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The Story of Katherine Gay

Rarely do we find the face of the author or subject of letters here on Flea Market Love Letters. If our amateur sleuthing can be trusted, this yearbook photo from 1936 could very likely be the Katherine Gay of the letter series.




Katherine Gay was born as Francis Katherine Gay on November 1st in 1918 to Robert and Delia Gay, nee Reed.


In 1930, Katherine was found living with Robert, Delia and her younger siblings Robert Jr. and Neil. Robert is listed as Manager at the Real Estate Coal Co. Interestingly, the Census tells us that Robert was a Veteran of "WW", or of the World War.



In 1940, she was found to be living indeed at 1707 Milford Street in Houston, Texas. There's very little information to be had about Katherine's generally -- there is no employment for herself, or any relative beside Robert Sr.


It appears that somewhere between 1940 and 1950, Katherine marries and changes her last name to Barnard. Katherine's husband James Lawrence Barnard was born on August 11, 1917 in Chorpus Christi. His parents were William and Eleanor Barnard. James was the middle brother of three sons between William Jr. and Cornell.



In 1920 William Sr. is listed as having no occupation, and curiously his wife Eleanor is not listed on the household census. However, she can be found in the 1930 Census.


In the 1930 Census, when James is 11 his father is listed as a Physician.

Meanwhile, in 1930 Katherine at the age of 9 moves to Puerto Rico with her family. Records indicate that they return to the U.S. in 1935.


In October of 1940, James enlists in the U.S. Navy at the age of 23, as 6'1 with 210 lbs and brown eyes with black hair. His occupation is listed as a Medical College Student. In 1943, James and Katherine have their first son James Lawrence Barnard Jr. In 1946, they welcome their second son William Robert Barnard (who would pass away in 2004). This indicates that they likely married sometime in 1941 or 1942, possibly while James on leave from his war responsibilities.


In 1946, Katherine and James are found to be living in Corpus Christi, TX -- as can be seen in this City Directory.



It seems that Katherine passes away in December 2008 at the age of 90. Her husband, James preceeds her in June of 2005.

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