she married.

While living in South Pasadena in 1942 and 43, Marian served as a hostess at the South Pasadena Hospitality Center, where servicemen came to relax when they were off duty.  In January, 1943, Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) arrived at Camp Santa Anita to begin training automobile and truck mechanics for the Army.  At some point he met Marian Irwin. 

On April 8th, Lad writes home with some news:

“Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full.  Even Apr. 3rd.  I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks.  It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of 1 of the girls I have met here.  In fact, she is so much like Babe that I have difficulty now and then and calling her Marian.”

Things progressed predictably and very quickly, Lad and Marian were married on November 14, 1943.  For about the next year, as lad was transferred from base to base, Marian followed him.  When the time came for his battalion to be sent overseas, Marian decided that she would drive to Trumbull and stay with Grandpa, so that she would be closer to Lad when he came home. 

The marriage of his younger brother Dan, to Paulette, in Calais, France, created a situation where Lad was away from his battalion when they shipped out for Okinawa.  When Lad shipped out after gathering all the equipment left behind, again Fate intervened, the U.S. bombed Hiroshima, Japan surrendered and Lad’s ship returned to New York City instead of going on to Okinawa.  Lad was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, but they really did not need an instructor of auto and truck mechanics.  He was able to go home to Trumbull every weekend and was discharged in the fall of 1945.  Marion was thrilled.

By December, Lad and Marian were expecting their 1st child – which turned out to be twins – Douglas Alfred and Judith Anne, born June 28, 1946.  They were quickly followed by Gregory Alan in August 1947 and Marion Lynn in December, 1948. when it was time to register Doug and Judy for kindergarten, Marian was shocked to learn that Trumbull did not provide kindergarten classes for their youth.  She and her best friend, Jeanne (Hughes) Hayden, decided to start a kindergarten and use the Trumbull Congregational Church Sunday School Building as their location.  They began operations in September, 1953.  They continue to grow, adding more students and teachers until the town of Trumbull decided to include kindergarten classes in their elementary schools.

While stationed in California, Lad fell in love with the state and Marian was all too happy to move back to the San Francisco Bay area where she had grown up.  They made the move in the summer of 1966, after their youngest graduated from high school.

Marian continued her career in education, 1st by teaching kindergarten, and after retiring, training other young teachers in the ins and outs of managing a successful classroom.  She and Lad joined the Marin Power Squadron, a national organization focusing on safe boating, and the Marin Amblers, an RV group that traveled to outings throughout California and Oregon once a month.  Although Marion’s health issues sometimes limited what they could do, both Lad and Marian relished their Golden Years. 

Their family grew as grandchildren and then great-grandchildren arrived.. Marian had a knack for decorating and their home was always filled with a festive air, no matter the season.  She also possessed strong organizational skills which were put to use by the Power Squadron, the Gamblers and also there condo association.  Marian was an avid reader and regular swimmer.  She loved doing things that were fun for everyone.  Even after a couple of strokes, her bright outlook continued I never heard her raise her voice in anger when she passed away in 2004 it became evident that she would be missed by hundreds of friends.

Next Sunday, more of My Ancestors. Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in 1943.

Judy Guion



Voyage to Venezuela (2) – More Red Tape – December, 1938 – January, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Aunt Helen), sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness.

The following are documents my Dad had to obtain and/or deliver before he even set foot on the ship that would carry him to Venezuela. Dan had gone through this same process in September and October of 1938.

Report from Lad’s doctor that he had examined Lad and there was no evidence of leprosy, trachoma, insanity or epilepsy.


A statement from his doctor that he had been vaccinated.


The VISA Application Form


A letter from Lad’s employer, INTERAMERICA, INC. to the Venezuelan Consulate in New York reporting Lad’s employment and his intention to travel to Venezuela.


FBI, Department of Justice, document identifying Alfred Peabody Guion with his picture


The back of the FBI, Department of Justice, document identifying Alfred Peabody Guion with his finger prints.


A list of regulations to be complied with by aliens entering Venezuela


A NOTICE TO BEARERS OF PASSPORTS with Lad’s signature on it.



Section 15a. Special documents required for visas for certain Latin American countries, including Venezuela.  Three documents are listed as being required by Venezuela: (1) Vaccination certificates,, (2) Health certificates and (3) Police certificates (good conduct certificates.


Next Saturday we hear more from INTERAMERICA, Inc. including their contract with Lad and employment regulations.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some information about Marian (Dunlap) Irwin’s ancestors. Next week I will be continuing the Helen Log Book, with vivid details about Grandpa’s trips with his three older boys on the Helen.

Judy Guion 



My Ancestors (34) – Marian (Irwin) Guion’s Ancestors

I really want to do justice to the challenge of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks (or a bit more). 

My plan was to begin posting Marian (Irwin) Guion’s ancestors. Since I do not know very much about John Jackson Lewis except his amazing Voyage to California, or anyone before him, I am postponing this entry until next week so I can do more research.

Tomorrow a special tribute to the men and women behind the scenes during World War II.

On Tuesday and for the rest of the week, I will post more from The Beginning – Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Friends – Rusty Writes to Ced – Dear Sudrack – June 14, 1944


Nome, Alaska

June 13, 1944

Dear Sudrack,

Why don’t you ask me to do something for you once in a while so I can ask favors of you without total embarrassment? You have a mean way of putting a fellow on the spot. That is all I can say about you.

Thanks for sending newspaper but which article did you want me to read? I still have it in my can for light reading. No heavy stuff there as I’m burdened enough with weighty matters every time I find the growler. You wouldn’t like Nome because we really don’t have the growlers here — no running toilets or “waters” and the sanitation is not and it stinks. But Nome is proud of Nome and do not want their shortcomings being wide cast. Think I had better move soon as I’m afraid I’m going to like it here.

Most important thing on my schedule now is word “yes” or “no” from Harry Olson. So kindly drop everything and give him a ring either at Alaska Novelty Company, Olson’s Cleaners or drop in at Ed Coffy’s and inquire as to his whereabouts. Just want to know if he got my letter of some three weeks ago — that’s all.

If you can visit Anchorage Grill, ask for Stanley (forgotten his last name) and tell him I want to be remembered to him. Get his last name and sometime when you write me you can send it along so I can drop him a line. He is the owner of a fine establishment, always neatly dressed and impeccable in character. You might tell him I read “My Native Land” by Adonis and found it a most important book, in fact, the best I have read since “10 Days Which Shook the World”. Stanley is one of those fellows which you have to dig up to know and perhaps the most farsighted of Anchorage, yet few people, if any, know him down there. As this book is written of his native land known as Yugoslavia I do not remember from what section he comes — what country — Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Livonia, Dalmotia,, Bosnia, Herzgovenia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro, or Goyrodina. I am just a Swede from Scandinavia. More simple with you — half breed from Larchmont, N.Y.

Good night!     ——- Rusty

Two boats from Seattle jammed in ice. Snowing today and cold.

(Heard from Sansbury’s – have moved again to where it is cooler – St. Ignatius, Montana, Route one. They’ll be back to Alaska one of these days.)

During the rest of the week I’ll be posting two letters from Grandpa to his sons and daughter-in-law, scattered around the country and the world. Judy Guion


My Ancestors (27a) – Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion – Clara’s Letter – 1893

The following is a letter written by Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck to Amelia Bowden Guion of Seneca Falls, New York in 1883:

“My grand-parents on my mother’s side were of royal descent. My grandfather Cadoret was guillotined in France for his loyalty to Marie Antoinette. My grandmother with her three daughters (my mother being the youngest) were secluded for months in a tower outside Paris and were released by being let down in the dead of night in a Cracker Barrel. This was suitably curtained inside and slightly ventilated, and with my grandmother inside was taken as freight on board a ship bound for Havana. My grandmother was of Spanish birth and it was deemed safer to send her to Cuba, than to Spain, as she might have been traced, and her head would have gone too. Of course they were rescued by friends, and when the ship was safe off, then my grandmother was released from her narrow quarters and arrived safely in Havana. Her daughters came on in the same way some months later. They came with their three brothers who had been in England during the worst of the trouble. They left the coast of France in their own vessel, laden with their own property, expecting never to see their country again. Their voyage was peaceful until they entered the old Bahama Channel; a violent storm sent the vessel on a rock, and the passengers and crew escaped by means of a life-boat, which took them to a desert island, not far distant. They hoisted the flag of distress, and were there three days, faint for want of food, being threatened to be devoured by the animals of the forests. When at last an American vessel bound for Havana from New York and commanded by a Captain Hicks saw the flag and came to them and saved them. They started from France with immense wealth. They arrived at Havana where their mother was with only a change of clothes, handkerchiefs, and a few jewels in their bosom, their ship wrecked and everything lost. Soon after, my Uncle took the yellow fever and died.

My grandmother sent the three girls to Philadelphia to school to learn English. My aunts did not like it, and insisted on returning to Cuba but my mother stayed and eventually married my father in Baltimore. He was a wealthy merchant, and had commercial relations in Havana. So he exchanged with his partner and went to Havana to live after they had been married about a year and a half. Her mother still lived, and also one sister. The other had died. My brother was born in this country, and was four months old when they went to Cuba. I was born in 1819. My father died when I was quite a child, and left a large fortune in slaves and two plantations of coffee and sugar, but lawyers were, in those days, like these in later days, and after gobbling up all they could, left my mother in very moderate circumstances. She decided to bring us to America and did so in 1832 or 1833.”

Next Sunday, I;ll continue the story of the Rev. Elijah Guion and his wife, Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion.

Tomorrow, I’ll be start posting a week of letters written in the summer of 1944.  Lad and Marian have returned to California after a furlough in Trumbull and Orida, California. Dan is in France, Ced is in Anchorage, Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is completing basic training. Grandpa is holding down the fort and acting as a clearing house for letters to and from each of the boys scattered around the world.

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (11) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlop (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.


Spent considerable part of the day watching the trains of mules as they arrived with the view of securing my own baggage as soon as possible. Toward evening it arrived in good order, very much to my satisfaction. Took a bath in the Bay in the evening and I walked about the city. The view of the Bay walls was very fine. Water was very smooth, green islands rose abruptly from its surface. The coast was lined, in places, with palm trees, and wild ducks and pelicans were flying about in large numbers, or floating tranquilly on the still waters. The Cathedral is a grand old building and appears to have been very fine inside, but the tooth of time has deeply marked it. My lodging room is directly opposite, one side of it, and it’s gray walls are about the first objects that meet my gaze when I awaken in the morning. It is roofed with tiles, among the crevices of which, numerous parasitic plants find their sustenance.


I spent a good deal of the day watching for my trunks, which eventually arrived, about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, in good condition. Some got theirs earlier in the day, others not till after. After getting my trunks, I went down to the beach to take a bath, which felt very grateful after the heat and anxiety of the day. Our hotel is situated on the main street, opposite the Cathedral, and is one of the old buildings of the place, fitted up to accommodate travelers. The room that I lodge in is on the side next to the Cathedral, and its wall is the first object out-of-doors that meets my eyes in the morning. It is a side wall, however, and very plain, the outside ornamental work being chiefly expended upon its front. The inside exhibits evidences of having once possessed considerable magnificence, but the hands of time and neglect, have placed their seal upon it in a matter not to be mistaken. The view of the Bay from the walls of the town, is quite handsome. A number of islands, generally composed of a single hill covered with verdure, rise from it, the water is very smooth and placid, and the coast stretches away from the town on either side, dotted with cocoa-nut groves, in a manner very agreeable to the lovers of the beautiful in nature. Large flocks of ducks and numerous pelicans may be seen at nearly all times upon the Bay. The pelicans will hover about over the water, occasionally diving down into it with a splash, but quickly emerging and flying off with apparent ease.

Tomorrow, I’ll be continuing the story of Louis Guion and his wife, Thomasse (Le Fourestier) Guion in England and then New Rochelle, New York.

Next week I’ll be posting letters written in the fall of 1946. Lad and Marian, Dick and Jean and Dave are all living in the Trumbull House with Grandpa and working in the area. Dave has been in charge of Guion Advertising while Grandpa took a much-needed vacation. Dan, Paulette (Chiche) and baby Arla are still in France, waiting to begin their voyage to America and their new home in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Guest Post Reposted – Women of World War II by GPCox

Women of WWII

By: gpcox

As WWII unfolded around the globe, women were also affected.  Some found themselves pressed into jobs and duties they would never have previously considered.  Hitler derided Americans as degenerate for putting the women to work, but nearly 350,000 American females alone served in uniform voluntarily.  A transformation of half the population, never seen before, that began evolving in the early ‘40’s and continues today.

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S.  These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base.  They acted as test pilots; assessing the performance of the planes.  The WASPs were flight instructors and would shuttle officers around to the posts where they were needed.  For artillery practice, they would tow the target.  During their service, 38 of these brave women died.

A wonderful story was given to me by my longtime friend, Carol Schlaepfer, about Pearl Brummett Judd, a WASP pilot she met in California.  Pearl was a test pilot flying the Stearman, PT-17; North American AT-6; Vultee BT-13; Cessna UC-78 and AT-17.  In an interview, she said, “The B-29 was a little touchy.  The engines caught on fire.”  Pearl Judd and her fellow WASP sisters (or their survivors) finally received a Congressional Gold Medal for their services in March 2010.  25,000 women in all applied for the WASPs; in Pearl’s class of 114 women, only 49 graduated.  The symbol for the WASPS, shown below, uses the image of Pearl Judd.  They did not receive veteran status until 1977 and did not have the right to have flag on the coffin until 2000.


WACs, (Women’s Army Corps), the nurses were on active duty around the world.  But, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service of the Navy); the SPARS (U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve) and Women’s Marines were prohibited by law from serving outside the U. S.  At Cherry Point Marine Air Station in North Carolina, 80% of the control tower operations were done by the female Marines.  Nearly all the SPARS and WAVES officers were college graduates and worked in finance, chemical warfare or aerological engineering.  Some were assigned to install radar on the warships.

WWII enabled women to be involved in top-secret operations for the first time.  These women dealt with LORAN stations, night-fighter training and watched the screens for unusual “blips.”  They took in messages from the British “Enigma” intelligence about German activity.  The OSS hired women as agents, as we discussed on my post at:                                                         

The first WACS to arrive in the Pacific were sent to Australia, 2 ½ years after Pearl Harbor, in May 1944.  In Port Moresby, New Guinea they served within barbed wire compounds (any dates with the men had be pre-approved)  As the forces moved from island to island, the WACS followed after the area was secured from the enemy.  Yet, despite these precautions, 68 service women were captured as POWs in the Philippines and 565 WACS in the Pacific Theater alone won combat decorations for bravery under fire and meritous service.  Nurses were in Normandy on D-Day+4.  In the Army Nurse Corps, 16 were killed as a result of enemy fire.  A Red Cross woman was also killed during an attack on the 95th Evacuation Hospital.  Also in the ETO, when their plane was forced to crash land behind enemy lines, Lt. Agnes Mangerich and 13 other nurses, male technicians and the pilot marched for 62 days before reaching safety.

A fascinating story of WAVE, Margaret Hain, can be found at fellow blogger, Don Moore’s site:

American women did more than join the military…..

Alice Newcomer graduated George Washington University in 1943 and immediately began working in the Lend-Lease Program.  The 400-500 people employed there easily dealt with billions of dollars in war materiel, but when it came to how much should be shipped in civilian supplies, she said no one quite knew where to draw the line.  Hilda O’Brien, fresh out of Columbia Univ. Graduate School, started her career in the Justice Dept.  Kay Halle, a radio broadcaster, worked for the OSS in Morale Operations and became known as Mata Halle.  (Many of these operations still remain secret.)  Sally Knox was an editor for what was a part of the Army Air Force.  She was in Detroit and then Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio. (Which later became Patterson Air Force Base)  She helped to prepare military publications.

Coralee Redmond of Tacoma, Washington had a husband, 9 children and several brothers who worked for the war effort or served in the military.  She and one daughter worked in the shipyards while her other daughter went to work for Boeing in Seattle.  [No one could doubt her contributions.]  On 29 April 1943, the National Labor Board issued a report to give equal pay for women working in war industries.  To see the actual report, a fellow blogger has posted it:

In Canada, besides having their own Canadian Women’s Army Corps, the women showed their national pride, not only by entering the masculine sphere of work to release the men to serve in the military, but by using their domestic talents in volunteer work.  The War Services Fund was supported in this way.  Their civic and community pride provided various forms of aid to the war effort.

In New Zealand, the women of WWII were also doing their part.  The Women’s War Service Auxiliary worked in the Transport Division, firefighting, canteen work, camouflage netting, ambulance work and even had an orchard and gardening section.  Their WAAF (Women’s Aux Air Force) had cipher officers, pilots, mechanics and meteorologists.  Noeline and Daphne Petrie, after joining the WAAF, were stationed at Woodbourne and Fiji.  And, we cannot forget the nurses.  Our fellow blogger, Gallivanta at: gave me the link for this information and for books that are available:

Australian women as early as 1939 were trained in jobs to free the men to enlist.  The Women’s Emergency Signaling Corps were based in Sydney.  The Woman’s Flying Club were not pilots, but trained to be mechanics and the Women’s Transport Corps passed rigorous driving tests for truck driving and ambulances.

In Britain there was a definite industrial segregation of men and women in industry, but as the war continued to rage, the barriers lessened out of necessity.  They began transporting coal on the inland waterways, joining the Fire Service and Auxiliary Police Corps.  They began to be “drafted” into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (“WRENS”), Auxiliary Air Force and Air Transport.  The women of Britain played a vital role in all phases of the war including the French underground, Special Operations and anti-aircraft units.

Finland had the organization, Lotta Svard, where the women voluntarily took part in auxiliary work of the armed forces to help the men fighting on the front.  At home, they were nurses and air raid signalers.  The Lotta Svard was one of the largest voluntary groups of WWII; although they never fired guns which was a rule of their group.

The Soviet Union utilized women pretty much from the start of the war and they were NOT auxiliary.  Approximately 800,000 served in front line units.  They were part of the antiaircraft units as well, firing the guns and acting as snipers.  Klavdiya Kalugina was their youngest female sniper starting her military service at age 17.

An interesting story about Irena Sendler in war-torn Warsaw, go to fellow blogger’s page at:

Judy and I would appreciate hearing any and all stories you have.  Let’s hear from every country out there!!

Resources: University of Fraser Valley; ww2 database; “Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw; “Americans Remember the Home Front” by Roy Hoopes;; Wikipedia; publicworks.qld.go;