Florence Marie Koontz, my grandmother, was born on 18 May 1895, to Casmear (call me C.P.) and Phebie Ann Gardner Koontz in Columbus, Ohio. She was the third, and youngest, daughter, as the next two children were both her younger brothers (William and Henry). Grandma was the first of the Koontz children born in Columbus. Her older sisters, Essie and Ethel were both born in Ligonier, Noble Co, Indiana, where both the Koontz and Gardner families had settled. C.P. and Phebie struck out “back East” to Ohio to set up their furniture store (C.P. was a cabinet maker by trade). The store remained in the family until Phebie’s death in 1935.
Grandma was the first girl in her family to be given the opportunity to finish High School — where she completed a Technical and Commercial course of study at the High School of Commerce in Columbus and received her diploma on 18 June 1914. (I have that diploma)
As appeared earlier in this blog, the Koontz and Weaver families were close and the children, Lee Weaver and Florence Koontz, became very close. The two married on 27 April 1918. The family lived in Detroit their entire married life (over 50 years) and raised two daughters, Leila and Jmae.
Florence Koontz Weaver was a fanatic about the proper way to weave cane for chair seats. This resulted from time spent by her father, C. P., in the Ohio State Prison near Columbus, Ohio. Of course, Florence was very quick to point out whenever she was reminded of this that he was there only to learn how to cane. He came home every night. This was a method to expand his skills as a cabinet maker, which was his trade. It was this method of weaving the cane that Florence as so fanatic about. She used to say that the methods taught in the “How To ” books resulted in a rough seat, but, if you used her father’s method, a smooth, snag free seat resulted. She spent hours with me as a child teaching me this process as I worked on caning a chair that had belonged to her mother-in-law.
Florence was the counterpoint of Lee’s social butterfly. She was reserved and had to be coaxed into a social situation. But, once there, she had a very good sense of humor and could take kidding very well. With Lee as a husband this last trait was a necessity. One of the central points of Lee’s kidding was on the date on their wedding license – the eight in the 1918 was hastily written and could be taken for a nine. (I also have this document and can back Grandpa on this) This was not a major problem until the audience realized that their elder daughter, Leila, was born in October of 1919. One aspect of this kidding also centered around the fact that Florence carried the marriage license in her purse. She never really explained the reason for this.
Grandma passed away on 4 June 1981 and was buried next to Grandpa in Acacia Park Cemetery in Oakland Co, Michigan.