Kathleen Marie Tyrey Johnston was born in Franklin County, Mo., near the end of July in 1933, just as the country is beginning to come out of the Great Depression. Later in the year, FDR would unveil his New Deal as a plan to get Americans working again.
She was the youngest child of Lester and Marcella James Tyrey. She had two sisters and a brother.
She married James Frank Johnston on Sept. 3, 1951, in St. Louis. The couple had two children, Victoria and Michael (my father) before Kathleen’s death in May 1963, months before JFK was assassinated.
I’ve grown up knowing that my father’s mother died of complications from lupus when he was nine years old. I know that he won’t eat kettle beef because that was about all he and his sister ate on the bus ride from Oakland, Calif., to St. Louis, Mo., after his mother died. I know that he traveled back to St. Louis with his grandmother, who we used to visit occasionally before she died, so that the family could be nearer to relatives.
Doing genealogy research, I discovered that Kathleen is buried in Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic cemetery in St. Louis.
That’s about the extent of the information I know about her.
So, I was particularly struck by the post from Amy Johnson Crow on No Story to Small about collecting stories when you can get them. This post is going to be purposely short because I’m about to write a letter to several aunts and uncles asking them some basic questions about their life so that their stories, along with those of my father, won’t be forgotten in a generation or two.
Perhaps I’ll have some updates on Kathleen Tyrey Johnston after I talk to my dad and pull those stories from his memories of her.