Edwin J Stubbs
22 April 1867* – 9 April 1934 (at University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia)
(The Honorable E.J. Stubbs, Knight of St. Gregory)
Alma Piratsky Stubbs
11 January 1876* – 20 January 1959 (date of internment; could not find an exact date of death)
The youngest surviving child of a British-born father Robert J. and and Canadian-born mother Catherine Ledden, Edwin got his start in business as a clerk and by 1910 was working as a commercial man for the board of trade.
His father was captain of a Great Lakes schooner and in 1880, the family lived on S. May Street (on a block now paved over by the Eisenhower Expressway). At the time, there were three children at home, including daughter Mary who was 24 and unmarried. By this time Catherine had given birth to ten children and only the three survived; by 1893, she would have only two surviving, Edwin and his older brother James, for Mary died, never having married (though she was somehow still listed as a housewife on her death record because what else are women who are at home, I guess).
Perhaps because of the losses his family had suffered over the years, in 1900, Edwin was still living with his parents though he was in his early 30s and gainfully employed as a broker.
At some point in the next couple of years, he and the twelve-years-younger Alma got engaged, and on 8 October 1902 they married. Just three months later, Edwin’s father died and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee alongside his sister Mary and perhaps the other seven lost children (though findagrave.com only lists Robert, Catherine, and Mary).
Alma was the daughter of a very well-off Prussian-born artist father and French-Canadian-born mother and for the early years of their marriage, the couple lived with Alma’s parents on Ashland (right across from what is now the Rush Hospital complex) in a household that in 1910 included Mr. and Mrs. Piratsky, the newlyweds, a servant, and a janitor.
Alma’s older sister’s wedding in 1893 had been a lavish affair (with Alma as maid of honor), and was written up in great detail in the Chicago Tribune. Alma wore pale blue silk trimmed with white lace and carried pink roses and lillies of the valley as she preceded her sister down the aisle of the high nuptial mass ceremony. I expect Alma’s own wedding was quite posh, too, but I couldn’t find a write-up for it.
In 1912, Alma’s father died and the couple continued to live with Alma’s mother, but by 1920, they’d relocated to Oak Park to a house on Washington that I have gone past on a number of occasions. They also had one live-in servant. Edwin’s occupation was listed as a buyer in the grain industry (self-employed).
At some point between 1922 and 1925, Alma’s mother moved from Oak Park to Sheridan Road (to what looks like a building that is period-correct to have then been a brand-new block of apartments right downtown near the lake). She passed away in 1925 which is how we know that address change.
In 1930, Edwin and Alma lived at Briar Place which is less than a half-mile from where Alma’s mother had been living, and I rather think they all moved to the new lake shore-adjacent properties at the same time, staying close by each other but at last living independently. Edwin, though just past 60, had apparently retired by then.
Edwin and Alma were not yet done moving, however, because by 1934, they had relocated again to a fancy new luxury apartment building at 3240 Lake Shore Drive (still there; still swanky; still with a stunning lake view). They don’t seem to have ever purchased their own home, in part it seems because they spent a lot of time traveling. There are passenger list records of them from a trip to Hawaii in 1921 and to Havana in 1930. I expect they traveled more than we have records for, especially after Edwin stopped working.
Sadly, we know where their home base was in 1934 because that was the year Edwin died just days shy of his birthday*. Edwin and Alma were apparently in Augusta, Georgia when he fell ill though it’s unclear if they were vacationing there or if it was simply the nearest good hospital. Perhaps they were on a driving tour or visiting friends in the area. His death certificate states the cause of death was streptococcus septicemia (sic) — sepsis.
Alma lived another twenty-four years, never remarrying, and had just turned 80 years old (probably*) when she died. We last see her in the public record, aside from her 1959 obituary, in 1940, still living in the posh apartment on Lake Shore Drive. Her next-door neighbor was an elderly, married private detective with a live-in servant, and now I desperately want a pre-war era Chicago-set Agatha Christie-style mystery series starring the comparatively youngish widow Alma helping out her crusty old neighbor and solving crimes.
While she and Edwin had a long, financially stable marriage, they had no children. Her only sister, however, had several to whom she was a beloved aunt.
RIP Alma and Edwin
*It’s unclear exactly how old either of them were as they both regularly gave different birth years on a number of public records, the scamps. I found Alma’s childhood census listing and can safely say she was born in 1876 but as the one (almost) consistent data point is that there was a twelve-year difference in their ages, it may be that Edwin was born in 1864 or that the twelve-year difference was a fiction that simply stuck with both of them.
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