Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Francis Edward Gresham, 1911-1990

Today would have been my father-in-law Francis Edward Gresham's 105th birthday.  He was born January 21, 1911, in Krum, Texas, the oldest and only surviving son of Marvin/Mark Ellis Gresham (1886-1941) and Betty Dickson (1888-1976).  He graduated from nearby Denton High School on May 29, 1930 (Denton Record-Chronicle, 30 May 1930, page 1 and 4).  According to some notes his daughter Ann has, Francis attended North Texas State Teachers College, also in Denton, from about 1931 to 1933, but is not pictured in any of the yearbooks.

Somewhere between 1935 and 1940, Francis left the family farm in Krum for Corpus Christi, Texas.  The April 1, 1940 Census shows him living at 1337 Tyler and working as a lithographer at a newspaper. I also found Francis on page 212 of the 1940 Corpus Christi City Directory. He's listed as living at 623 Blucher and working as a lithographer at Beacon Printing Company.  However, given that the information in city directories is often collected a year or more before they are published, perhaps this was his address prior to April 1940.

Ann's notes show that he was a pressman for Beacon (located at 1113 Leopard Street, Martin Jarrett, Manager, according to a May 11, 1939 business card) from January 1937 through February 1940, and a pressman and shop manager for the Edwin Flato Company from February through November 1940.

Most likely, Francis met his future wife, Jewel Moore (1914-1994) at work, as she is also listed as working as a stenographer for a printing company on the 1940 Census.  They married on October 26, 1940, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Corpus Christi.

Shortly after the marriage, Francis' father became quite ill, and he left his job with Flato to move back to Krum.  His father passed away in February and by March 1941, Francis and Jewel were living  at 405 San Pedro Street in San Antonio, and Francis was working as a multilith operator for the Ben J. Struder Photographic Studios (headquartered at 402 San Pedro).  Their first child, son Mark Edward, was born that August in San Antonio, at Santa Rosa Hospital.

On October 23, 1941, the family moved back to Corpus Christi, to 3038 Mintan Street, then to 2024 Peabody on November 6, 2814 Nueces Street on January 4, 1942, and 3765 Brandywine on March 23.  Ann's notes say Francis was a print shop manager for the H.E. Butt Grocery Company (then headquartered in Corpus Christi) from October 1941 to January 1942, and that he was a junior supervisor with the U.S. Naval Air Station print shop in Corpus Christi from January 1942 to April 13, 1944.

The 1944 city directory shows the family back at 2814 Nueces, although that might have been based on earlier information.  Francis enlisted in the Navy on April 13, 1944, and was sent to work as a negative engraver and cameraman at the Navy's Hydrographic Office in Washington, D.C.  Jewel gave birth to a daughter, Frances Ann, in that city in December 1944.  While in that city, the family lived at 4613 Lewis Avenue SE, Apartment D.

Francis was released from military service in January 1946, and the family moved back to Corpus Christi.  According to 1948 city directories, Frances was a lithographer at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, and his family lived at 3829 Blanco Courts, in the La Armada housing project, built to accommodate Navy enlisted men and civilian military employees as the Naval Air Station expanded.  Ann's notes state that he was supervisor of miscellaneous duplicating services from March 1946 to December 1947, and "Printer INT[ermediate?]" at the Naval Air Station's print shop from December 1947 to January 1949.

In January 1949, Francis and his family moved to the Myrtle Grove area of Pensacola, Florida, where Francis worked at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.  His title was "Supervisor Lithographic Printing, USNAS Consolidated Printing Plant, Pensacola."  They first lived on a rural delivery route, then at 1505 N. 50th (November 1949), 904 M 57th Avenue (November 1950), and 1312 N. 52nd Avenue (February 1951 and 1952).  Daughter June Marie was born here in January 1952.

Francis was sent to Guam by the Administrative Department of the Navy in July 1954.  Jewel and the children followed that autumn.  They lived at #15 Estrellita in Tumon Heights during their years in Guam.  Francis was a Quarterman Printer until September 1956, then Acting Supervisor of Publications and Printing until March 1957, then Supervisor until August 1960.  Below is a picture of him in his office in Guam on April 29, 1959.



In August 1960, Francis became Director of the Navy Publications and Printing Service Office of the 13th Naval District in Bremerton, Washington, and the family (except for Mark, who was in college) moved to 4107 Gillette Avenue in Bremerton.  Below is a photograph likely taken about the time Francis retired, most likely at the end of January 1972, on his 61st birthday.



Francis was recognized in late November, 1960, for having over 1,000 hours of unused sick leave:


At his retirement in January 1972, he was recognized for a number of accomplishments, including establishing a branch printing plant in Alaska in 1965 (which required authorization by the Congressional Joint Committee on Printing).


These two Texas natives stayed in Bremerton after retirement.  Francis really liked the hunting and fishing available in the Pacific Northwest, and Jewel really enjoyed how easy it was to garden in the mild and moist climate.

Francis died in Bremerton on December 10, 1990, of congestive cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, and aortic stenosis.  He was cremated and his cremains, along with those of Jewel, are buried in the garden at Ann's home near Husum, Washington, with a view of Mount Hood.


© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

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