…rie Pettiford, A sad story for a Valentine’s day baby and her mother

Wakeman High School 1932

Wakeman High School class of 1932

“…rie Pettiford” turned out to be Marie Pettiford. The class photo you see on the left has most of the first name of each person cut off. I wasn’t sure how easy they would be to find. But the last person on the list was also the only black person in the class. So when I looked for a female, unmarried Pettiford born around 1914 who lived in Huron County, Ohio one person came up. And luckily her first name ended in “rie”!

Marie E. Pettiford was born on Valentine’s day 1914 to Herman E. Pettiford and Myrtle Stafford. Her father was a barber. She had one brother, Robert who was about 3 years older than Marie. Her family lived in Wakeman all her life. They are in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census. However by 1930 her father was a widow. Myrtle died in 1921 at age 28. The death certificate states the cause of death was exophthalmic goiter. Huh? I had never of heard of this. One website defines it as “hyperthyroidism with protrusion of the eyeballs.” I’ll let you google the images.

Marie Pettiford, age 18. One year before her death.

Marie Pettiford, age 18. One year before her death.

Her daughter was even younger when she died. The lovely Marie Pettiford died at age 19, one year after this photo was taken. On March 22, 1933, according to the death certificate, Marie died of a heart attack due to “surgical shock” during a laparotomy. A laparotomy was basically abdominal surgery. Why she was having surgery is unknown, maybe some form of hyperthyroidism like her mother. Whatever the reason, her body couldn’t take it.

By 1940 her father and brother are living together and working as barber’s in Mr. Pettiford’s barber shop; feeling quite lucky to be alive I imagine.

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