|Birth: ||Sep. 9, 1922|
|Death: ||Jan. 3, 2011|
Marjorie was my father's cousin, one of the five grandchildren of our great grandpa, Daniel H. Romberger, and she was the daughter of Edna May (Romberger) Gackenbach and Arthur Gackenbach.
Marjorie was the mother of three boys by her first husband, Donald Riddle. She was later married to Arthur P. Naeyaert.
In passing in January, she moves on in winter, at the time of year so many of our Allentown Rombergers have; her grandpa Daniel and her sister in law, my dad's mom Fay passed in December, and her grandma Minnie, her Aunt Amy, and her cousin, my dad all passed in January.
I remember "Aunt Margie" as a gentle soul, a Romberger through-and-through. She was a sweet woman with a lovely voice, not quite as melifluous as her mother's but having the family Kepler tones unmistakeably from Daniel's wife Minnie, her grandma.
Besides the family relationship, Margie and my family stayed in touch other ways. She and my mom were in the same bridge club for many years. My mom also recalls that in the early years of my parents' marriage when they lived near 9th and Hamilton in Allentown, Margie and Donald lived just up the street near 9th and Linden. Mom and Dad would take a few quarts of beer over and go play bridge with them. My dad also made a point of taking her boys out fishing sometimes, and over the years, those boys babysat me a few times when I was little. I remember once we got locked out of the house, and we all crawled back into the house through the kitchen window. Anyway... I also remember that she and my dad attended the first Romberger All-Family Reunion together, Dad driving the two of them from Allentown out to Berrysburg for this first historic clan gathering.
Margie and her family were the last of our Allentown Romberger branch to live in one of the custom-built Romberger homes. As his kids married, her grandpa (my great grandpa) Daniel had built them all lovely homes of stone or brick. My dad was born in one at 24th and Union. Margie returned to the home she was raised in near 27th and Greenleaf after her marriage ended, and her boys were raised there too. I can remember going over there to visit with her and her parents, and their cat Cleo. They had a lovely shaded garden, cool and green, and some benches made by the old family cast stone business, where Margie's mom May Romberger had once been the company stenographer and bookeeper, working alongside her brother (my grandpa) and her father, my great grandpa.
The last time I saw Margie was painful but I am very glad for it. She was being moved to the Topton Lutheran Home. While her room was being prepared, she came over to our house to spend the day with Mom and I. I also invited her cousin, my Aunt Janet, my dad's sister, so it was us four gals. Recognizing that the years were advancing, I took the opportunity to speak with her about her family and the genealogy I had found thus far.
Despite some memory lapses, she was able to confirm what I had found, and had living memory of my her grandpa's (my great grandpa's) siblings, expressing a special warmth for her (great) Aunt Clara. She was able to name most of those siblings though there were many, and I think she got all the ones that would have been alive during her life.
That she could do so is pretty amazing because her family left the area her grandpa's siblings were in before Marjorie was born, indeed, while her mom was a teenager. She knew these folks only through occasional visits, as it was long distance from Allentown to the Berrysburg area in those days. It was clear these folks held a special place in her heart, as after she spoke of them, she got a bit weepy, noting, "And now they're all gone." I felt badly for making her note the loss of them, but at the same time, she had been very glad to speak of them- it had probably been a long time since she'd thought of them or spoken of them with anyone. My mom's health began to fail not long after this visit, and as an only child responsible for her care, I was not able to leave her at home alone easily; I never did get to see Margie again, and for that I am very sorry. You always think you'll find a way, that there's time, and sometimes you learn there really isn't.
And it hurts to lose her as I knew her as a good lady, and as part of our family. I think of the wonderful picture of the five Romberger grandkids (shown to the right, Margie is the first child on the left) and recognize that Margie, Joyce, and my dad, Gil, are gone, and now only Barbara and Janet remain. (Note: Janet has also since passed in October 2011.) Since great grandpa Daniel had one boy and two girls, and that one boy of his had just one boy (my dad) and that boy had just one daughter, I sense the demise of our last name in the area, as well as the times that brought the family together.
Great grandpa Daniel came to Allentown to start his business life over in his fifties, and it was in Allentown those three kids of his worked, married and raised families. Then his grandchildren did the same and had Allentown families too. Then came my generation, the great grandkids, all of us born in Allentown too.
Time moves on for all of us. It's odd to recognize that this tiny branch of the clan that broke away from Berrysburg did get bigger (with and without the Romberger name) and is now scattering again. We're not anchored to Allentown as much anymore and that seems a bit sad. Then I remember that great grandpa Daniel moved away from his hometown of Berrysburg, moving to Williamstown, then Harrisburg and finally Allentown, doing what he had to do to provide a good life for his family, and my generation will do the very same.
A sidenote: I have wondered about something, and will add it here to someday investigate further. Marjorie's first husband was a descendant of William MacPherson Riddle who served as mayor of Atlantic City from 1912 to 1916, and whose influence in the area continued long after. I have found evidence that in the 1920's, our Romberger family cast stone firm worked on at least one major project in Atlantic City, building what was then the largest hotel on the east coast, the Atlantic City Ritz Carlton. It makes me wonder if the Riddle and Romberger families knew one another through that venture, and if this acquaintanceship may have led to Margie meeting her first husband.
Marjorie G. Naeyaert, 88, of Bethlehem died Monday, January 3, 2011 at the Lutheran Home at Topton. Born September 9, 1922 in Allentown, she was the daughter of the late Arthur F. and Edna May (Romberger) Gackenbach. Marjorie graduated from Allentown High School, class of 1940; and from National Park College, Washington DC. Prior to retirement, she worked for two local law firms as a paralegal and office manager. She was a lifelong member of Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown. Survivors: In addition to her husband, Arthur P. Naeyaert of Bethlehem; she is survived by three sons and their families: Arthur and Cynthia Riddle, Conyngham; David and Carolyn Riddle, Whitehall; Daniel and Susan Riddle, Allentown; five grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Services: Funeral service will be held on Friday, at 10:30 a.m. at the J. S. Burkholder Funeral Home, 16th and Hamilton Sts., Allentown. Calling hours will be held on Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home. The Rev. Arthur D. Riddle will officiate. Interment will follow at Greenwood Cemetery, Allentown. Contributions: In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in her memory to Christ Lutheran Church 1245 W. Hamilton St. Allentown, PA 18102.
Arthur F Gackenbach (1895 - 1983)
Edna May Romberger Gackenbach (1900 - 1984)
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Jan 04, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 63719903