Gary Lee’s Birthday Party, 8 Years Old in 1944 – Fun Photo Going Home

Here is another photo discovered in an antique shop in Show Low, Arizona.

The back of the photo is labeled, although no location is mentioned, and I suspected that with three sets of siblings, I could probably find these families. I did! They all lived in Kansas.

In the back row, we have:

Kenneth Mills
Calvin Phillips
Vernon Mills
Bennie Phillips
Gary Phillips

In the front row, we have:

Ronald Howard
Robert Howard

Then written along side those names in the front, with no surnames, we have Gary, Donnie and Gerald. A bit of research found that Gary, the middle child in the front row, was the birthday celebrant, Gary Lee Howard. His birthday was August 27, 1944 and it fell on a Sunday that year, so this picture may well have been taken on that exact day.

After a bit of sleuthing, it turns out that only one of the Mills children is still living and one of the Phillips children is also still living. I haven’t found out who Donnie is and the various Howards appear to be cousins, but all the Howard children have passed away.

Kenneth and Vernon Mills were sons of Warren Hamilton Mills and Susie Ireland. In 1940, they lived in Comanche County, Kansas. The other children all seem to have ties in Sumner County, Kansas, so it’s possible that the Mills family lived in Sumner County by 1944.

The three Phillips boys, Calvin, Bennie and Gary, were sons of Frank William and Ruby Phillips and lived in Pratt County, Kansas in 1940, but later lived in Sumner County. These counties are all along the southern state border in the middle section of Kansas. All these families farmed and seemed to have rented land.

Ronald Eldon and Robert W. Howard were children of Wayne C. and Adenia Howard and lived in Sumner County, Kansas in 1940. Ronald was born 1940 and died 12 January 1989. Robert W. was born 21 May 1936 and died on 20 May 2017.

Their cousins were Gary Lee Howard and Gerald Duane Howard. Sadly, Gerald, the young boy on the far right front row, born 5 November 1940, died at the age of 8 on 24 May 1949.

Gary Lee Howard was born 27 August 1936 and died on 26 May 2007. He married Patricia Boone, who predeceased him.

How this photograph ended up in Show Low is a total mystery. However, this young birthday boy left descendants and this photo commemorating his 8th birthday has gone home to one of them. 🙂




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