Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gay Nedd: Fourth Marriage and Later Life

For previous posts about Mrs. Nedd see "Who Was Mrs. Nedd?," "Mrs. Nedd's Second Marriage," and "Gaynelle Moritz Nedd Marries a Third Time."

We left Gaynelle in Houston, Texas, married to Paul B. Wagenseller to whom she had been married about 14 years. The last record of their being together was a 1932 Houston City Directory. When the marriage ended is unknown.

And then, somehow, Gay and her first husband, Earl J. Nedd, got together again. They remarried in Denver, Colorado on 17 January 1937.1 The next year, Paul Wagenseller took off for a trip to Europe.2

How romantic for the two young lovers to reunite after thirty years! you might think so, but no. Apparently, the second marriage between Earl and Gay didn’t fare any better than the first. By 1940, Gay Nedd, manager of the guesthouse where my aunt Neville stayed in 1939, was divorced.3 Earl Nedd was married to Helen and living in San Francisco again with his daughters, Shirley and Patricia, and two of Helen’s sons. Earl was manager of the meat packing company.4

Finding more details about Gaynelle after 1940 is difficult without going to the various places where she lived. She seems to have been an attractive and enterprising woman, not content to live with someone who didn’t suit her. She likely never married again, for the name Nedd is on her tombstone. When she lived on her own, she was self-sufficient and enterprising. The husbands she chose were men of some means who went on to lead financially successful lives. Evidence indicates that her son Louis and his family lived near her much of his life. Eventually, she returned to Houston, Texas, lived to the age of 84 and succumbed to lung disease on 20 February 1975. She was buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery. Her devoted son Louis supplied the information for her death certificate.5
Find A Grave photo by "Moon Child."
As for the later lives of Gaynelle’s husbands:

1. When Earl Joseph Nedd registered for the World War II draft in 1942, he lived in San Francisco and was employed by the South San Francisco Packing & Provision Company. He named his daughter, Mrs. R. G. Davey, as the person who would always know his whereabouts.6 Earl died at age 66 on 22 July 1952 in San Mateo County, California, and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.7
Earl J. Nedd's signature from his World War II draft registration.
2. Harry Boyd Brown lived for a time in Germantown, Pennsylvania. On his World War II draft registration, he named Miss Jeanne Brown of Pikesville, Maryland, as the person who would always know his whereabouts.8 Was she his daughter? After an illustrious career of twenty-two years with Philco, part of that time as National Advertising Manager,9 in demand as a speaker for advertising conventions, and writing for industry magazines, he retired in 1950. But he wasn’t finished working. He became president of the Kenya Gem Corporation 10 and copyrighted a couple of advertising slogans. He died at age 84 in Dade, Florida in 1968.11
Harry Boyd Brown's signature from World War I draft registration
Harry Boyd Brown's signature from magazine article cited in 9.

3. Eventually, Paul Brandom Wagenseller had his own law practice in Houston, Texas. On his World War II draft registration, he named his father as the person who would always know his whereabouts.12 At some point, he remarried. He died 2 May 1971 and was buried next his "beloved wife," Grace (nèe Tatters), at Forest Park East Cemetery, Webster, Harris County Texas. 13
Paul B. Wagenseller's signature from his WWII draft registration.
Wagenseller, Paul & Grace, Find A Grave photo by "Taterhands."
Online research can reveal much about our ancestors and anyone else who intrigues us. My effort to answer the question "Who was Mrs. Nedd?" was piqued by my aunt Neville Troutman's statement in a letter from Denver, Colorado to her sister Virginia in Winside, Nebraska that she liked Mrs. Nedd, her landlady and employer at a rooming house there. Aunt Neville didn't like just anyone and everyone. Something about Mrs. Nedd must have impressed her. I wanted to know more. Through records on,,,, Findagrave. com, and Google, I have learned much about the life of this intriguing woman and the people surrounding her. If she were my ancestor, I would go into more depth with research in the places where she lived, but this much has satisfied my curiosity.

1 Arapahoe County, Colorado, “County Marriages and State Indexes, 1862-2006,” digital image ( : accessed 21 March 2017); entry for Earl J. Nedd and Gaynelle M. Wagenseller, 17 January 1937.
2 “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images ( : accessed 21 March 2017), citing Paul Wagensellar, arriving New York, from Southampton, England on the Champlain, 13 October 1938.
3 1940 U. S. census, Denver, Denver Co., Co., pop. sched., ED 16-21, sheet 10-A, no. 135, Gay Nedd household.
4 1940 U. S. census, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, population schedule, enumeration district 38-378, sheet 5-A, visit no. 4, Earl Nedd household; digital image ( ; accessed 27 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T-627, roll 312. 
5 “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital image ( : accessed 21 March 2017), for Gaynelle M. Nedd, 29 February 1975. 
6 “U. S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” digital images ( : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Earl Joseph Nedd, serial number 2552, Local Draft Board, San Francisco County, California. 
7San Mateo California Colma Cemetery Index, 1887-2001,” database ( : accessed 24 March 2017), citing Earl J. Nedd, 1952. 
8 “U. S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” digital images ( : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Harry Boyd Brown, serial number 2149, Local Draft Board, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 
9 Harry Boyd Brown, “Mystery Control Will Deliver the Radio Prospects of America to the Philco, Dealers,” Radio Today, July 1938, p. 8 ( : accessed 22 March 2017). 
10 Anne Haywood, “Your Career,” Shamokin (Pennsylvania) News-Dispatch, 16 Dec. 1958, p. 4, col. 2; ( : accessed 27 March 2017). Searching for "Harry Boyd Brown" results in numerous article about him and his career in advertising.
11 Social Security Administration, “U. S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current,” database (, accessed 24 March 2017), entry for Harry Boyd Brown, 1968, SSN --- -- -061. Also, for the advertising slogan copyright: Library of Congress, Catalog of Copyright Entries, Ser. 3, pt. 11B, v. 13-15, 1959-1961, Labels (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1891- ) 42; Hathi-Trust ( : accessed 11 April 2017) search words: "'Harry Boyd Brown' copyright".
12 “U. S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” digital images ( : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Paul Brandom Wagenseller, serial number 4463, Local Draft Board, Harris County, Texas. 
13 Find A Grave, database with images ( : accessed 24 March 2017), photograph, memorial # 131971537, Paul Wagenseller (1893-1971), Forest Park East Cemetery, Webster, Harris County, Texas; gravestone photographed by “Taterhands.”  

© 2017, Z. T. Noble

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