Documenting my family's past for future generations. My family tree includes the Smith/Mansell families of Alabama and Oklahoma, the Castle/Day families of Kentucky and Oklahoma, the Wheat/Ming families of Texas and Oklahoma, and the Bell/Roberts families of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Daddy: The Smith * / Castle ** Side of the Family

Jack Francis Smith

My father was a fraternal twin.  He and his brother, Mack Weaver, were born on January 8, 1928, at the Oklahoma Osteopathic Hospital in Tulsa. Their parents were Weaver Harris Smith and Fannie (Castle) Smith.

My grandparents didn’t have names picked out and named the boys for the two ambulance drivers that brought my grandmother home from the hospital: Mack and Jack.  Uncle Mack’s middle name was Weaver for my grandfather; Daddy’s was Francis, my grandmother’s first name, although she always went by Fannie.  They must have already had their own distinctive looks, because they were definitely named for the parent they resembled.  

Jack & Mack Smith

Although they grew up during the Depression, Daddy once said that they didn’t know they were poor.  Their doting parents—they were the only children—tried to give them all they could, including Shetland ponies.  Mack’s was named Queenie, and Jack’s was named Don.

Daddy had asthma, which I suspect is why my grandmother was always so protective of him.  She said she remembered standing out at the front gate and hearing him in the house, trying to catch his breath.  In high school he ran track, which helped him finally get over his breathing problems.  He and Uncle Mack were also in the dance club, and that was an activity that he enjoyed until the very end of his life.

Daddy in group on right, facing camera, Uncle Mack to his left
Jack and Mack graduated from Daniel Webster High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1946.

Mack Weaver and Jack Francis Smith

My dad tried college for a while at the University of Tulsa but didn’t finish.  When he and my mother first married in 1952, he worked at Musick Drug at N. Denver & W. Edison, delivering prescriptions. When I was in elementary school, he worked for Cooper Supply Co., which sold plumbing supplies.  Later he was an insurance investigator, working out of a building at 7th & Houston. He worked for the Department of Human Services for many years at their offices on Houston, just west of the Civic Center.

His family was the most important thing in the world to him. After my mother died, he never remarried, so he spent more time with my brother and me than most dads. He came home for lunch when he worked for Cooper Supply; it hadn’t been long since my mother’s death, and he took me almost every day to Brownie’s Pharmacy for ice cream before he went back to work. When he did field work as an insurance investigator, he often took us with him. He attended all of my brother’s ball games and all my spelling bees and plays. He took walks with us. He was the designated driver on hundreds of family eating expeditions.

He died way too young, at age 57, on October 12, 1985.  I still miss him every day.

*One of the first research jobs I tackled was the Smiths. I still haven’t gotten much further. They came to Oklahoma from Alabama.

**On the Castle side of the family, my cousin Fred was the family genealogist. He did all the work, and I have just enjoyed being able to rest when it comes to that ¼ of my heritage. The Castles came to Oklahoma from Kentucky.

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