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William G. Miner
a.k.a. G. Wilbur Miner  -  (1878-1969)

See "Lessons from the Hobo Express" and "The Raspberry Patch"



Will and Hattie Miner

G. Wilbur Miner, better known as "William G. Miner," was born on May 24, 1878 in Bearfield Township, Perry County, OH, the son of Thomas M. and Maletha (Ogburn) Miner.

At a young age, Will moved with his parents to nearby McLuney Station in Harrison Township, Perry County. Then, in about 1899, when he was age 21, Will and his parents and brothers Fred and Charles relocated eastward to Gallitzin Township, Cambria County, PA, where his sister Lizzie and her family were already living. Will settled in the town of Coupon, and worked there as a coal miner.


Will Miner

Seen here is a photograph of Will as a young, bearded man, wearing a stylish derby hat and enjoying a favorite stogie cigar.

On Oct. 31, 1899, the same year that he migrated to Pennsylvania, and when he was 21 years of age, Will was united in matrimony with 19-year-old Hattie F. Gaines (1880-1970), the daughter of John and Catherine (Shomo) Gaines, and a native of Page County, VA. The ceremony took place in Coupon or Delaney, Gallitzin Township, Cambria County. 

They together produced a family of seven children -- Lillian M. Stretton Richards, John W. Miner, Thomas M. Miner II, Esther K. Erb, Mabel Ann O'Donnell Hewitt, Elizabeth Mansell and Ruth Plank. 

When the federal census was taken in June 1900, the newlywed Miners lived in Gallitzin Township. Will's occupation was listed as "coal miner." Later, they resided in Bakers, Cambria County. 

In 1910, Will and his family resided in Altoona, Blair County.

Will later became a conductor with the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, a position which he held for many years.


Will, seated, with brother Charles, year unknown


Obituary, 1969

By 1920, the Miners were living on a farm in nearby Logan Township.


Asbury Church Cemetery

Will was employed for many years as a conductor with the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He held a membership in the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. He retired in 1942.

In March 1945, when his brother Fred died, the Johnstown (PA) Tribune said Will was living in Altoona. 

Will and Hattie celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with their large family of offspring on Oct. 31, 1949. In all, they were married for 69 years, until the separation of death. 

In 1956, Will enjoyed a family reunion with his sister Lizzie and brother Charles, of New York. Sadly, Charles passed away the following year.


Above, Will (left) with sister Lizzie Lytle and brother Charles, 1956. Below: Will and Hattie, circa 1966, just three years before his death


Obituary, 1970

Their final home together was in the rural outskirts of Altoona. In his later years, Will suffered from hardening of the arteries and congestive heart failure. He passed away on May 28, 1969 at Altoona Hospital, "after a brief illness" at the age of 91. He was laid to rest at the Asbury United Methodist Church cemetery in Logan Township, Blair County, PA. At the time, he and Hattie had 26 grandchildren and 61 great-grandchildren.

Hattie died a year later, and was buried beside Will. A newspaper headline trumpeted that she was a "Matriarch of a Large Family." The article reported that she had been residing in Homers Gap and that her "descendants number more than 100..." 

She was buried beside her husband at her longtime church, Asbury United Methodist.

~ Daughter Lillian (Miner) Stretton Richards ~


Daughter Lillian Miner (1900-1974) was born in 1900 in Cambria County, PA. 

She was married twice, first to Charles C. Stretton (1898?- ? ).

They bore one known child, Doris Miller. 

In 1940, Lillian's dwelling-place is not yet known, but their daughter Doris lived with Lillian's parents in Logan Township, Blair County, PA

Obituary, 1974

In time, she wed again to William H. Richards (March 27, 1891-1962), a Baltimore native and the son of Charles H. and Mary (Herple) Richards. 

The couple's address in the early 1960s was 2061 Cobbs Creek Parkway in Philadelphia. He was said to have been a "leading man" for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Sadly, suffering from heart disease and bacterial pneumonia, William was further strucken by kidney problems and admitted to Misericordia Hospital in Philadelphia. He died there at age 71 on Aug. 1, 1962. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in Philadelphia's Mt. Moriah Cemetery.

Circa 1970, the widowed Lillian resided in the Masonic Home in Elizabethtown, PA. She "was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Philadelphia," said an Altoona newspaper.

She passed away on Aug. 6, 1974, at the age of 74. Interment was in Asbury United Methodist Cemetery in Altoona. 

Daughter Doris Stretton (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924. When the federal census was taken in 1940, the 16-year-old Doris lived under the roof of her mother's parents in Logan Township, Blair County. She is believed to have been a 1942 graduate of Altoona High School. Doris married (?) Miller. Her home in 1974 was in Chester, Delaware County, PA.


Will and Hattie and children, 1956. Front, l-r: Ruth Plank, Elizabeth Mansel, Lillian Richards, Hattie Miner. Middle: Mabel Hewitt, Esther Erb. Back: Will Miner, Thomas Miner, John Miner, cousin Earnest Alger.


~ Son John Wesley Miner ~


Son John Wesley Miner (1902-1973) was born in 1902.

He married Esther G. Sell (1904-1999), daughter of D. Elmer and Margaret (Simmons) Sell of West Plan Road near Altoona. She originally was from McKee, Blair County, PA.

They produced a family of five children -- David Edward Miner, William E. Miner, E. Juanita Lee, Richard Miner and Mary Catherine Bickel.

Obituary, 1973

John loved to hunt for deer and small game. He made news in December 1940 when he shot a large buck "within calling distance of his home on his own place," reported the Altoona Tribune.

Tragedy struck in 1952 when 20-year-old son David Edward Miner (1932-1952), working in Buffalo, NY, was killed in an automobile accident, just days before he was to be inducted ito the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

John was employed for many years as a welder in the Pennsylvania Railroad Company's erecting shop in Juniata and boiler shop in Altoona. He retired in 1967.

Esther "was a homemaker who enjoyed cooking and sewing." They resided at Homers Gap, PA, and were members of the Asbury United Methodist Church, where Esther was treasurer of the Women's Society. 


Pennsylvania Railroad yard and shops in Altoona

John died on July 18, 1973, after suffering a heart attack.

Esther outlived her husband by 26 year and remained in Altoona. As a patient in Altoona Hospital Center for Nursing Care, she succumbed to the spectre of death at the age of 94 on April 11, 1999. Her obituary was published in the Lancaster (PA) New Era. She was survived by 10 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Son David Edward Miner (1932-1952) was born on May 27, 1932 in Logan Township. He belonged to the Asbury Methodist church. In late 1952, he was employed in Buffalo, NY by Ford Motor Company. Expecting to be inducted into the U.S. Army, during the Korean War, he drove to Altoona to start the process. Grief swept over the family when he and a companion were killed "in a collision of two automobiles on route 36, a short distance south of the main entrance to the Hollidaysburg State Hospital," said the Altoona Mirror. He was only 20 years of age. The remains were lowered into the endless sleep of time in Asbury United Methodist Cemetery.

Son William E. Miner (1925-2002) was born on Dec. 4, 1925 in Altoona. He was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II. On Dec. 29, 1945, at the age of 20, William married V. Irene Halbritter ( ? -2014), daughter of Frank K. and Madge Catherine (Purgitt) Halbritter of Fuoss Mills, Antis Township, near Altoona. They had three children -- Linda L. Bryan, William E. Bryan and Donna L. Brunner. Circa 1952, the family lived in Asbury, Logan Township. William was a longtime letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service in Tyrone, PA, while Irene worked at the local Sears store. Irene was a life member of the Asbury United Methodist Church and also attended the Tipton United Methodist Church. She "enjoyed gardening and reading," said the Altoona Mirror, and was active with the United Methodist Women. He died on Oct. 24, 2002, at the age of 77, as a patient in Altoona Hospital. Irene survived her husband by nearly a dozen years and spent her final time in her home on Graystone Court in Bellemead. She died at the age of 86 on July 24, 2014 in UPMC Altoona. She was laid to rest in Logan Valley Cemetery in Bellwood following a funeral led by Rev. Robert Stump.



Linda Miner Bryan and her story in Hospital News


  • Granddaughter Linda Lou Miner ( ? -living) married Gilbert "Gib" Bryan ( ? - ? ). After being widowed at a young age, she built a career as an executive assistant to the chief operating officer with the DuBois Regional Medical Center -- later renamed Penn Highlands Healthcare -- in DuBois, Clearfield County, PA. A creative writer and poet, Linda authored a literary poem, "The Raspberry Patch," published in Pennsylvania English, inspired by her Miner ancestors. She also is the author of "Lessons from the Hobo Express." In February 2011, Linda was pictured on the front page of Western Pennsylvania Hospital News & More under a headline reading "Artists Among Us -- Linda Bryan Translates Life and Family into Poetry." [link]  She also authored "Turning a Bad Time in My Life into a Positive," in Pittsburgh Better Times, describing how she coped as a young widow and single mother. [link]
  • Grandson William E. Miner lived in Hughesville, MD in 2002.
  • Grandaughter Donna Miner wedded (?) Brunner. Circa 2002, she was in Bellwood, PA.

Daughter E. Juanita Miner ( ? - ? ) was born on (?). On June 28, 1958, she entered into marriage with World War II veteran Raymond W. Lee (June 28, 1927-2009), with the ceremony performed in the parsonage of the Juniata Methoidst Church. He was a native of Frugality, PA and the son of Harrison S. and Edith (Dunn) Lee. During the war, he served in the European Theatre with the U.S. Army. He then attended Penn State University, where he studied surveying and drafting. The Lees made a home in Grandview on the outskirts of Altoona and bore a duo of daughters, Terri R. Rhone and Susan L. Gittings. Raymond was employed at the Penn Alto Garage and then as a welder with Altoona Pipe and Steel. In his free time he liked to attend yard sales and flea markets and restore antique automotilbes, and held a membershp in the Antique Automobile club of America. Sadly, at the age of 81, after being hurt in a fall at home, he was admitted to Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital. He died there on April 12, 2009. Jointly conducted his funeral service were lay pastor Linda Williams and Rev. Carol Gathagan, with burial in Asbury Cemetery. The family requested that any memorial contributions be made to the Asbury United Methodist Church.

  • Granddaughter Terri R. Lee married Michael Rhone. Two offspring in this family were Cheyenne Rhone and Shane Rhone. They were in Altoona in 2009.
  • Granddaughter Susan Lee wed Chad Gittings. The pair's only daughter is Macie Grace Gittings. The couple put down roots in York, PA.  

Son Richard E. Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). In 1952, he was in Buffalo, NY, possibly working with his older brother David at the Ford Motor Company. He married Mary A. Strobel ( ? - ? ). The Miners put down roots in Bainbridge, Lancaster County, PA and were there in 1993-2002. The couple became the parents of Rebecca E. Bouchard.

  • Granddaughter Rebecca E. Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She is an alumna of Elizabethtown High School and received her bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Circa 1993, she was employed as an aerospace engineer by Martin Marietta Aerospace in Valley Forge. On July 24, 1993, she entered into marriage with Matthew P. Bouchard ( ? - ? ). Their nuptials were held in thh William A. Carpenter Chapel of the Masonic Homes in Elizabethtown, by the hand of the groom's father, Rev. Bruce P. Bouchard of Hanover, PA. At the time, Matthew was a graduate of Hanover High School and held a degree in biology from Penn State. Rebecca was pictured in a wedding announcement in the Lancaster Sunday News, which said that the newlyweds would make their first home in Bryn Mawr, PA. Matthew went on to obtain a degree in medicine from Oerelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Evidence suggests that the pair relocated to Altoona where he is an emergency care physician affiliated with the UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center. and then was named chair of  UPMC Altoona's Department of Emergency Medicine.

Daughter Mary Catherine Miner (1929- ? ) was born in 1929. She grew up in Homer's Gap, PA and was a 1948 graduate of Tyrone Area High School. Mary was employed as a young woman at the Puritan Knitting Mills. On May 13, 1952, she was joined in matrimony with U.S. Army veteran Merle Gene Bickel (Feb. 6, 1928-2011), son of George and Mary (Patterson) Bickel of Tyrone, PA. Their nuptials were held in the First Methodist Church of Bellwood, with Rev. E.Z. Utts officiating. The marriage was announced in the Tyrone Daily Herald, which noted that she "wore a ballerena length gown of white eyelet embroidered organdy, with a white nylon picture hat and long white gloves. She carried a bridal bouquet of white roses." Their union endured the highs and lows of a remarkable 59 years together. At the time of marriage, Merle had recently returned from U.S. Army service in Korea. The newlyweds first resided in Juniata, PA. The family of children they bore together included Darl Bickel, Jeff Bickel, Randy Bickel and Julie Garner. By 1973, they had relocated to Virginia and were in Williamsburg. Merle earned a living as a nuclear health physicist. He served as a trustee of Aldersgate United Methodist Church. In July 1989, they traveled to attend a reunion of the George and Mary Bickel family, held at Friday's Grove, Van Scoyoe, and reported by the Centre Daily Times. Later, by 2000, they resided in Charlottesville, VA. Merle died at the age of 83, in Martha Jefferson Hospital, on Oct. 18, 2011. He was survived by eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Funeral rites were held in the family church, jointly led by Rev. Scott E. Davis and Rev. Claude Reed. The body was laid to rest in Holly Memorial Gardens in Hollymead, VA, and an obituary appeared in the Daily Progress.

  • Grandchild Darl Bickel ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Jeff Bickel ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Randy Bickel ( ?  - ? ) wed Theresa.
  • Granddaughter Julie Bickel ( ? - ? ) tied the knot with David Garner.


~ Son Thomas M. Miner, II ~


Altoona newspaper

Son Thomas M. Miner, II (1907-1980) was born in 1907.

He married Edna L. Biser (1914-1991), daughter of Louise E. (Biser) McGarvey.

They resided at Homers Gap, and bore four children -- Charles Marion Biser "Charlie" Miner, Gladys Stengel, Grace Burns and Thomas Walter Miner.

Circa 1930, they shared an apartment with Edna's grandmother McGarvey, and dwelled in the rear of 878 17th Street.

Said an Altoona newspaper, "Known as Col. Sanders, Mr. Miner retired from the E&M shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1959, after 30 years' service." Edna worked for 19 years as head seamstress at Altoona Hospital, retiring in February 1978. 

He died on Aug. 5, 1980. A newspaper said that he and Edna were survived 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. 

Edna outlived him by 11 years, and passed away on Aug. 25, 1991.

Son Charles Marion Biser Miner (1930-1984) was born on Nov. 14, 1930, weighing 7 lbs. at birth. He married Joan T. Moser ( ? - ? ) in Bellwood, PA, in 1950. They had six children -- Charles M. "Chuck" Miner Jr., Joni T. Reismeier, Mark T. Miner, Andrew D. Miner, Yvonne L. Miner and Pamela L. Miner. In the early 1950s, he was employed with Sky Brothers. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War era, with the specialty as a pipefitter fireman. In late 1953 or early 1954, he was aboard the USS Furse, a radar picket destroyer, when it "guarded the flight line for President Dwight Eisenhoer on his return to New York city from Bermuda," reported the Altoona Tribune. Said a newspaper, he "retired as a tractor operator from Conrail in November 1983, after 33 years' service." They resided in Riggles Gap, PA,and were members of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Bellwood. He died on Nov. 6, 1984. 

  • Grandson Charles Marion Biser "Chuck" Miner Jr. ( ? - ? ) married Janet Marie Greene (1954-2014), daughter of William C. and Cora (Williamson) Greene of Altoona. They made their home in Bellwood. Sadly, Janet died at the age of 60, on Nov. 1, 2014, in UPMC Shadyside. An obituary was printed in the Altoona Mirror.
  • Granddaughter Joni T. Miner is believed to have wed Mark V. Reismeier ( ? - ? ), a certified financial planner. They live in Altoona, and their wealth management practice is affiliated with LPL Financial.
  • Grandson Mark T. Miner ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Andrew D. Miner ( ? - ? )
  • Granddaughter Yvonne L. Miner ( ? - ? )
  • Granddaughter Pamela L. Miner ( ? - ? )

Son Thomas Walter Miner (1932-1997) was born in 1932. On New Year's Eve 1950, when he was about age 18, Thomas married Kay L. Miller ( ? - ? ). The wedding was held at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Altoona, presided over by Tev. T.J. Evans. Five offspring were born to this union -- Stephen Kent "Steve" Miner, Carl Miner, T. Craig Miner, Penelope Mae "Penny" Freidenbloom and Sharon Kay Goodman. They were members of the Trinity Assembly of God Church in Huntingdon, PA. Said a newspaper, "He retired from J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, Huntingdon, in 1978. He had previously worked as a painter for Robert Leidy Painting, Alexandria." Their addresses in Alexandria were Main Street and Shelton Avenue. The Miners celebrated their silver wedding anniversary with a gatherine on Jan. 3, 1976 and were pictured in a related story in the Huntingdon Daily News. He died at home on July 31, 1997, at the age of 65. An obituary appeared in the Daily News.

  • Grandson Stephen Kent "Steve" Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). Circa 1972, he served as a member of the Howitzer Battery of the First Squadron, 104th Armored Cavalry at Huntingdon. He married Debbie Everhart ( ? - ? ), daughter of Robert and Martha Everhart of Alexandria, PA. They made a home on Shelton Avenue in Alexandria, near Huntingdon, PA in the late 1970s. They produced two known sons, Bradley Kent Miner and Wayne Thomas Miner.
  • Grandson Carl Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He wedded Sharon, daughter of James Muller of Schenevus/Sharon Springs, NY. They bore two known daughters, Karen Elizabeth Miner and Sheri Marie Miner. In 1975, they dwelled on Shelton Avenue in Alexandria and by 1977 had relocated to Nazareth, PA.
  • Grandson T. Craig Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He was employed in 1975 by G & G Tresco in Petersburg, PA. On Valentine's Day 1976, he was united in the bonds of matrimony with Diane Marie Thompson ( ? - ? ) of Huntingdon and the daughter of George C. Thompson. Rev. Edward J. Hatchner officiated at the ceremony held in the Trinity Assembly of God Church in Huntingdon. In reporting on the wedding, the Huntingdon Daily News said that she "wore a white floor-length, princess seamed gown of polyester crepe, fashioned with a high neckline trimmed in lace, an empire waistline with a V of wide lance in the front and a double layer of wide lace at the hemline, puffed sleeves with small cuffs, trimmed in lace. Adding to her ensemble were the traditional something old, new, borrowed and blue. She also wore a handmade beaded necklace accented by a cross, a gift from the bridegroom's grandmother." At the time, Diane earned a living through her work at Arrow Shirt Company in Huntingdon.
  • Granddaughter Penelope Mae "Penny" Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was the mother of Timothy Brent "Timmy" Miner. In the early 1980s, she supported herself working as a waitress at Diner 22. On March 28, 1981, in nuptials held in the United Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, Penny married Robert Earle Freidenbloom of Martinsburg, PA. Rev. John Dean led the ceremony. Penny wore a "pink chiffon floor-length gown with a sheer pink lace cape," reported the Huntingdon Daily News. "She wore a white floppy hat and carried a bouquet of pink and white carnations." Robert was employed at the time as a truck driver for R.J. Glass.
  • Granddaughter Sharon Kay Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in marriage on New Year's Eve 1977, in Mount Union, PA, with Calvin Bruce Goodman, son of Harry Goodman Sr. of Alexandria, PA. A son born to this marriage was Calvin Bruce Goodman Jr. The couple lived in Petersburg, PA but divorced in August 1981, with the news printed in the Huntingdon Daily News.


Adam and Esther Erb

~ Daughter Esther (Miner) Erb ~

Daughter Esther Miner (1910-2001) was born in 1910.

She married Adam John "Buck" Erb (1910-1993), a native of Lewistown, Mifflin County, PA. 

The Erbs together became the parents of four -- Richard Eugene Erb, Joann Imler, Nancy Schreiner and Judith Seltzer. 

Esther was described as "a homemaker ... [who] enjoyed spending time with her family, reading the Bible and gardening." 

Adam, said a newspaper, "retired as a pipefitter from Pennsylvania Railroad in 1962, after 32 years' service."

After his retirement, Adam was employed at Imler's Poultry for 23 years, the family business of his son-in-law Fred Imler. They were members of Grace Brethren Church, Juniata, PA. The Erbs resided in Greenwood, PA in 1970 and in Florida in 1973. 

Adam died at age 83 on June 4, 1993. 

Esther outlived her husband by 18 years. She passed away on July 30, 2001, at age 91. At her death, she and Adam had produced 15 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. They sleep for the ages in Rose Hill Cemetery, Altoona.

Son Richard Eugene Erb (1931-2016) was born on Dec. 10, 1931 in Altoona. He attended Altoona Senior High School. On Dec. 14, 1948, he joined the U.S. Navy and trained at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. His service continued during the early years of the Korean War, as a member of the Sixth Fleet aboard the heavy cruiser USS Salem. His ship was deployed to the Mediterranean in 1950-1951, with stops in the ports of Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malta, Augusta, Palermo and Naples. Richard was united in matrimony with Dorothy ( ? - ? ). They became the parents of six -- Sue Erb, Kelly Erb, Kim Erb, Troy Erb, Rich Erb and Michael Erb. They put down stakes in the town of Richard's birth. He died at the age of 84 on May 19, 2016. His remains were laid to rest in Alto Reste Burial Park in Altoona. An obituary was printed in the Altoona Mirror. His survivors included nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

  • Granddaughter Sue Erb ( ? - ? )
  • Grandchild Kelly Erb ( ? - ? )
  • Grandchild Kim Erb ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Troy Erb ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Rich Erb ( ? - ? )
  • Grandson Michael Erb ( ? - ? )

Daughter Joann Ruth Erb (1933-2014) was born on Oct. 9, 1933 in Altoona. She was a 1951 graduate of Altoona High Scvhool. On April 5, 1952, at the age of 18, she wed Fred N. Imler Sr. ( ? - ? ) of the Imler Poultry Farm in Hollidaysburg, Blair County. The brood of offspring they bore together included daughter Nancy L. Morgan, Cheryl A. Davis, Fred N. Imler, II and Karen I. Hetrick. The Imlers planted themselves in Hollidaysburg and worked together in Imler's Poultry, a family-owned business. Joann enjoyed shopping and beach vacations was active with the Women's Auxiliary of Altoona's Grace United Church of Christ. She  also held a membership in the Dorcas Temple, Daughters of the Nile, Jobel Court, Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America, Order of Eastern Star, Hollidaysburg YMCA Auxiliary (serving a term as president) and Altoona Women's Club. Joann died at home, surrounded by her family, at the age of 81 on Oct. 26, 2014. An obituary was printed in the Altoona Mirror. The headcount of her survivors was a dozen grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Rev. John Bonebreak led the funeral rties, with burial in Alto Reste Park Cemetery.

  • Granddaughter  Nancy L. Imler married Harry Morgan. They settled in Bartow, FL.
  • Granddughter Cheryl A. Davis has dwelled in Hollidaysburg.
  • Grandson Fred N. Imler, II located himself in Duncansville, PA.
  • Granddaughter Karen Imler entered into marriage with Barry Hetrick. The pair dwells in Hollidaysburg. 

Daughter Nancy Lou Erb ( ? - ? ) was born on (?). On Nov. 12, 1958, at the age of 19, she slipped away to Winchester, VA to wed 23-year-old German immigrant Klaus Fritz Schreiner (Nov. 15, 1935-2010). Rev. E.T. Clark, of the local Baptist Church, presided. Having been born in Pirmasens in the Rhineland-Palatinate, the son of Albert and Anneliese Schreider, Klaus had attended the German footwear design college Deutsche Schuhfachschule before migrating to Altoona in 1958, the year of their marriage. The couple's union endured over the span of a remarkable 51 years. Together, they produced a family of four -- Michael Schreiner, Heidi Vukov, Rodger Paul Schreiner and Eric Schreiner. He served in the U.S. Army. After the war, Klaus earned a living managing shoe factories including the Adidas plant in Kutztown. He also followed the fortunes of the Penn State University Nittany Lions sports teams. They made their home in Fleetwood, Berks County, PA. Sadly, burdened with leukemia at the age of 74, Klaus passed away on Aug. 11, 2010. His obituary and photograph were published in the Hanover (PA) Evening Sun, in which the family asked that any memorial conbributions be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A memorial service was held in Fleetwood's Church of God in Christ Mennonite. Interment was in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. As a widow, Nancy moved to Manheim, PA and was there in 2014.

  • Grandson Michael Schreiner married Janan and relocated to Deephaven, MN.
  • Granddaughter Heidi Schreiner tied the knot with Gary Vukov. They moved to Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • Grandson Rodger Paul Schreiner entered into marriage with Lori. The pair settled in Philomath, OR.
  • Grandson Eric Schreiner put down roots in Lititz, PA.

Daughter Judith Erb ( ? - ? ) was born on (?). She first was united in marriage with (?) Masson ( ? - ? ). Two children of this union were Jennifer Clair and Rob Masson. In time, she tied the marital knot with widower Irving "Irv" Seltzer (June 7, 1929-2021), whose first wife Joan (June 6, 1930-2002) had died in 2002. He was the son of Frank and Yetta (Applebaum) Seltzer and brought four adult stepchildren into the union -- Steven Seltzer, Michael Seltzer, Alion Seltzer and Alex Seltzer. They made their dwelling in Hollidaysburg and Duncansville, PA. Irv was an alumnus of Olney High School and Temple University, where he received a  bachelor's degree in business and public administration and a master's degree equivalency in economics and statistics. He and his first wife had moved to Altoona in 1954 and launched the Altoona Telephone Message Center.  

From 1951 to 1954, he was a U.S. Army Reservist and was elevated to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was employed over the years as chairman and chief executive of Modern Communications Corporation, Manpower Inc. of Altoona, Computications Management Corp., LeisuRentals, Inc. and Phonepower, Inc. In 1957, he was a founder of Mid-State Hearing Aid Center and is credited with introducing the Otarion Eyeglass hearing aid to the central Pennsylvania market. When he was 55 years of age, in 1984, he obtained a degree from the Delaware Law School and opened his own firm in Kennett Square, PA. After four years as a lawyer, he refocused his time and energy on his Altoona companies and became an instructor at the Altoona School of Commerce and a business management and statistics instructor at the Altoona branch campus of Penn State. He held a seat on the Penn State Altoona Downtown Advisory Board and, as a mediator, and active with the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators and Association for Conflict Resolution. He held terms as president of the Bellemead Civic Association, business manager of the Altoona Symphony, secretary of the Agudath Achim Congregation board, president of the Altoona Lodge of B’nai Brith. For 11 years, he belonged to the Altoona Jaycees and was named the 1966 Jaycee of the Year in 1966. When bestowed with the Pennsylvania Jaycees’ “Outstanding Americanism and Governmental Affairs award, it was presented by President Lyndon Baines Johnson at the White House. At one point they owned the The Columns, a six-story, onetime bank building on 11th Avenue. It eventually was sold to Local developer and contractor Chris Cook with the goal of using it as a banquet hall. Cook used the opportunity to buy Irv’s collection of hundreds of telephones, one made 150 years earlier. 

Irv's other accomplishments are legion – a 40 year member of the American Economic Association, chairman of the Greater Altoona Economic Development Corporation, president of the Altoona Duplicate Bridge Club, and board director of the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation, Allegheny Ridge Corporation and Blair County Arts Foundation. For more than six decades, he was a member of the Rotary Club of Altoona, club president, governor of District 735 and District 7360 and a Paul Harris Fellow. His additional activities and memberships included the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, Central Pennsylvania Health Services Corporation, Pennsylvania Association of Telephone Answering Services, Mid-East Telephone Answering Services, Atlantic States Telephone Answering Association, Associated Tele-messaging Services International, Pennsylvania Association of Radio Common Carriers, Association of Manpower Franchise Owners, Executive Service Corps of the Delaware Valley, Blair County Chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Blair County Community Endowment, Reserve Officers Association, Military Order of Army Officers, Telephone Collectors International and Antique Telephone Collectors Association. Death enveloped him on Jan. 8, 2021. His remains were laid to rest in Agudath Achim Cemetery. His obituary in the Altoona Mirror said he was "remembered as a Blair County businessman, Rotarian, philanthropist and leader."

  • Granddaughter Jennifer Masson wed Stephen Clair. They established a home in Beacon, NY.  
  • Grandson Rob Masson settled in Ballston Spa, NY.


The landmark "Horseshoe Curve" of the Pennsylvania Railroad

~ Daughter Mabel (Miner) O'Connell Hewitt ~


Mabel Miner

Daughter Mabel Miner (1913-2004) was born in 1913.

She first was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Eugene O'Donnell ( ? - ? ).

The family resided in Altoona and produced three children -- Dolores Oppel, David "Rusty" O'Donnell and James E. O'Donnell. 

Said a newspaper, she "was a licensed practical nurse at the former Hollidaysburg State Hospital psychiatric ward. She attended Calvary Baptist Church. She enjoyed making fudge and giving it away, planting flowers and crocheting." 


Obituary, 2004

In time, she married again to Samuel Hewitt ( ? - ? ). Their address in 1969 was 1811 10th Avenue, Altoona. 

Mabel passed away on Nov. 6, 2004, and is buried in Grandview Cemetery.

Daughter Dolores O'Donnell (1933-2020) was born on Nov. 12, 1933. In 1950, at the age of about 17, she was joined in wedlock with Lorren A. Oppel (Aug. 23, 1929-2020), originally from McVeytown and the son of Paul and Bernice (Gearhart) Oppel. Their union endured for an extraordinary 70 years until cleaved apart by death. Together, they produced seven offspring -- Patricia Lambert, Laurie J. Oppel, Richard L. Oppel, David P. Oppel, George A. Oppel, Steven J. Oppel and Todd M. Oppel. The family made a residence in Scotch Valley, PA. Lorren earned a living for 44 years as a truck driver employed by PJAX Trucking. They held a membership in Juniata Valley Gospel Church, and he liked to farm and raise animals in his spare time. After raising the children, Dolores volunteered her time in organizing libraries in the Hollidaysburg Elementary Schools. She was nicknamed the "Laundry Queen" and liked to cook and read. Lorren was burdened for many years with disease of the heart and kidneys. Sadly at the age of 91, Lorren died in UPMC Altoona on Nov. 14, 2020. Dolores only outlived her husband by a month-and-a-half. From the effects of hearty disease and breast cancer, she surrendered to the angel of death at age 87 on the day after Christmas 2020, also in UPMC Altoona. Obituaries provided a headcount of their survivors as 51 grandchildren.

  • Granddaughter Patricia A. Oppel wed Richard Lambert. They established a home in Texas. 
  • Granddaughter  Laurie J. Oppel married Patrick Hurley. They have dwelled in Tennessee. 
  • Grandson Richard L. Oppel entered into marriage with Mary Jo. The pair put down roots in Danville, PA. 
  • Grandson David P. Oppel was united in wedlock with Deborah. Circa 2020, they were in Duncansville, PA. 
  • Grandson George A. Oppel was joined in matrimony with Anita. They migrated to Delaware. 
  • Grandson Steven J. Oppel wed Allyson. The pair has made a residence in Hollidaysburg, PA. 
  • Grandson Todd M. Oppel tied the knot with Leann. They lived in Altoona in 2020.

Son David "Rusty" O'Donnell (1945-2016) was born in 1945 in Altoona. He was a 1963 graduate of Altoona High School and then enlisted in U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He trained as a communications specialist and served from 1964 to 1968, including a term aboard the USS Intrepid. He tied the marital knot with Sherrie ( ? - ? ). After his return home, he became employed with the Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) as a water laboratory technician in Altoona and helped create the local plant's emergency medical technician response group. At some point he was transferred to Indiana, PA. David also grew a handlebar mustache which became his trademark. He provided voluntary, emergency-related service to his community beginning in 1973, holding leadership positions with Civil Defense, Emergency Management Agency, Citizens Ambulance Service and the Hazardous Materials Team, Team 900. He also joined the Indiana County Amateur Radio Club in 1976 and continued with this organization for 32 years, assisting in disaster response in the region. He loved to fly model airplanes and belonged to the Indiana Flyers Club. David and Sherrie eventually divorced, and she remained in Indiana. For decades, he was burdened with Parkinson's Disease, and toward the end went to live near his daughter in Edgewater, MD. He died there on June 1, 2016. A memorial service was held at Rustic Lodge in Indiana.

  • Granddaughter Stephanie O'Donnell (1976- ? ) was born in 1976. She married Marc Galiber. She is the mother of three -- Zachery "Zack" David, Andrew Allen and Annabella "Bella" Galliber. As of 2016, the Galibers dwelled in Edgewater, MD.

Son James E. O'Donnell ( ? - ? ) was deceased by 2016.


~ Daughter Ruth Naomi (Miner) Hawbecker Plank ~

Daughter Ruth Naomi Miner (1919-2012) was born on Aug. 2, 1919 in Homer's Gap near Altoona, PA.

She was twice married, first to Alton Lawrence Hawbecker ( ? - ? ), son of Bessie B. Hawbecker of Altoona  Their wedding was held in Kernstown, VA on July 20, 1941, by the hand of Rev. Dettra of the Church of the Brethren. In announcing the marriage, the Altoona Tribune said Ruth's sister Mabel and Alton's brother William were their attendants at the "quiet service."

Later, in about March 1957, the 36-year-old Ruth tied the knot with 31-year-old James Draucker Plank II ( ? -1987), a native of Philipsburg, PA. News of the marriage license was published in the Norfolk Ledger-Star.

The Altoona Mirror said she "had the honor of being a Navy wife for 30 years."

Ruth was the mother of five children -- Gwendolyn H. Stace, Catherine C. Hayslett, James D. Plank III, Cathy Sartor and Moletha Plank. 

During World War II, Ruth served as a junior mechanic at Fort Indiantown Gap. 

The Planks lived in Hawaii circa 1969, and resided in Virginia Beach in 1987.

Sadly, James died at the age of 61 on Sept. 7, 1987. His obituary was printed in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Ruth survived her husband by a quarter of a century. For more than two decades, she made her dwelling-place in Ocean View, VA and enjoyed traveling. In 2010-2012, she made her home in Clare Bridge, VA. 

Ruth passed away on Feb. 16, 2012, the last of her siblings. She was survived by 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. An obituary in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot cited the scripture verse Proverbs 31:29: "Many women have done excellently but you surpass them all."

Daughter Gwendolyn H. married Jack Stace. Their home in 1987 was in Virginia Beach.

Daughter Catherine C. wed (?) Hayslett. She dwelled in Woodbridge, VA in the late 1980s. 

Son James Draucker Plank III was joined in wedlock with Sarah. He was in Woodbridge in 1987. Then in 1988, he petitioned to adopt Travis Aaron Sams, son of Sarah Gayle Plank and Gary Edward Blankenship, and for the child to be thereafter known as Travis Aaron Plank.

Daughter Cathy entered into marriage with Charles Sartor. They were in Nashville, TN at the birth of their daughter Leilani Marie and in Newport, News, VA in 1987.

  • Granddaughter Leilani Marie Sartor was born in Nashville. She was a 1989 alumna of Bethel Christian School in Hampton, VA, having studied Bible and English, and was selected by the World Wide New Testament Baptist Church to assist missionaries in Ponpheni, Micronesia.  She was pictured in a related 1989 story in the Newport News Daily Press.

Daughter Moletha Plank lived in Virginia Beach in the late 1980s. She is believed to have been employed by the City of Norfolk circa 2021 in public safety.


Will and Hattie's adult children, 1956

~ Daughter Elizabeth Florence (Miner) Mansell ~

Daughter Elizabeth Florence Miner (1915-1994) was born in 1915.

She was united in matrimony with Walter Roy Mansell Sr. (April 3, 1917- ? ), originally from Philipsburg, PA. He stood 6 feet tall and weighed 150 lbs.

The couple's five offspring were Barbara Ann Eden Christensen, Joyce Girdley, Jane Spadafino, Walter R. Mansell and James F. Mansell. . 

Walter had come to Altoona from Seattle, WA, where he had lived in 1935. As of 1940, he earned a living as a sheet metal worker in the Altoona shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Their addresses in the late 1930s and early 1940s was 709 Fourth Avenue followed by 1211 29th Avenue. Walter is known to have served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and the family may have relocated during that time to Jackson Heights, Long Island, NY. 

Their marriage dissolved by 1950, and that year, Elizabeth was a single mother heading a household of five children as shown in the federal census enumeration. Their home that year was on Fourth Avenue, Altoona.

Elizabeth resided in the Bronx, New York City in 1969 and then in New Jersey in the early 1980s. She relocated to the Tampa area of Florida in 1983 and remained for good. Her residence in 1994 was in Largo. 

Elizabeth passed away in Largo Medical Center at the age of 78 on March 22, 1994. An obituary in the Tampa Tribune said she was survived by 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Ex-husband Walter surrendered to the angel of death on Oct. 24, 1985. 

Daughter Barbara Ann Mansell (1938-2004) was born in about 1938 and grew up in Altoona, PA. She appears to have been twice-wed. Her first spouse was (?) Eden. Together, they bore a trio of sons -- Mario A. Eden, William M. Eden and Walter R. Eden. Later, she married (?) Christensen. Her dwelling-place in the the 1970s was in the Bronx, NY and then in about 1978 moved to the west coast of Florida. In the mid-1990s, she dwelled in Largo and in 2004 made a residence in Port Richey. She died at home at the age of 67 on Nov. 27, 2004. An obituary appeared in the Tampa Bay Times.

  • Grandson Mario A. Eden was in Port Richey, FL in 2004.
  • Grandson William M. Eden has made his home in Port Richey.
  • Grandson Walter R. Eden dwelled in St. Petersburg, FL in 2004.

Daughter Joyce Mansell (1941- ? ) was born in about 1941. She entered into marriage with (?) Girdley. She was in Clinton, NJ in 1994 and in Tampa in 2004. 

Daughter Jane Mansell (1942- ? ) was born in about 1942. She wed (?) Spadafino. They put down roots in Brooksville.

Son Walter R. Mansell (1943- ? ) was born in about 1943. He was in Largo, FL in 1994 and in Clearwater, FL in 2004.

Son James F. Mansell (1945- ? ) was born in about 1945. 


Copyright © 2002-2005, 2011-2012, 2014, 2020 Mark A. Miner and Craig Adams

Craig Adams, Linda (Miner) Brian and Donna (Miner) Brunner have provided valuable content for this biography.