Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Charles Peter Guokas Jr., 1903-1967

Charles Peter "Charlie" Guokas Jr. is my maternal grandfather. He was born September 23, 1903, in Houston, Texas, the son of Lithuanian immigrants Charles Peter Sr. and Elizabeth Bonavich Guokas, who are buried next to him in Holy Cross Cemetery in Houston, Texas.

He married my maternal grandmother, Sara Melzina Wolfe, on July 20, 1926, but they were divorced before 1945. They had three children, two of which are still living.

Charles Guokas Jr. was appointed secretary to Governor Miriam Amanda Ferguson of Texas in June, 1933, serving until the end of her term of office in January, 1935 (more about this later). Other than this time in Austin, he was a resident of Houston, Texas, where he operated many parking lots downtown. He was active in the Democratic party and worked on John F. Kennedy's campaign in Texas. My mother has a sketch done of him that we found crumpled up in the trunk of his car after his death. It's a picture of him seated in a chair, in profile, and the caption says "Charlie Guokas - Democrat." My mother had it framed and it hangs on a wall in my parents' home.

I remember Grandpa coming to our house and giving me and my siblings all the change in his pockets - which was often quite a lot. He too contributed to my college fund which enabled me to pay my own way through school. Grandpa died of arteriosclerosis on May 18, 1967, when I was ten years old.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

1 comment:

  1. I loved the bit about the crumpled up sketch. It seems to me that often our most treasured items were considered throwaways by others.

    Thanks for sharing.