Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Herb & Florence Lacey

My great-uncle, Herb Lacey, married Florence Freitas in 1945 in Northern California.

Herbert Brendan Lacey was born on October 14, 1915 in San Francisco.  He was the fifth child born to my great-grandparents, Thomas Lacey and Sarah Kilcullen, both Irish immigrants who settled in San Francisco.  Herb was three years older than my grandfather, David Austin Lacey.

Sometime between 1915 and 1918, the Lacey family moved to Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco.  Herb grew up there, completed high school, and began working in "marine engineering," per the 1940 census.  Alameda in the early-to-mid 1900s was notable for being the site of the Alameda Naval Air Station and the Alameda Works Shipyard.  The city's waterfront was one of the largest shipping and ship-building centers in the country.

On June 3, 1941, Herb enlisted in the Navy.  Six months later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and America entered World War II.  Upon completion of his service in the Pacific Theater, Herb returned home to Alameda and married Florence Freitas in 1945.

Florence Loretta Freitas was born January 29, 1919, the daughter of John Freitas and Catherine Madeiros. Her father was a Portuguese immigrant, as was her maternal grandfather. She was raised in Washington Township, which later became Fremont.  Fremont is about 25 miles south of Alameda.

I have not been able to determine at which church Herb and Florence were married. Presumably, it would have been a Catholic church in Fremont or neighboring cities.  After their wedding, Herb and Florence settled in Newark, adjacent to Fremont, and raised two children.  It was, by all accounts, a happy marriage.

I remember visiting Herb and Florence at their home when I was young.  Herb was much like his brothers, with the same boisterous personality and big laugh.  Florence was kind and lovely.  I remember playing in their big garden and eating meals at their kitchen table.

Florence died on August 15, 1987.  My family visited Herb after Florence's death and I recall that he was distraught and depressed.  He grieved the loss of his wife deeply for the rest of his life.  Herb died on November 19, 1993.  Florence and Herb are buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward, near Herb's parents and his elder brother Frank.

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