February 3, 2012 9:55am
|LEOLA MINNA CAROLINE (GRAF) FORISTER
July 12, 1913 - January 28, 2012
By M. C. Forister
Leola was born on July 12, 1913 in Karnes City, oldest of three daughters of Frido and Lydia Amalie Luise (Jauer) Graf. On May 14, 1914, she was christened Leola Minna Caroline Graf by Pastor O. Hartmann of St. John’s Lutheran Church of San Antonio. The godparents were her grandparents, Christian Friedrich "Franz" and Agnes Adelheid "Minna" (Reinhardt) Graf of San Antonio and Christman David and Caroline (Beicker) Jauer of Karnes City. And, Pastor Hartmann was the same one who married Leola’s parents, Frido and Lydia (Jauer) Graf in 1911 in San Antonio. When age 14, and with her mother's permission, Leola substituted Carolyn for the two middle names.
In May of 1931 she graduated from Karnes City High School. On August 1, 1931, Leola’s first date was Afton Marvin Forister of Karnes City. On June 10, 1933, she was married to Afton, son of Miles Harden Forister and Martha Gola Robertson. Afton also a graduate of Karnes City High School. Leola and Afton were married in the home of the Presbyterian Minister, Charles W. Solomon in Karnes City. Afton’s best man was Lewis W. Menn. Right after Afton and Leola were married, they moved into a chicken house with dirt floor at Afton’s parents’ place in Coy City, Karnes Co. They were living in it for about three months as it was hard to make a living at that time in the 1930’s.
On Sunday February 18, 1934, their son Marvin Eugene was born in the home of his maternal grandparents in Karnes City. Afton and Leola were then living at Clarkwood, Nueces Co. On Tuesday, November 16, 1937, their daughter Mary Carolyn was born, also at the home of the maternal grandparents in Karnes City. The house is still standing on Hiway 123, north side of Hiway 181. Afton and Leola were then living at Fashing, Atascosa Co.
In 1941, while living in Floresville, Wilson Co. Leola went to take a driving test for her first license. The officer saw her two young children in the car. He told her that they were not allowed to go along. She said she had no one to leave them with, so he agreed to let them go. At one time during the test she made a turn without giving a signal. When the officer asked why, she said there were no cars coming. He asked what she would do if she were driving in San Antonio. She answered that she would give the signals there, but that she will not drive in San Antonio. The officer let her pass the test, and the children never made a sound through the whole thing. The very next day, Afton had an accident in San Antonio as he was a truck driver of the Butter-Krust Bread. The brake went out on him and it turned over, and he end up in the hospital. He only stay in the hospital for few hours then. Since that day, Leola has had to make many trips to San Antonio.
In 1956 and 1957, while living at Sutherland Springs, Wilson Co., Afton as a dairyman, Mary going to school, and Leola worked at the main cafeteria at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio as a counter attendant. Then, one early morning going home from work, she was driving a 1952 black Plymouth and she fell asleep. The car went off the road, head out into an open field as someone had just plowed. Since there was no seat belt at that time, she land on the floorboard and had a very sore hip. And, the car had a minor dent on the back right fender. She then decided to quit her job after almost a year and a half at Fort Sam. On September 1, 1957, Leola, Afton and Mary moved to Camp Ranch near Floresville as Afton was still a dairyman. Then, in May of 1968, retired from dairy, Leola and Afton moved to Karnes City, she later worked at Karnes Mercantile for a while as a grocery checker. Later, she has been taking freight calls from customers in Karnes City and Kenedy for a Lange freight truck out of San Antonio, did some typing.
During her school days, Leola took piano lessons, and took part in a couple of local pageants, and in her senior class play. For years, She loved to play piano, mostly hymns and music that she had from way back in the old days. Leola did had a huge heavy upright piano that Afton bought for her in the 1940’s. They had it in Floresville, then moved it to Sutherland Springs, finally to Camp Ranch near Floresville. Since it takes several men to move it, they’ve decided not to take it to Karnes City to their new home. The house didn’t have a foundation and was worry that it would go through the wooden floor. Leola miss her piano so much. So, a year later, while Mary was working in Austin, Mary decided to buy her mother an Yamaha organ. Leola was so surprised and was thrilled about it as she always wanted an organ. It took two men to carry that organ into their house as it was light weight. For years after that, she would played a lot of music that she loved so dearly.
Leola also sang high soprano solo as well while in school. She and Mary used to sing hymns together a lot at home as it was their favorite. Leola was an artist, copied pencil sketch of her great-grandfather, Carl Ludwig Jauer, when she was 14, also copied a sketch of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Both her son and daughter also an artists as well.
Leola and Mary didn’t care about Elvis’ singing like, "You aint nothin but a hound dog". But, one day, while Mary was working, she had heard that Elvis has new album, "How Great Thou Art" and figured that should be good, so she bought the album. She listened to it and she loved it. So, she took it with her to Karnes City to parents’ house and told her mother, who was in the kitchen, that she got a new album for her to hear. Mary put into Leola’s record player and got it going. Then, Mary told Leola that she will go out and see what Afton was doing. She went out, and looked at her watch to see when to go back into the house. About ten minutes later, she went back in and found her mother lying on the sofa with eyes closed. Mary asked her, "Well, how do you like the music?" Leola said, "Oh, play it again as it is just beautiful!" Mary said, "Oh, I thought you didn’t like Elvis!" And Leola jumped up and was shocked and yelled, "THAT’S ELVIS!!?? Well....... play it again as I loved it!" She has been listened to it over and over.
Leola has killed few rattlesnakes with a hoe. The last time that she did when she heard a loud thumb. She realized that their cat had jump on her back screen door again and she rushed to the door, about to open to fuss at her cat. But, sudden, she heard a rattle and realized that the snake was next to the back porch, the reason the cat jumped and hit the door. So, she went out front and went around to the back and saw a huge rattlesnake and it was mad. So, she picked up a huge very heavy rock and threw at it and the rock broke the snake’s back. Then, she got a hoe and finished it off. She said that she was shaking and sweating the whole time. Afton and Mary tried to get her to use one of his rifle, but she refused as it make so much of loud noise. Afton and Mary went to the Kuhnel’s Hardware store and each of them paid half for a small pistol and Mary wrapped it up with newspapers and tie with a string, and set it on the table. Leola opened it, looked at it, but STILL refused to use it, even though Afton taught her how to use it. She said the noise bother her so. Well, later, as Afton was in the lot and Leola was in the kitchen. She happened to see out there and noticed two of their cats sitting low, facing near the chain-link fence, looked at something. She realized a snake was trying to come into the yard. So, she ran and got her pistol and ran out there and shot and killed another rattlesnake. Afton heard it and ran toward the yard and realized what she did. That night, they called Mary and told her about it. Mary asked her mother, "What about the loud noise?" And Leola said, "What noise?" Afton and Mary sure did laughed and since then, Leola has been using her pistol and killed few more snakes.
Leola and Afton likes to garden. Sometimes Afton loses track of what he has planted. Once he brought in what he thought was a new variety of squash and asked Leola to slice and fry it. She did as he asked and they ate it and enjoyed it. Later he discovered that they had eaten green cantaloupe.
On June 11, 1983, Marvin of San Antonio and Mary Forister of Austin honored their parents, Afton and Leola Forister with an open house on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary in the City Hall Auditorium in Karnes City. Lewis and Evangeline Menn of Runge were there along with many friends and relatives.
Afton passed away on June 16, 1994, and Leola stay busy at home, later end up living at the Bluebonnet Nursing & Rehab in Karnes City.
Leola and Afton’s son, Marvin who met and married his beautiful bride, Brigitte Ida Widder of Germany while he was in the Army. Brigitte gave birth of their daughter, Shirley Ann who was born in Germany. Then, they came home to United States, settled in San Antonio. They has two more children, Chris Ervin and Cindy Lou born there. Sadly, Chris, age of almost 20 was killed, hit by car on Feb. 19, 1982 as he was walking across the street. And, Brigitte passed away, died of cancer on Feb. 12, 2010.
And daughter, Mary never married as she doesn’t have the time for that. She retired in 1993 from Texas Employment Commission, now the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin. She staying busy working on genealogy of her family, already done five books and got two more to go, GRAF and FORISTER. She also did some oil painting and sold pictures and books and gave money to The Mary C. Forister Center for the special children in Floresville. Since the Forister Center was used from 1980 to 2010, and school was growing, they moved to a lot bigger new school building, mixed with other children. Now, the money goes to The Mary C. Forister Fund.