Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

by Theatus J. LeMay

From A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

Albert Edwin LeMay was born in Rice, July 21, 1902, came to Coleman in 1908, when his father and mother,  Albert and Emma LeMay, moved to the county (see Albert H. LeMay). As the family moved about, Ed attended school at Stacy, Brown Ranch, Water Valley, and Valera, where he finished high school as Valedictorian. In school he par­ticipated in athletics, including baseball, basketball, and track. After graduation he continued to play basketball, a member of the Voss-Valera team. Later he played polo with a group in Coleman. He farmed one year; then in 1922 he moved to Coleman and took a job in the Central State Bank, where he worked as teller and bookkeeper until the three Coleman banks closed in 1931. In 1932, after the stockholders of the three banks organized the First Coleman National Bank, Ed took a job in the new bank. He worked there, except for the four years he was in military service and defense work during WW II, until he retired, February 15, 1968. Ed spoke many times of his most frightening ex­perience during the “big Coleman bank robbery” of February 2, 1934. The stocking-masked robbers made all the personnel squat or lie on the floor and constantly threatened them, one with a sawed-off shot gun, while they forced several employees to attempt to open the vault. This, of course, was not possible, since the vault had a time lock on it. After what seemed to be an eternity, and was indeed a har­rowing experience for the employees, the robbers with about $23,000 made their getaway. However, one was caught the next day, and Ed, with Clyde Edens, went to Austin and identified him. One-third of the stolen money was found in the man’s car.

About 1926, Ed joined the Texas National Guard where he gained knowledge of the military. During WW II, when his brother, who was married and had an infant daughter, was about to be drafted, Ed volunteered in his place, September 8,1942. After serving about a year in the United States Army Air Corps in Midland, Ed asked for and re­ceived a discharge so that he might go into defense work. He was immediately employed by Consolidated Aircraft Cor­poration near Fort Worth. It was while he was at Con­solidated that he and Theatus Johnston (see Rufus Johnston) were married, November 26, 1943. They began their life together in a government housing project called Liberator Village. This village, outside White Settlement, was built to house the workers at Consolidated and at the day nursery where children of mothers who worked at the plant received care. No sooner had the LeMays settled in their “home” than Theatus was asked to work at the day care center. The work with the children was refreshing, an escape from the constant reminder of war, for the bombers were constantly roaring over the village. In 1945 when word was broadcast that the Japanese had surrendered, there was a great celebra­tion in downtown Fort Worth. Immediately Liberator Village seemed to begin its demise as people moved away. Ed and Theatus, who had lived most of their lives in Cole­man, decided to come back home.

Theatus was born in her Grandmother Ruth Jones’s farm home near Chalk Mountain, Texas, in 1907, and had been brought to Coleman some five months later (see Jones-­Childress). As she grew up she took piano lessons, as well as some speech and art. After graduating from high school in 1925, she attended North Texas State Teachers College, where she received a B. S. Degree. While teaching and work­ing toward this degree, she, besides attending summer school at North Texas, took correspondence and extension courses from Daniel Baker, Howard Payne, and North Texas State Teachers Colleges. She also attended one most enjoyable summer session at the University of California at Berkley. Most teachers obtained their degrees in this manner during the depression of the thirties. After Theatus and Ed returned to Coleman at the close of the war, she earned an M.A. Degree from Hardin-Simmons University. For the first several years of her thirty-eight year teaching career, thirty-five of which were in Coleman, Theatus taught second and third grades. When the art and writing teacher in South Ward married during the war, Theatus was asked to teach art and writing in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, as well as U.S. History in her sixth grade home room. After the war she taught art and English in West Ward until the stork decided to pay her a visit. Ed was again working in the First Coleman National Bank. He and Theatus were delighted when they learned they were to have an addition to their family. On a very frigidly cold January 14, 1948, Nancy Allene made her appearance. Nancy had her daddy’s brown eyes and olive complexion and her mother’s brown hair. Nancy and her daddy were very close. She loved helping him “mow” the lawn with her little mower, assisting him when he made a ladder for the chicken house, having tea parties with him, and going with him to mow the cemetery lots at Valera. She was always very active. She swam, rode her bicycle, skated, took part in Little Olympics, and was cheerleader four different times.

Theatus and Ed had been members of the Methodist Church since each was about seven years old. Together they attended church regularly. Ed enjoyed morning coffee and fellowship in the Friendly Fellows Sunday School Class. Besides serving on the official board of the church, Ed served many years as the treasurer, and for a few years he taught a Sunday School lesson one Sunday a month at Holiday Hill. Theatus often worked with the younger children, but most of the time attended the Nichols Bible Class, which she joined several years before she married. Nancy, besides attending Sunday School and church, enjoyed activities in the Methodist Youth Fellowship. She became a member when she was about twelve.

When Nancy was planning her wedding, Ed was quite happy helping her with her guest list. He would laugh and talk about what a good looking fellow a short person like him would be walking down the aisle in a tuxedo to give the bride away. But he was not to see Nancy graduate from college or to be in her wedding. In January of 1970, he became ill and had surgery, but was unable to recover. He died March 7, 1970, in West Texas Medical Center in Abilene, buried in Coleman. Nancy married David Noll June 6,1970, in the First United Methodist Church. She has two fine boys, Christopher and Geoffrey. She, like her mother and grand­mother, is a teacher.

Theatus, who had returned to teaching when Nancy was three, continued to teach until she retired in 1973. She still resides in Coleman. With organizations, activities, and friends to keep one busy, there is no time to be bored and very little time to be lonely.

(Images to be added)

Theatus, Nancy, Ed LeMay-Baby, Alan Daniel, Nancy ‘s cousin

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