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Pearl (Stairs) Hence 
Sines Sonavec


Pearl Nora (Stairs) Hence Sines Sonavec was born on Nov. 24, 1904 in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA, the daughter of Lehman G. and Mattie (Minerd) Stairs. She and her brother Earl were twins, and their names rhymed.

Pearl apparently gave birth in 1919 with a man named Hence (or "Hense"). 

Their son was named "William Hence."

The 1920 U.S. Census shows Pearl living at home with her parents. The son's location that year is not known.

In 1925, Pearl married Theodore Sines (1899- ? ). Nothing about him is known.

Pearl bore a son, Edward Lee Stairs, in 1926.

By 1930, when she was age 25, Pearl was widowed, using the name "Hense" and living with her parents and 11-year-old son William on Diamond Street in Mount Pleasant. The whereabouts of son Edward that year are not known.


Main Street in Mount Pleasant



In September 1931, Pearl is known to have attended a 25th wedding anniversary reception for her cousin Alvin P. Thurston in Mount Pleasant. She was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church of Mount Pleasant.

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, Pearl and her son Edward lived with Pearl's twin brother Earl Stairs in Mount Pleasant. That year, she used the name "Stairs."

Later, on Dec. 10, 1942, at the age of 38, Pearl married 24-year-old Jacob Sonavec (1918-1974), son of Joseph and Mary Sonavec of Dawson, Fayette County. A veteran of World War II, he was a police officer, and was some 14 years younger than his bride. Their address in the early 1970s was 22 North Shupe Street in Mount Pleasant.

Jacob died at the age of 55 in Frick Community Hospital on June 30, 1974. Burial was in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Pearl outlived him by three years, and passed away at Frick Community Hospital in Mount Pleasant on Nov. 1, 1977.


~ Son William Hence ~

Son William Hence (1919- ? ) was born in 1919.

At the age of 11, in 1930, he and his mother lived with her parents in Mount Pleasant.

His fate is not known.


~ Son Edward Lee Stairs ~

Son Edward Lee Stairs (1926- ? ) was born in about 1926.

He and his widowed mother resided together in 1940 with Edward's uncle Earl Stairs in Mount Pleasant.

Edward served in the U.S. Navy for 19 months during World War II, stationed in the South Pacific. Later, after the war, he secured a job with Penn-Scott Foundries in Scottdale and joined the Mount Pleasant American Legion post.

On Nov. 13, 1948, at the age of about 22, he was married to Gertrude Ann Banaszak ( ? - ? ), daughter of Joseph Banaszak of 110 Maple Street in Everson. The nuptials were held at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church at Everson, with Rev. Anthony J. Politowski officiating, and with Sister Mary Fidelis and Sister Mary Sophia providing music. News of the wedding was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.

Prior to marriage, Gertrude was employed by the Scottdale Independent Observer as society editor.

The couple relocated to Detroit by 1952 and made a home at 2058 Hazelwood Avenue.

They produced three children, among them Jerome A. Stairs, Kathryn Howard and Yvonne Hicks.

Sadly, Edward passed away on March 20, 1985. A death notice in the Detroit Free Press reported that funeral services were held at St. Gabriel Catholic Church.

Gertrude outlived her spouse by 23 years and made her home in Dearborn Heights. She succumbed at the age of 83 on Dec. 5, 2008. Her funeral service, according to the Free Press, was held at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.

Son Jerome A. Stairs ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He was joined in wedlock with Mary.

Daughter Kathryn Stairs married (?) Howard.

Daughter Yvonne Stairs (1952- ? ) is believed to have been born on Nov. 14, 1952 in Detroit. By 1985, she was wedded to (?) Hicks. At the death of her mother in 2008, she had married again to Thomas Tadajewski ( ? - ? ).


Copyright 2001, 2003-2004, 2018 Mark A. Miner