Husband: Harry Poindexter Van Lear
Father: William H. Van Lear [R581]
Mother: Emma R. (Hepler) Van Lear [R581]
Born: 4/23/1886, in Highland County Va.
Died: 1/19/1961, buried in Mt. Horeb Church cemetery, Bath County

Wife: Katharine (Katie) Young (Wood) Van Lear
Father: Lewis E. Wood [R005]
Mother: Emma (Burger) Wood [R005]
Born: 7/18/1886, at “Wood home near Sitlington”
Died: 1/27/1963, buried in Mt. Horeb Church cemetery

Married: 9/1 or 2/1909, in Goshen Va. P. Swann, minister

Children (Fig. R554c):
Frank Wallace Van Lear, b. 9/4/1911, m. 1st Roberta Lucille Barrett
    (b. 6/8/1912) in Nashville Tenn., dau. Betty Jean (b. 1/28/1945, m.
    8/31/1968 to Sam Stokes Adair, Jr. [b. 9/22/1945], ch. Sam Stokes
    III [b. 9/22/1971], Allison Gaye [b. 9/10/1976], Ryan Van Lear [b.
    11/7/1977]). M. 2nd Margaret Allen, ~1969.
Margaret Louise Van Lear, b. 5/15/13, m. 8/12/1935 to Walter
    Russell Curfman (4/27/1898-12/3/1960). Ch. Katherine Van Lear
    (Kappy; b. 1/8/1937, m. John Fielding Foster, Jr.), Walter Russell,
    Jr. (Buzzy; b. 9/28/1945, m. Sandra Dressler).
Harry Poindexter (Jack) Van Lear, Jr., 10/3 or 4/1915-1/4/1988
Hunter Van Lear, b. 12/27/1919 [R601]

(1996) Louise Curfman [S143] tells me her mother, Kate Wood, had her trunk packed to go to nursing school, then had to unpack it when her parents (Lewis and Emma Wood) told her she was needed at home and couldn’t go. The following account is by Louise, with a few interjections from [S089].

“Our father, Harry Van Lear, grew up [near Nimrod Hall at the Van Lear place, tract C in Fig. R005b], but when he became about seventeen years old, since the only choices for occupation were farming, lumber cutting and hauling, or working on the railroad, which his other three brothers were doing, he decided to go to Covington, Va. to try to find work. He went to work as a clerk in Wills’ Drug Store where he evidently showed great potential, since Mr. Wills encouraged him to go to college and study pharmacy. He attended college in Richmond and became a certified pharmacist. He went back to Covington where he worked until he married Katherine Young Wood of Nimrod Hall... After they were married they lived in Hot Springs, Va., where he worked at the Homestead Hotel pharmacy.

“They were in Hot Springs a little over a year when they decided to move back to Covington. Frank and Louise were born in Covington. It is a wonder that I, Louise, arrived alive, since Mom had to have emergency surgery for acute appendicitis while I was in incubation, then in March of 1913 the Jackson River flooded. Water rose several inches on the first floor of their home and Mom and Frank had to be taken out in a boat. I was born in May, 1913. We lived in Covington several years then we moved to Roanoke Va. [by 8/1916], where Jack and Hunter were born. [June of] 1921 we moved back to Covington. It was in Covington at this time that Frank started his long and successful career as a salesman. He was about ten years old when he used to take newspapers to the railroad station, be there when the C&O train #4 stopped to allow passengers to change to the auxiliary line going to Hot Springs about 7:00 AM. He would get on one end of the train, sell newspapers through the train and get off at the other end just as it was ready to pull out.

“We were in Covington until 1923, when we moved to Lynchburg (Figs. R554d, R554e). There Dad was pharmacist in charge of the drug department at Strother Drug Co., a wholesale drug company. With four children in depression times he worked five days a week at Strother’s and every other night and every other Sunday at a retail drug store.

“After graduating from Farmville State Teachers College, I went back to Covington, Va. to a teaching job at Covington High School in 1934, married the Principal in 1935 (Fig. R554f) and lived in Covington until 1990 when I moved to Atlanta. My husband, Walter, died Dec. 3, 1960 and Dad died Jan. 19, 1961. My mother was an invalid at that time with Dad’s sister Mamie Armentrout White [R357] living with them. Both Mom and Aunt Mamie were moved to Covington to live with me, where Mom died in Jan. 1963...”

Son Frank Van Lear attended VPI for one year, then in 1929 his father found a job for him at Morton Manufacturing Co. in Lynchburg. He worked there for 13 years, and by his account that’s where he learned business. Morton must have taught him well, because thereafter things he touched tended to turn to gold. He served in the Army stateside during WWII, then moved to Lakeland Fla. There he worked in a defense plant, then bought a restaurant across the street from the plant. After the war he moved to Ocala Fla, where he worked for a time with brother Jack [R604] selling fruit by mail order. The mail order business brought Frank into contact with Double Envelope Company of Roanoke Va., which first hired him as a salesman, then in 1951 made him their national Sales Manager. Frank was with the company 9 years, and saw their business increase from $600 thousand his first year to $8 million the last.

Following the envelope/mail order theme, Frank went into the mail order photofinishing business in South Bend Ind. about 1960. He was the first to market that business by having his mailer envelopes inserted in newspapers. In this venture sales increased from $83 thousand the first year to $6.5 million in 1976; that year he sold the business for $4.5 million. Then Frank went into T-shirts: it had just become possible to market custom-decorated and lettered T-shirts, using iron-on transfers. He invested $3 thousand in the business, and after 6.5 years had 21 stores in malls all over the south. At that point he sold the business for $1.25 million and retired, though the itch to start a new (and no doubt profitable) business has not left him.

The Van Lear children are shown as adults in Fig. R554g.

Sources: [S089, S136, S143, S163]