|Birth: ||Aug. 22, 1912|
|Death: ||Apr. 1, 1967|
EDWIN VERNA CHENOWETH
B: August 22, 1912, Red Lodge, Carbon, Montana
D: April 1, 1967, Orange County, California
Edwin Verna Chenoweth was born August 22, 1912 in Red Lodge, Montana, the last child of Edwin Verna and Nancy Helen (Wayman) Chenoweth, having and older sister Opal (b. 1907). Interestingly, his birth certificate indicates his middle name was Verna as was his father’s while other documents list his middle name as Vernon. However, he was always known as “Vern.”
His father and mother separated when he was an infant. His father moved to Casper, Wyoming where he died December 25, 1918. His mother took he and his sister, Opal, back to Admire, Kansas to live with her parents.
By 1920 his mother Nancy had married Richard Thomas Best who raised him. The 1920 and 1930 United States Census shows him living in Waterloo, Kansas with his parents and his stepfather’s brother.
Edwin’s mother, Nancy Helen Best died unexpectedly on December 15, 1933.
Vern was married 4 times. Sometime between 1930 and 1933 he married Mamie May Blanchard and was living in Hutchinson, Kansas. In 1935 he was working as a shipping clerk for Crook Furniture Exchange in Hutchinson, Kansas. He divorced Maime around 1938.
The 1940 US census shows Vern married to Cora Valdez and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he worked upholstering furniture. We have no other information on Cora.
Vern married Ellen Amelia Cagley in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 19, 1943. Vern was already in the United States Navy at that time. They lived for 4 months in Corpus Christi, Texas where he attended parachute rigger’s school. Vern and Ellen lived in Oakland, California for a short time before Vern shipped out for overseas duty. In fact, he was overseas somewhere in the Pacific Ocean when his first son, Dennis Edwin Chenoweth was born in Charles City, Iowa on January 23, 1944. Vern Chenoweth came home in May 1944. Ellen says, “In a beat-up miserable wreck of a car we started for Long Beach, California with Selma and Lyle (Ellen’s sister and brother) along as a support system. In a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico we received the V-Day news. Shortly thereafter in a desolate stretch of the Painted Desert we received the news that this car was liberated also. The boys hitched us a ride to Holbrook, Arizona while they hitchhiked to find repair parts. Parts being unavailable, they abandoned the effort and purchased another miserable car with no brakes. Dennis was not a happy camper in the motel but finally we were on the road again. Having no brakes in the desert is not too bad but coming down the mountain at Needles, California is a miraculous feat best avoided.”
Lyle Cagley (brother of Ellen) says, “The first time I remember Vernon was about the time you [Dennis] were born. He was on leave from the Navy and came back to Iowa. We bought a car and drove back to Long Beach/Ventura. It was before Donna was born. Dennis was 5-6 months old. We drove across the US in that old car. Vernon was stationed in Texas when he was discharged from the Navy.” Selma Cagley Bell (Ellen’s sister) remembers “Maude [Cagley, Ellen’s, Lyle’s and Selma’s aunt] and I went by train to Corpus Christi when Ellen and Vern were first there before he went overseas. He was overseas when Dennis was born, in the Pacific. I can’t remember which one of the aircraft carriers he was on.”
Vern, Ellen, and Dennis Chenoweth eventually moved to Navy housing in Long Beach, California where Donna Jean Chenoweth was born on August 1, 1945 at the Long Beach Naval Hospital. Ellen states, “Vernon was discharged approximately 30 days after VJ Day and we returned to Iowa, this time in a hired car and driver with 2 other passengers. We headed for the Midwest. With a month-old baby and an 18-month-old this was a trip with no end in sight. This was a straight-through trip with only pit stops. Sixty hours later we arrived at the Cagley home.”
After getting out of the Navy, Vern made his living making and re-upholstering furniture. He opened a custom-built upholstery shop and appliance store in Nashua. Lyle Cagley also remembers: “One trip, after Vernon had established a business in Nashua [Iowa], I went with him back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a furniture mart. He was shopping for merchandise. I couldn’t understand what his Yiddish friends were saying. It was a most interesting trip. He had been raised to make that first sale Monday morning or you wouldn’t sell anything the rest of the week. Vernon never told me about his family. We stopped in Kansas and I’m sure it was his uncle that owned this big ranch. We spent 2-4 days there. I think Vernon lived there and finished school but I’m not sure about that.” Ellen notes that Vern “was never suited to the country life, having spent most of his time in Los Angeles, California. Having left his small family at an early age he did not understand the close-knit family life as we always enjoyed it.”
Lyle Cagley also remembers “Vern liked beer. He’s the only man I ever knew could tip up a quart of beer and drink it down all at once.” Selma Cagley Bell remembered that Vern “was a fantastic poker player. Around Nashua he was recognized as being an excellent card player.”
Dennis Chenoweth remembers “living in a Quonset hut on the lake that was behind the dam [in Nashua, Iowa]. I was only 3 then. He [Vern] built that one and John Cronin built one next to it. They are still there. They were very sturdy buildings. I don’t think the river ever got high enough to do any damage to them.”
On September 7, 1947 Vern Chenoweth and Ellen Cagley Chenoweth divorced. Vern never saw his children, Dennis and Donna again.
Vern went back to Kansas and remarried his first wife, Maime May. Vern and Mamie had 2 children: Edwin Lee Chenoweth who died at birth and Nancy Ellen Chenoweth born on September 6, 1950. Vern, Maime, and Nancy Ellen moved to Southern California. Vern opened his own furniture and upholstery shop. His daughter, Nancy, describes her father as a very loving man.
On April 1, 1967 Edwin Vernon Chenoweth died of lung cancer at the age of 54 in Corona del Mar, California. He is buried in Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar with his wife Maime.
Edwin Verna Chenoweth (1886 - 1918)
Nancy Helen Wayman Best (1889 - 1933)
Mamie May Blanchard Chenoweth (1912 - 1993)
Ellen Amelia Cagley Sands (1922 - 2007)
Opal Laverna Chenoweth Riddle (1906 - 1941)*
Edwin Verna Chenoweth (1912 - 1967)
Pacific View Memorial Park
Corona del Mar
Plot: Section: Lakeside, Lot 92, Space C
Created by: Sue Chenoweth
Record added: Oct 18, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 78651723
Added: Jan. 15, 2012