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Venetta Pearl (Minerd) 
McLaughlin Sawyer


Venetta Pearl (Minerd) Sawyer was born on March 2, 1900 in Fayette County, PA, the daughter of Andrew and Anna (Kissinger) Minerd

At the age of 16, on Nov. 28, 1916, Venetta married 22-year-old George A. McLaughlin Sr. (1894-1934), son of Sam and tillie (Johnston) McLaughlin, and a native of Tyler, Texas. They eloped and were joined in matrimony at Wellsburg, Brooke County, WV. She fibbed and gave her age as 21 on the marriage license. 

They had three children -- Herschel Donald McLaughlin, Lillian "Betty" Debes Ruble and George A. McLaughlin Jr.

When the federal census was taken in 1920, the McLaughlins made their home on Hazelwood Avenue in Pittsburgh. George was employed as an optician in an optical firm. 

By 1930, the growing family made its home along Pine Creek Road in Franklin Park, near Wexford, Allegheny County. George Sr.'s occupation was as clerk for B. Dale Dickson's grocery store in Ingomar.

Heartache rocked the family when George was afflicted with acute lobar pneumonia right before Christmas 1934. He died on Dec. 30, 1934 at the age of 38. Burial was in Richland Cemetery, with funeral arrangements handled by Brandt Funeral Home in Perrysville.

Later, Venetta wed Harry P. Sawyer (1908-1972), the son of John and Julia Sawyer of Pine Township in Pittsburgh's North Hills. She was eight years younger than her husband. 

They bore one son of their own, Harry E. Sawyer.

For many years, the Sawyers resided at 308 Pine Road, in the Ingomar community of Pittsburgh's North Hills. Harry was the proprietor of Sawyer and Son.

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1950, Venetta and Harry and son Harry lived in McCandless, with Harry employed as an operating engineer with a heavy construction company. 

Harry suffered a heart attack and was admitted to North Hills Passavant Hospital, where he died at age 64 on Aug. 15, 1972. An obituary in the North Hills News Record noted that he was survived by a dozen grandchildren.

Venetta outlived her husband by more than seven years. 

She passed away on Nov. 6, 1979, at the age of 79. Following funeral services at Brandt Funeral Home in Perrysville, she was laid to rest with her husband at Allegheny County Memorial Park, next to her mother and brother Hershell Minerd.


~ Son Herschel Donald McLaughlin ~

Son Herschel Donald McLaughlin (1918-1967) was born on Jan. 24, 1918 and was named for his mother's brother.

Herschel stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall in young manhood and weighed 138 lbs., with blue eyes and black hair. 

Unmarried at age 21, in 1940, he lived at home with his mother and stepfather in Franklin Park/Wexford. That year, he was required to register for the military draft, and disclosed that he was employed as a laborer at Spang Chalfant & Co., Inc., an iron and steel manufacturer in nearby Etna and Ambridge.

Herschel went on to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II, with a motor pool unit, achieving the rank of corporal. 

In about 1953, he relocated to Tyler, Smith County, TX. There, he earned a living as a barber and remained for the final 14 years of his life. His employer in 1967 was Jules of Europe.

He married Laine Heffington ( ? - ? ). She brought three presumed stepchildren into the second union, Robert Heffington, Mrs. H.M. Mills and Mrs. Robert Walker.

Their address in the mid-1960s was 434 Parkdale in Tyler. Herschel belonged to the American Legion and the Trinity Lutheran Church.

Just two days before Christmas 1967, while at work, the 49-year-old Herschel was stricken by a heart attack. He was rushed to the Medical Center in Tyler, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. On his official Texas certificate of death, his mother's maiden name was spelled as "Vanitta Minor." Burial was in Rose Hill Cemetery, Tyler., with Rev. Karl W. Brockhaus leading the funeral service. An obituary was published in the Tyler Courier-Timesand the Shreveport (LA) Times.

Stepson Robert Heffington ( ? - ? ) was in Tyler, TX in 1967.

Stepdaughter (?) Heffington ( ? - ? ) married H.M. Mills ( ? - ? ). They moved to Houston.

Stepdaughter (?) Heffington ( ? - ? ) wed Robert Walker ( ? - ? ). The Walkers dwelled in Tulsa in 1967.


~ Son George A. McLaughlin Jr. ~

Son George A. McLaughlin Jr. (1922- ? ) was born in about 1922.

He grew up in Franklin Park in the North Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh. He attended Tyler Commercial College in Texas.

On Aug. 20, 1949, when he was about 27 years of age, George entered into marriage with Wanda June Hogue ( ? - ? ), daughter of W.P. "Willie" and Nadine Hogue of State Park Road in Tyler. The wedding was held in the residence of Wanda's parents, led by Rev. Jack Bridges. The Tyler Courier-Times reported that Wanda "chose a Kelly green gabardine suit with cocoa accessories. Her corsage was of white carnations." She was an alumna of Tyler High School and then had attended Tyler Junior College and Tyler Commercial College. 

The couple together produced one known son, George Allan McLaughlin. 

Their home in 1951 was 519 West Shaw in Tyler. The pair divorced in Tyler in July 1963, as reported in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

George remained in Tyler. Wanda lived at 1602 Belmont Drive in Tyler in the early 1970s and in Longview, TX in 1976.

Son George Allan McLaughlin (1950- ? ) was born in Sept. 1950. At age seven months, he was pictured in the Tyler Courier-Times.


~ Daughter Lillian "Betty" (McLaughlin) Debes Ruble ~

Daughter Lillian Betty McLaughlin ( ? - ? ) was born in (?).

She first was united in holy wedlock with Earl William Debes (July 8, 1919-1967), son of William C. and Ella (Martin) Debes.

They became the parents of two -- Earl William Debes Jr. and Cheri Kelley.  

Circa 1940, the couple lived in Wexford, with Earl employed by H.C. Stevens in the Frick Annex building at the corner of Grant and Diamond Streets in Pittsburgh. 

Earl was drafted into the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. He joined the Army on Sept. 7, 1944 and served with the 8th Infantry, Company F. He received his honorable discharge on June 30, 1946.

Betty was a member of the Women's Social Club of Ingomar in the early 1960s. The couple divorced in August 1964 as noted on the pages of the Pittsburgh Press.

Circa 1967, using the "Debes" name, her residence was in Washington, DC, while Earl remained in Wexford with a home along Brandt School Road and earned a living as a salesman. 

In time, she was joined in matrimony with Victor Ruble ( ? - ? ).

The Rubles made their residence in St. Petersburg, FL in the early 1970s.

Betty passed away at the age of 86, in St. Petersburg, on Aug. 8, 2009. A brief obituary in the Tampa Bay Times said she was survived by six grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Former husband Earl Debes, suffering from hardening of the arteries and heart disease, became seriously ill on Dec. 30, 1967. He was rushed to Allegheny General Hospital where he was pronounced dead n arrival at the age of 48, in the early morning hours of New Year's Eve. His remains were laid to rest in Ridgelawn Cemetery in Reserve Township near Pittsburgh. A death notice was printed in the Pittsburgh Press.

Son Earl William Debes Jr. (1941- ? ) was born in Nov. 1941. He grew up in Wexford along Brandt School Road. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Circa 1963, he was with the Third Battalion of the 8th Marine Regiment and posted in the Caribbean on a training mission to maintain efficiency of the amphibious strike force of the Navy and Marines. He was pictured on Feb. 6, 1963 in the North Hills News Record. On June 1, 1963, in a ceremony held in Hagerstown, MD, he entered into marriage with 18-year-old Karen A. Morrah (April 1945- ? ) of Jeannette, Westmoreland County, PA. Officiating their wedding was Rev. Charles P. Bullard, assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hagerstown. At least one son born into this family was William Earl Debes. The Debeses made their home in 1993 in High View, Hampshire County, WV. 

  • Grandson William Earl Debes ( ? - ? ) was an alumnus of Northeast High School and in 1993 served with the U.S. Navy as a petty officer. On June 12, 1993, in the First United Methodist Church of St. Petersburg, FL, he was joined in wedlock with Heather Noelle Manning ( ? - ? ), daughter of Robert L. and Linda J. Manning. Heather was a graduate of St. Petersburg High School and then studied at St. Petersburg Junior College. The newlyweds' first home was in Norfolk, VA. 

Daughter Cheri Debes ( ? - ? ) wed (?) Kelley ( ? - ? ). 


~ Son Harry E. Sawyer ~

Son Harry E. Sawyer (1938- ? ) was born in about 1938. 

He grew up in Pittsburgh's McCandless Township section.

He apparently was married twice -- first to Wilma E. King ( ? - ? ), daughter of William J. King of Pittsburgh. They were wed on Oct. 8, 1962, at the St. Henry Roman Catholic Church in Pittsburgh. Wilma was pictured in a story about the wedding in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. At the time of marriage, Harry was a partner with his father in Sawyer and Son, while Wilma worked at Screw and Bolt Corporation of America.

They lived at one time 5900 Babcock Boulevard, and were members of St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church near the intersection of McKnight Road and Siebert Road in Ross Township.

Harry's second wife was Esther (Watson) Dyer ( ? - ? ), daughter of Fred and Esther Catherine (Shook) Watson of Bellevue, near Pittsburgh. She was a 1959 graduate of Bellevue High School and worked as a dispatcher for the Bellevue police department.

Esther had been married before and brought three stepchildren into the second union -- James Dyer, Robert Dyer and Denise Schmidt. 

Harry and Esther went on to bear two more daughters together -- Yvonne Michelle Barie and Diane Carol Ireland.  

In 1974, Harry was employed as an engineer with the Penn Central Railroad.

Their address circa 1976 was 130 Hillvue Lane in McCandless and in 1980 was 308 Pine Road. Evidence suggests that the couple divorced. 

Esther spent her final years in Bellevue and died at the age of 83 on April 27, 2022. Her obituary did not mention Harry or his children from the first marriage.

Daughter Yvonne Michelle Sawyer (1974- ? ) was born in about 1974. She entered into marriage with (?) Barie ( ? - ? ). They are believed to be the parents of Callia Barie and Calvin Barie.

Daughter Diane Carol Sawyer (1976- ? ) was born in 1976 in North Hills Passavant Hospital. News of her birth was printed in the North Hills News Record. She was united in the bonds of matrimony with (?) Ireland ( ? - ? ). The couple produced one known daughter, Rhys Ireland. 


Copyright 2001, 2009, 2016, 2020 Mark A. Miner