Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mangus Family Lore: Chester H. Gray, 1950

Here's mom at her wedding with her father, Chester H. Gray. Chester was the Corporation Counsel  of Washington D. C. This is the title given to the chief legal officer in some municipal and county jurisdictions, who handles civil claims against the city, including negotiating settlements and defending the city when it is sued. According to Wikipedia, in Washington D.C., the former Corporation Counsel, now known as Attorney General, prosecutes adult misdemeanors and juvenile delinquency cases in addition to traffic and local ordinance violations. What I remember most is that Grandad had a city license plate on his car of "4." The President's was "1," the VP's "2", and so on, so we thought, wow, he 's a real power broker in our nation's capitol.

Unfortunately, he died at the age of 65, just a week after retiring. Since we lived in Guatemala, Canada, and then Alaska, I only got to visit him a few times on vacations. He was the first Grandparent to die. Even so, he made a huge impression on me. He was urbane, loved reading mystery novels, playing cards, chess, and the had a "system" for betting on horses. He smoked, drank dinner cocktails, and he wasn't shy about putting huge pats of butter on his baked potato. Family lore has it that he was an amazingly fast touch-typist, and he learned the law at night school. I believe he got a signed letter of commendation from FDR for his invaluable typing skills in the service. This photograph is exactly how I remember him.

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