Thursday, November 1, 2012


First, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone well that was involved in the devastation that was Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully, things will get better soon.  You are all in my thoughts.

This is my dad.  The occasion was Tami and Tim's wedding, September 13, 1986.  He was 74 years old.  He was always a hard worker and he worked with his hands, but he sure cleaned up nicely!

Today would have been my dad's 100th birthday.  I can't believe I am saying this. It seems like such a short time ago that he was the age that I am now, not yet retired, full of energy and vitality.

Here Dad is pictured with his Aunt Elsie at approximately 4 years old.  Really love those shoes.

Dad always had a dog at his side.  I guess these two were hunting companions.  He probably was around the age of 15.

Dad was born in Soquel, California, in a log house built by his father, on November 1, 1912.  The original house burned down in 1945.  At that time, he and my grandfather, built another home on the same property.  He spent all but the last few years of his life within a two mile radius of his birth place.

In March, 1919, at the age of 6, my grandmother got him all dressed up to receive company.  Against her wishes he got his outfit dirty so she put him in one of his sister's dresses and he had to meet the company in humiliation.. Again, love the shoes.

This was his graduation picture in his high school yearbook.  He was 18 years old.

He attended Mountain Elementary School through the 8th grade, where his father before him had attended and where my sister, brother and myself also graduated.  He graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1930.

This is my mom and dad as young newlyweds.  My mom described her suit as a dark blue silk.

My parents met during a Saturday night dance at the Cocanut Grove on the Beach/Boardwalk in Santa Cruz.  They married in 1938.   They both loved dancing and were quite accomplished ballroom dancers.  They would have given Fred and Ginger a run for their money.  My dad had a beautiful voice also and you could usually hear him singing along as he worked.

My folks were great party goers.  They had a lot of friends and there was always a costume party to attend.  My mom made all their costumes and she had a very fanciful imagination.  Here they are pictured dressed for Hawaii but they had been peacocks and cowgirl and cowboy and once, along with another couple, a gorilla family.  At one point in time I remember pictures but I don't know where they are now.

He was a wonderful dad to myself; sister, Sidney; and brother, Bruce. We were around the ages of 10, 5 and 2 when this picture was taken. I don't remember the picture being taken but I can remember the colors in our clothing. My dress was yellow with a brown collar and sash, Sid's was pink and grey striped, and Bruce's little suit was blue. How could I not remember the occasion but the details? Go figure.

Here Dad is installing the kitchen cabinets he built for our Cottage.

Dad was a master craftsman, a real DIY kind of man.  He was a cabinet maker by profession and a technical illustrator.  He set up and ran his own sawmill for many years and he was a self-taught artist.  He never went to college, everything he knew he taught himself. He built an observatory on his property. The roof rotated and opened so that he could see the stars, which had always been such a great interest to him, with his telescope.  He was always reading a book that would teach him something new. 

His proudest achievement, other than his family, was the building of his and my mom's last home from the ground up.

My dad surveys his kingdom from the deck of the home he built for my mom.  Off to the right side of this picture was where he built his observatory. You can see where the view would be perfect for star gazing.

He had built the house my sister, brother and myself grew up in but after we kids had moved on, they sold that home.  They bought a piece of property on a hill and he built their dream house there.  He did everything by himself from digging the well and septic system to fabricating and installing the tin roof.  The kitchen cabinets he made from an old black walnut tree that had grown on his parent's property.  He cut the tree down and milled the wood when he ran his sawmill.

A picture of Dad, in his sailor suit, probably around the age of 5 in 1917.  When Jake was born, the first thing Dad did was buy him a sailor suit.  He said every little boy should have one.  I guess this is where he got the idea.

Dad had a wonderful sense of humor.  He was always telling jokes, which sometimes were funny and sometimes just plain corny.  He would usually be the one laughing the loudest while my mom rolled her eyes.  Sometimes he would get such a fit of the giggles that he couldn't even finish the joke, but he never failed to get anyone who would listen to laugh along with him.  At one point my sister and I tried to pin him down, with a tape recorder, about some of his life's achievements.  He would start telling something and then we would all break out in laughter, so we never did get anything significant.

Looking back maybe what we did get was the most important thing of all.  Knowing that he lived life, simply and wisely, and through hard work and the ability to laugh at himself, I think he lived it quite well.

Dad drew this charcoal sketch of himself, while standing in front of a mirror, at the age of 21.
Photo of sketch sent to me courtesy of my nephew, Todd.

Dad was a kind and gentle man, a true 'gentleman' of the Old School.  He never failed to remove his hat in the presence of a lady, open a car door for her or hold her arm while crossing the street, whether it be his wife, a stranger, or one of his daughters.

Great-grandpa with Jake and Santa

I remember Dad as always healthy and I got such a secure feeling about that throughout most of my life, that his strength would always be there.  However, in the last few years of his life, he was afflicted with Parkinson's disease and it was hard to see the change in him.  He lived in their home eighteen years after my mom passed away but he finally had to leave it.  He moved to Fresno to be closer to my brother.

My dad passed away at the age of 89 but the memories of him are still so strong and he lives on in his children (3), his grandchildren (6), and great-grandchildren (6).

He was already starting his career of woodworking at the age of 14.  Here he is with his dog, Brownie, and the wagon he built.

Happy Birthday, Dad.  You are loved and admired by your family and friends and no man could leave a better legacy than that....Judy

Four generations....

Thurman Allred
Daughter, Judy Allred Neumann
Granddaughter, Tami Neumann McConnell
Great-grandson, Jacob McConnell

I hope I haven't bored you with this story. I hadn't meant to write a 'book' but 100 years is a long time and deserves a bit of acknowledgement. If you enjoyed the old pictures, you might be interested in a post written by my nephew, Todd Allred. He is an excellent writer, which is his profession, and there are more old pictures that I didn't have and stories to go with them. You can find him here

I'm sharing today with:


  1. What a lovely tribute to your father Judy. He was a very handsome man and you have wonderful memories.

  2. How wonderful to see this article about your Dad. He certainly was a handsome, wonderful man. You were blessed to have him in your life for as long as you did- xo Diana

  3. I very much enjoyed reading your tribute to your Dad. My Mother would have been 100 November 6th this year and today is the 43 anniversary of my Dad going to heaven.

  4. I love the old black and white photos. You have some really wonderful ones of your dad. My dad would have turned 100 last June if he was still with us. He died at 69.
    Lovely tribute, Judy.

  5. Oh Judy what a truly lovely post and such a beautiful tribute to your wonderful dad, reading it (twice through!)has brought tears to my eyes here in my little dining room where i'm enjoying my first cup of tea of the day before the kids wake up :) I just adore the old photographs and it's great that you have so many of them and the stories to go with them, many people don't keep them which is such a shame. Your dad reminds me a little of my father, who like him, has built our family home from the ground up.
    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post,
    Marina xx

  6. Dear Judy,
    this is a lovely post and tribute to your dad. He is to be admired. You have described him so wonderfully.
    Some great photos.. your poor dad, having to dress up in his sisters clothes ):
    You are lucky to have photos of him from his early life.
    My father was born in 1917 and died in 2004. My mother was born in 2019 and died at midnight of 1999 to 2000..
    She had told us , that she didnt want to go into this new milleneum thing..!
    I like this post so much Judy. How often I have thought about writing about my father. A great gentleman too.
    Thank you for sharing all of your stories about his life.
    god bless

  7. I love this post! What a wonderful way to remember and honor your Dad. All of the pictures were great.

    Amy Jo

  8. Judy, I enjoyed your loving tribute to your dad. We were both blessed with wonderful dads, and I am grateful for mine! Your dad sounds like such a wonderful man. Blessings, Jean

  9. Oh Judy,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about your Dad, and all the many wonderful memories that you all have of him.
    He sounds like he was a very kind, and loving and talented man. How blessed you all are to have had him in your lives.

    My Dad was such a talented, and compassionate man also, and I miss him every day of my life.

    It's so nice to read that you have nothing but good things to say about your father.
    Not everyone is as lucky, as we are.
    We won the lottery, when it came to our Dads !!

  10. What a wonderful story and tribute. It was beautiful : )

  11. What a wonderful post honoring your father! I enjoyed it so very much. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your daddy with us.

  12. Hello Judy
    Dads are so special, your tribute to your father is wonderful, I love the old photo's of him growing up, especially the one where he is wearing his "long" coat.. bless him
    Hope you have a lovely weekend
    Thea x

  13. I really enjoyed looking at the pics of your dad in his younger years. I don't blame you for being proud of him and how he lived his life. He sounds like he was a great husband and father. I really love the pic of your parents together as newlyweds. They were such a handsome couple. My dad just turned 80 a couple of weeks ago.

  14. I love reading about lives like this. What a treasure your dad was. He looked like a very special person. What fun pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Great story, I enjoyed it. I also checked out what your nephew wrote and it was very interesting. It's a great tribute. He was an interesting and handsome man.

  16. Thank you for introducing us to your dad, lovely reading.

  17. You haven't bored me at all. In fact it was such a thrilling story you told us about your beloved father. And I realized how alike he and my own father were. My father built my childhoood home too. And he was a really good crafts man. Not building any observatory and I'm not sure he was that interested in it, lol. But who knows? They didn't tell all about themselves, did they? He was a very interesting person that first learned mathematics from a "letter course" and became a designer of houses but had to quit it as he got problems with his back, sitting all the time. Instead he became a very good carpenter. Well, I shouldn't tell you about MY father, but I just got so glad when I noticed they had so much in common. My father should have been 94 if he had still been with us.
    I have the All Saints Day on my blog now if you're interested.
    Have a great Sunday.
    Love Elzie

  18. BEAUTIFUL MOM!!!! I am sitting here caught between tears and smiles!!! I miss Grandpa everyday!! But it makes me smile to think of the conversations he and Brent must be having. I have so many memories of Grandpa (and grandma too) but at this moment the one that comes to mind is when Jakie and I went up to visit "GWAIT GAMPAW" as Jake used to call him at the time this memory was real, and I was in the kitchen straighting up and Jake and "Gweat Gampaw" were playing with Jakes Hot Wheel cars on the living room floor. I heard this funny beeping sound "BEEP BEEP BEEP", when I peeked around the corner, there was Jake (about 2 yrs old) and Grandpa laying on the floor making the beeping sounds as the backed the trucks up into the make believe garage. That sight has stayed with me all this time!! So simple but such a touching moment. As I sign off i am looking at the picture of Jakie in his sailor suit the "GWATE GAMPW" so lovingly gave him, with a smile on my face!!

  19. What a great story! Love the pictures! Your dad was an artist. Thank you so much for linking this up to Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  20. What a moving tribute to your dad. The personal history of your father is wonderful and should be treasured by your family.

  21. What a loving tribute to your dad. All those wonderful memories.

  22. Wonderful story and tribute. I loved the pictures and your father was very attractive.
    have a great week.

  23. Judy what a fabulous tribute to your dad...I love all of the old photos and no you did not write too much, just the right amount. I lost my uncle, my mother's brother, about 10 days agao...he was 95 years old. He lived a long, simple, happy life and boy did he love to tell jokes.
    Well I wanted to stop by to wish you a very happy birthday today!
    Enjoy my happy we met one another.
    XO Barbara
    PS...we have one more thing somewhat in mother's birthday is Nov. 2nd!

  24. Judy! I have tears in my eyes. . .the loving way you described your Dad brought back so many memories of my own. He, too, was of the Old School, a gentleman--and a gentle man. I can tell you loved your Dad very much. I read somewhere recently that as long as we keep telling their stories, our loved ones lives will go on. So, keep telling your stories. . .always.


Your comments are so special to me...Judy