Ethel Marie Price is my grandmother, the mother of Diana Stratman Groves and Betty Maxine. She was a wonderful lady who was known for the adoration of her children and the ability to play musical instruments by ear. I was her first grandchild and I loved her dearly.
If the World War II generation is the Greatest Generation, what do we call the generation of the depression when the World War II generation were still children? Their parents struggled to find work, stood in soup lines, fought labor wars, and forged this country into what it is
today. Women married as children and raised children their entire lives.
Ethel Marie Price was born in 1905 in Harrisburg, Illinois to David Z. Price and Mary Fletcher Price. The daughter of a cola miner. Ethel had five sisters and two brothers and was very close to her family.
Dave and Mary Price
The Price siblings with their spouses
Ray is not pictured
As was common in those days, she was married very young to a man by the name of Ben Ballard.
They apparently obtained a license in one county and were married in another county. The county
clerk wrote them and told them they would have to be remarried as their marriage was not legal.
They were remarried the next day. Ethel was 14 years old.
A son was born a year after the marriage who died while a baby of consumption. Ethel was devastated. She left the marriage but not never got over the loss of her son.
She married my grandfather, Eric August (Harry) Stratman, a German immigrant in 1923.
He worked in the
coal mines in southern Illinois as did most of his brothers and his father and his father-in-law. My mother told me they would go down in the mines before the sun came up and not come out until the sun went down.
Ethel was in the great "Tri-State Tornado" of 1925 in West Frankfort, Illinois in 1925. She had a 6 month old baby, my mother Dina Faye Stratman. Ethel's husband and his brothers were in the labor union wars in southern Illinois. After the birth of her two daughters, they moved to Kincaid, Illinois.
Her youngest daughter Betty Maxine writes the following description of their life there.
"We did go to the Methodist Church in Kincaid. There was only the Methodist and the Catholic Church. It was on the corner of the street where we lived, about 3 or 4 door from us. That's where all our social life took place, Daddy taught the men's SS class, and Faye and I were saved and baptized there in a horse drinking trough. There was no baptismal in the church. The big trough was brought in and that was what was used. We had ice cream socials and all the fun there. Most everyone's lives revolved around the church.
The house we lived in was a company house owned by the coal mines and we paid a small rent for that. Then we moved to the (small) farm just a short ways
from town where we all lived side by side for a long time. When the war came
was the chance Dad had to get out of the coal mines.
We moved to Decatur and
Dad worked in the Caterpillar plant there for a while. And then we all got
jobs at the war plant in Illiopolis."
Sangamon Ordinance Plant
between Decatur and Springfield
During World War II, Ethel, her husband and two daughters worked in the war plant in Illipolis, Illinois.
When I was born, Ethel and her youngest daughter worked at the hospital in Decatur. I was the first grandchild. At 6 months of age I was hospitalized with whopping cough which led to a mastoid infection under my left ear. My mother had step children to care for, so Ethel and my Aunt became primarily responsible for my care. I developed a deep attachment for both of them that continues to this day.
Ethel, her daughters and first grandchild
Harry learned a new trade as a millwright after World War II and left the coal mines. They lived in several towns including Detroit Michigan
and Cleveland, Ohio.
When both of her daughters relocated to New Mexico in the early 1950s, Harry and Ethel followed.
Harry and Ethel with grandchildren
They opened "Harry's Big Burgers" in Santa Fe and eventually had two hamburger drive-ins in Santa Fe and one in Espanola. They bought a motel in Espanola and relocated. Ethel proved to be a talented business woman though she had little schooling. She could add columns of figures without a calculator. They successfully operated these business' for several years before relocating to Albuquerque in the early 1960s where they retired.
Grandma Ethel with daughter
Diana Faye Stratman
Grandma Ethel with both daughters
Diana and Maxine
Grandma Ethel, her daughter Diana Faye,
and her grandchildren Sandy and Bill
Grandma Ethel, her daughter Maxine,
and her grandchildren Nancy and Carolyn
Ethel died of colon cancer and a kidney failure in October of 1972. She was just 67 years old.
Ethel was the perfect grandmother, she adored and spoiled her grandbabies who all adored her. She is remembered for her total devotion to her family and her love of the Lord. She missed her mother who died in 1937, and her baby son who she spoke of often before her death. After she died, we found a small box with her mother's dress and her baby's clothes. I
did not know his name until after she died. It was Leland Ballard.
Price Family Photos
Ethel's Family Tree
The Price Family Outline
The David Price Family, Ethel's father and grandfather
The Price Family