Doyle, (Aunt Verne) Catherine Veronica
- Born: 22 Jul 1902, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
- Marriage: Crimmins, James Albert on 14 Jun 1930
- Died: 22 Apr 1994, Detroit, Michigan USA
Catherine Veronica (Verne) born to the Doyles on July 22nd, 1902. She was baptized in The Church of Our Lady on Aug 3rd, and her sponsors were her mother's first cousin, Michael P. Lynch and her father's sister, Ellen Doyle. She went to Downey's School and then to Loretto Academy, Guelph, graduating in 1920. When she first went to Detroit with her sisters, Josephine and Marie, she worked in an office, but then chose nursing as a profession and graduated from Providence Hospital as a Registered Nurse on May 13th, 1926.
Aunt Verne married James Albert Crimmins on June 14th, 1930 and they had three children - Maureen Ann, who was born on April 9th, 1931; Rosemary Theresa, who was born on Feb 24th, 1934; and Thomas Alien, who was born on September 22nd, 1940. Uncle Jim (James Crimmins), was the person who introduced my Mom and Dad to each other. At the time he was a Regional Sales Manager for Magic Chef Stoves in Detroit and did business with the Detroit Natural Gas Company. He met my Dad, while he was working for the Detroit Natural Gas Company and introduced him to Mom. I believe this took place in late 1939 or early 1940. If it wasn’t for Uncle Jim, the Meehan family that I am writing about would not have started in June of 1942. Uncle Jim would for Magic Chef Stoves until the early 1950's when the family moved to Chicago. After he died on May 26th, 1957, Verne took a refresher course in nursing in Detroit and went back to work since she was an excellent nurse. She bought her parent's home, 14010 Rutherford, and lived there until she retired to Sarasota, Florida. Aunt Verne died on April 22nd, 1994.
Aunt Verne became part of my life after I came back from Germany in 1953. I have no doubt that she was one of the Aunts who spoiled me as a baby just after I was born, but my memory of her starts in 1956. This was the summer that was spent in Canada on the farm with the Clair’s. I was living in Virginia at Ft. Belvoir where my Dad was stationed at the time. My parents put me on a plane around Midnight and I arrived in Detroit around 3:00 pm. Aunt Jo and Cousin Judy, who you will meet later, picked me up. After spending two days with Aunt Jo and Cousin Judy I moved in with Aunt Verne. Uncle Jim was still living and it appeared they had a party about every night I was with them, which probably might I was there on a Friday and Saturday night. I can remember all the relatives drinking and have a great time. I believe this was the first time I remember meeting a lot of my Detroit relatives. Everyone was having a great time. I can remember Cousin Louise Clair being at the party and my first impression was WOW. She was so friendly, and yet she radiated with what I call the “I” factor. “I” stand’s for Intelligence. I remember Cousin Judy Matson being at the party and I thought she was the cutest gal I had ever seen. Cousin Jerry Seitz, Maureen Seitz husband, was there and he came across as person with a lot of confidence and a dominate personality. Without a doubt, everyone treated me as if I was the honored guest, which I probably was at the time.
Later in life, I remember a story that Grandma Clare Meehan told me of Uncle Jim Crimmins. The story took place in 1943 or 1944. Uncle Jim was in Denison, Iowa for some reason, which was not disclosed. It was during World War II and the whole county was on food rations due to the war. Grandma Clare wanted to fix a fantastic dinner for the occasion, but did not have meat or the ration coupons for meat. Uncle Jim went up to one of the local stores and bought steaks for everyone. Grandma Clare told the story as if he had turned water into wine. Anyway, my impression of Uncle Jim was that he could sell anything to anyone; you might say he invented the word “Salesmanship”.
In 1956, I spent my summer with them in Detroit and Guelph. After a few days in Detroit we headed across the Detroit River into Canada. Aunt Verne and Cousin Tom Crimmins drove the 200 miles between Detroit and Guelph, Ontario Canada. Cousin Tom was almost 16 at the time and really was a work horse on the farm. My impression has been that Aunt Verne had closure tires to the Clair’s in Canada than any other of the relatives. I noticed that she attended several of the funerals. There was another party (maybe it was a going away party for us) at Uncle Jim’s and Aunt Verne’s home. There were other young kids at the party and we were playing hide and seek. I hide in the hall closet and only found out when I was trying to get out that the door would not open from the inside. After several minutes of screaming, someone hear my calls for help and opened the door. Needless to say I was not a very happy camper by the time they got me out.
In 1960 and 1961 when my parents died, Aunt Verne came to the funerals and helped Maureen and I get over the hurt and devastation caused by the lost of your parents. In the summer of 1961, Robert Nichols (classmate from Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, VA) and I drove from Virginia to Iowa after my folks died and we stopped in Detroit to drop off Aunt Gert, who had spent the last 30 days living with me in Woodbridge, Virginia. We stayed at my old home, 14010 Rutherford, but were wined and dined by the relatives the whole time we were in Detroit. Aunt Verne, Cousin Maureen and Jerry Seitz took us over to Jerry’s cabin on Lake Erie in Canada. Robert and I met in 2002 for the first time in 41 years and he wrote the following letter concerning our trip.
“And what a trip it was. June, 1961. Your '55 Chevy, a few bucks in our jeans and-once we deposited your Detroit aunt and met all your good people there-the Grosse Pointe aunt, the football player cousin-in-law, the bachelor beer-drinking uncles, the relative with a cabin out on Lake Erie-it was the open road clear to Denison, Iowa! Not bad, especially when you add the side trip we made up to Guelph and Hamilton, Canada, your cousin’s farm and your police lady cousin-we should have driven the extra miles from Hamilton down to Niagara Falls, it took me another thirty years to get back up there.”
My next memory of Aunt Verne Crimmins was in the summer of 1963. I attended the University of Detroit one summer in conjunction with my studies at Loras College. This time I stayed with her and Aunt Gert, who you will meet later. Again, they did everything possible to make me feel special. Aunt Verne always had a way of making me feel like I was the only one who was important in her life. No matter how busy she might be, Aunt Verne always made me feel special. This was also the summer that Cousin Jerry Seitz took me to my first strip club. It was also the summer that Detroit had their worst race riots, which took place near the campus of the University of Detroit. This was when I learned that you could only believe 20% of what you see in the newspaper. According to the Newspaper the area around the University of Detroit was totally destroyed. I can tell you that there were problems but not to the extent shown in the news. Aunt Gert’s home was only a short distance from the campus and based on the news articles, her home should have been totally destroyed and it wasn’t.
In 1964, I drove back with another close friend from Loras College (Andy Northern). Andy was dating a girl in Chicago so I dropped him off and went on to Detroit. I stayed with Aunt Verne and can remember us talking the morning I left for hours about the relatives, loves and desires. Aunt Verne was a very good listener. There were several other visits, but what I remember most about Aunt Verne was her friendly personality, ability to listen and her ability to make be feel good about yourself. I guess the best thing I can say about Aunt Verne is the fact that she made me feel loved. Aunt Verne, I love you also.
In December 1967, Aunt Verne and Susan Seitz, Maureen Seitz daughter, took the bus all the way from Detroit to Dyersville, Iowa to attend my wedding to Jeanne Marie Drexler Meehan. It was the middle of winter and Aunt Verne was sick with the flu, but she still made the trip. Looking over the records, I suspect Aunt Verne might have attend more weddings and funerals than any of the other Doyle relatives.
In 1968, Aunt Verne held a graduation party at 14010 Rutherford for Maureen Meehan Stary, when she graduated from high school. This was the same home that where I lived from 1943 to 1946.
In 1992, the Crimmin’s family held a fantastic celebration for Aunt Verne’s 90th birthday. It was held at Paul Seitz home in Southfield, Michigan. Someone had brought a motor cycle to the party and I heard that Aunt Verne actually rode on it. At the time, Grandma Clare Meehan was sick and we only spent a few hours at the party, since we had to get home to Grandma Clare Meehan. During that time I can remember the Clair’s and everyone else stopping by our table to say Hi and again making us feel welcome.
Verne Crimmins in 1992 on her 90th Birthday Party
(Aunt married James Albert Crimmins on 14 Jun 1930. (James Albert Crimmins died on 26 May 1957.)