|I love you all, rest in peace|
Missing were my great grandparents, William Russell Roesch (1866-1941) and Ada Louise Houston, (1857-1924) my Aunt Lena, (1876-1942) her husband Clarence (1861-1928) and Nellie Edith Osborne, (1892-1924) the first wife of my grandfather, William Phillip Roesch, (1893-1960) who died so young leaving a little six-year-old son.
My search began in the the Cocoa and Titusville, Florida libraries, going through reels of old newspapers on microfilm. Long arduous hours were spent when finally one by one obituaries were found. The articles gave clues as to where they died, family members, pallbearers if any, in what church the services were held and perhaps the city or town where they were laid to rest. One helpful clue was uncovering the name of the funeral parlor that serviced the family, still in business since 1915.
A visit was made to the funeral home to request a search for the five names of my family. A week later the call came, yes, their records proved that William and his step-daughter Lena were indeed interred in the Eau Gallie, Florida Cemetery. Unfortunately, the years that would have included the other three were missing.
Death certificates were obtained in the hope of finding additional information. If William is there then his wife Ada must certainly be there. And, if Lena is there wouldn't her husband Clarence also be there?
The last would be Nellie who tragically died so young, the first loved Roesch in Eau Gallie to die; of course, Nellie surely must be there too. And there it was on their death certificates, place of burial, Eau Gallie.
Here I was at the end of a fascinating journey, not only discovering a remarkable history, but receiving the wonderful gift of knowing my ancestors. It changed me in ways that I never expected; it gave me a sense of honor of being part of something unique. It led me to write their story, "Forever Laced".
The realization that because they had no marker erroneously gave the impression they never existed and somehow they didn't matter. They did indeed exist and they lived their lives the very best they could, sometimes under very difficult and painful situations. They contributed during their lifetimes by shaping their communities and forming the future based on the ideals they taught their children. I had been blessed with a special opportunity to validate and memorialize their honorable live.
A granite stone was placed in front of the gravestone of William Phillip Roesch, my grandfather. You are no longer lost, rest in peace.