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Lafayette Ressler Fetterman
August 19, 1901 - November 4, 1985

Dorothy M. Weedling Fetterman
March 20, 1904 - November 26, 1964

Westlawn Cemetery, Canton, OH

Dorothy M. Weedling and Lafayette Ressler Fetterman

Lafayette Ressler Fetterman was born in Aristes, Columbia County, PA, the oldest son of 12 children born to Charles Oscar and Jennie Toleatha Ressler Fetterman. His daughter Gloria recalls him telling her that as a little five-year-old boy, he sold vegetables. Once he completed his education, he enlisted in the Army for a period of one year where he was stationed in Washington, D.C., and received an honorable discharge. After leaving home, he sent money to his mother. He was the first to move to Canton, OH, followed by his brothers Jim, John, and Louis, and sister Betsy.

In 1923, Lafayette, or “Jack” as he was known in Ohio, married Dorothy M. Weedling, daughter of John and Emma Weedling of Canton, OH. She was nineteen years old and he nearly twenty-two. Dorothy’s mother and Grandma Jennie Fetterman could speak Pennsylvania Dutch and Gloria remembers them doing that.

Dorothy had her first child Richard over two years later, followed by daughters Barbara and Gloria. “She was a wonderful homemaker—always preparing us wonderful meals, entertaining, spring cleaning, and doing all the chores. Since I had four hours of homework every week night in later school years, she told me if I practiced the piano, she would do the dishes for me. She sat down every month and worked out a budget. I wish I had a copy of one of her budgets because she had the cutest handwriting. I can only remember twice when I got severely scolded and spanked, because she had the patience of Job. She was always there for us.”

She played the piano and had an all-girl orchestra for quite a few years, mainly playing on Saturday nights. “I attended some of the evenings they played as a little child and once at my teenage dance. And there were many orchestra practices in our home.”

Dorothy developed Alzheimer’s disease in her early fifties. She was cared for in a nursing home and died on Thanksgiving Day of pneumonia.

Lafayette worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad for years, went to diesel school when those trains were introduced, and was the roundhouse foreman. Later, he worked for B&O Railroad. He was a worker and sometimes held two jobs. He was always willing to help people, even strangers. He was also a member of the Masons.

Any time his children had need for a repair of their bikes or roller skates, he was right on top of it. He never gave up on repairing things. Gloria recalls that one day he stood about eight hours on a ladder trying to fix the garage opener, which he did.

“The family was able to take free trips on the trains, so we took a few and went to Pennsylvania. Because Dad worked so much, we were limited in trips; however, once in awhile, we would go a few miles to see relatives and go for a drive to eat in a nearby town. Dad loved to go places. Mom said that he had ants in his pants!!”

His granddaughter Cathy recalled that during the summers he would pull out an old hand-cranked, black, icky-looking ice cream maker. “He would put all these wondrous ingredients in, then pour the ice and salt around the container and crank that thing for what seemed like hours. He made banana sometimes and strawberry sometimes. We would all gather around for that special treat—something that I have never tasted again in this lifetime! He enjoyed doing that for all us kids and family.”

Shortly after Dorothy’s death, Lafayette married a second time to Rose G. Bankovich. She died January 13, 1966, from complications that developed shortly after gallbladder surgery.

In 1975, Lafayette moved to California, and stayed with with his daughter Gloria and her family in his motor home parked in their driveway for over a year. He spent lots of time with his AA friends. He later developed leukemia, and his daughter took care of him nearly the last year of his life in their home.

Editor’s Note: A special thank you to cousins Gloria and Cathy for their contributions to this page and to cousin Jim, and his son for his photographic expedition.

Picture of plaque taken on April 2008.