Learning More about My Dad

Dad was born April 17, 1917, which would have made him 104 this year had he not died at 60 in 1977. I found some old letters in his files recently that have helped fill in some blanks and also confirmed stuff I had heard (or misheard) over the years.

I did a blog post in 2010 where I used a post out of his scrapbook to show me and a check he had received for what sounds like the first job he and his new partner, James Kirkwood, did in Ellington.

1949 letter to his brother, Paul Steinhoff

Here’s the three-page letter he wrote to his younger brother, Paul, on Oct. 3, 1949. You can click on any image to make it larger, then use the left and right arrow keys to move around.

I’ll pull out excerpts from it, and add comments.

Paul, Dad and Their Father

Paul – LV – Louis Steinhoff c 1934

This was in Dad’s high school scrapbook, so it must have been taken in the early 1930s. Paul is on the left, Dad is in the middle, and Louis Steinhoff, their father, is on the right. This may be the only photo I’ve seen of him.

It’s hard to read, but, based on other photos on the scrapbook, it was taken at 116 North Middle Street. That would have made it possible for him to be close enough to the Broadway theater to have used his toy wagon to carry music for the woman piano player to play in the silent movies. We always thought that to be a family legend until we saw an obit for the woman in the past decade or so.

Mexican Vacation

The folks wanted to take a trip so we, along with Mary Lee’s Dad and Mother took off to the south. We spent 3 weeks with everybody having a good time. Kenny finally had to give up his bottle in Mexico where we couldn’t get any milk. That was one good thing the trip did or he might have been on the bottle yet.

In February I took in a partner by the name of James Kirkwood. Kirkwood was an engineer for the Highway Dept. for 20 years, having a very good background.

Mother Had to Run Her Dad’s Store

We moved the trailer to Ellington and was there until July 14, except that Mary Lee had to come home in the late part of May and stay at Advance. Mr. Welch had a serious heart attack and was forced to stay at home in bed for three months. He is just now being able to do a little work at the store. Mary Lee had to take care of the business during this time. I moved the trailer to Charleston, but batched it during this time.

Steinhoff & Kirkwood Built Rt. W from Cape to Fruitland

On July 29th we were successful bidders on Route W in Cape Girardeau county. This job begins on Perry Ave. outside of Cape Girardeau city limits and runs to Fruitland, Mo. It’s a rather large job but are doing well, and except for weather conditions we should finish sometime this month or the first of next.

Our Trailer Was On a Now-Gone Hill behind Colonial Restaurant

We have moved the trailer to Cape and have parked it on Hyway 61 near the Colonial Restaurant in a private-owned yard. Kenny likes it back at Cape and has several playmates. Kirkwood has one boy 6 months older than Kenny and one girl that is just beginning to go to school.

Kenny is quite a big lad now and talks a blue streak all the time and is plenty heavy for his age. He has a tricycle and rides all the time. He is crazy about books and I do believe that he has well over 100 of them at the trailer and at his grandmother’s.

1949 Cardinals vs Cubs

There is one thing he will be able to say when he grows up, and that will be that he saw a National League baseball game as soon as his daddy. We went to St. Louis a week ago Sunday and saw the Cardinals play the Chicago Cubs. He finally went to sleep before the game was completed. We spent the morning at the zoo taking in the Monkey show.

Ice cream and a life of crime

He goes to the stores here at Advance and gets his own ice cream cones and soda by himself and he really thinks he is doing something.

Bill Joiner 1941 – 2020

Bill Joiner c 1950

Troas (Bones) Joiner was the Joiner in Steinhoff, Kirkwood & Joiner Construction Co. that built roads and bridges all over the region. Bones and Lil, as we called her, had a son William who was about six years older than me. 

He was Billy, which morphed into Bill, much like I tried to shed Kenny for Ken when I got older and left town. Because of our age difference, we didn’t hang out together much.

I don’t know where these photos were taken, but it must have been someplace special for us to dress up like this. I look like I’m about two or three.

Bill died October 9, 2020

Ken Steinhoff-Bill Joiner c 1950

William “Bill” Troas Joiner, 79, of Cape Girardeau passed away Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, at Heartland Care and Rehab.

He was born May 27, 1941, to Troas and Lillian Sharp Joiner.

He was a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and owner of Solar Pools, Inc.

Bill was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. He was a sports car enthusiast, enjoyed watching Cardinals baseball and loved the barbecue from Pilot House.

He is survived by cousins, Larry Bonnell and Susan Hanvy.

I saw him at his son’s funeral

Ken Steinhoff-Bill Joiner c 1950

He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, William Troas Joiner II.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church, with Pastor Weston Wildauer officiating. Burial will follow at Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery.

A very special “thank you” to Heartland Care and Rehab and Crown Hospice for the loving and compassionate care that was given to Bill.

Memorial contributions may be given to Crown Hospice.

Ford and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

We took my first plane ride together

I did a blog post in 2014 about a seaplane ride on the Lake of the Ozarks, probably around 1952. That’s Bones, Dad, me, and Billy (he hadn’t become Bill yet). By this time, he had adopted his signature buzz cut hairstyle. Dad was sporting the hairstyle that I would follow not too many years in the future.

 

Dad Bid on CHS Site Grading in 1953

SKJ bid for CHS 01-19-1953

While rooting through some of Dad’s old files, I ran across a bid that Steinhoff, Kirkwood and Joiner, General Contractors, had proposed to do the site clearing and grading for the “New High School Building, located on Caruthers Avenue, north of Independence, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.”

They offered to do all the excavation, fill and drainage work (except for the removal of rocks and trees), for $25,000

Trees and rocks were extra

The charge for removing trees would be based on the number of inches around, measured 18″ above existing grade. It would cost $2 per inch of diameter.

They would be paid $3 per cubic yard for rock removal.

The job went to Dixie Contractors

SKJ bid for CHS 01-19-1953

Unfortunately for Steinhoff, Kirkwood & Joiner, the school board awarded the job to Dixie Contractors of Cape.

I went through almost a month of Southeast Missourians to see what the winning bid was, but I either missed it, or the meeting where it was announced was outside the window I checked.

Should have been familiar with the neighborhood

Dad should have been familiar with the future site of the high school. We lived in one of the first homes built in the block of Themis just east of the school.

Mother often talked about how the site CHS sits on was once a swampy field with a dead horse in it.

Surety bond was returned

Since SK&J didn’t get the job, the school board returned their surety bond. I’ll post that as a gallery in case anyone knows any of the people who signed it. You can click on any of the three images to make it larger, then use the arrows to move through the other documents.

The bond was issued by United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, doing business as W.E. Walker in Cape. Other names mentioned included P.F. Lee, G.P Moore, Dorothy Drexel, and M. Luther Pittman.

Dad Would Have Turned 101

When I walked out the front door the other day, I noticed that the tulips that Mother had planted years and years ago had started to bloom. I snipped off a few, along with some other flowers from the yard, and started looking for something I could put them in at the cemetery.

It was pretty windy, so I thought I’d better get a vase of some kind with a spike on the bottom. After going to three places, I found a small, white plastic one, but it had plastic flowers in it. I hate plastic flowers when real ones are available.

I turned to an elderly woman in front of me (if I call someone elderly, you KNOW they are old), and asked if she’d like some flowers. Her face lit up like she had won the lottery. It was the best thing that happened all day.

By the way, you can click on the photos to make them larger.

Brother David hits Cape

Brother David passed through St. Louis and Cape doing a honk ‘n’ wave on his way back home to Texas. He brought along a wreath to put on Dad and Mother’s stone.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a way to secure the wreath, and the winds were blowing so hard that we were afraid it would end up in Perry county. I promised him I’d come back the next week to rig something up.

My flowers were woebegone

The cheap plastic vase I bought wouldn’t hold water, and the wind had whipped the flowers around, so they were looking a bit ragged when I went back on Monday to rig David’s wreath.

If you look closely, you can see the head of two big spikes I pushed into the ground, and some fine green wires leading upwards from them.

It’s up in time for his birthday

Two similar spikes and wires hold on the front of the stone secure the wreath. When I messaged David that I got the display up in time for Dad’s birthday, April 17, he pointed out that he would have been 101 years old this year.

Wow! That boggles my mind.

Earlier posts about Dad