FORTE, Norman Leroy Sr. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
- Born: Nov 11, 1890, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
- Marriage (1): LINK, Theresia Rosa on Jul 5, 1915 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
- Marriage (2): CASEY, Agnes Clementine on Aug 13, 1960
- Died: Dec 8, 1980, Erie, Erie, PA, USA at age 90 8
- Buried: Calvary Cemetery, Erie, Erie, PA, USA
Norman Leroy Forte married Theresia Rosa Link when she was 18 years old in Philadelphia. This is about the age he was when running in track for competition. There are several medals dated 1908 that I have rubbings of. He won the 100 yard dash at OGSC, 3rd place in the 75 yard dash in another and the Middle States Championship at the University of Pennsylvania on another. (F-431)
Norman and Theresia Forte's children have shared the following recollections of their parents. Their father was a good provider, but wasn't around for active involvement with his older sons. Photography was one of his interests. He was always taking 16mm motion pictures of his family. About 10 of these films and his old projector are in the possession of Doris Forte Dudick. He also did some of his own dark room work and a few of these pictures still exist. He made jewelry and worked with precious stones. He loved to dance. Any normal day, he'd be dressed in a suit and tie. (F-625)
Norman was from a family of very strong willed, unique individuals who never really got along when they gathered. At crisis points in his families' life, ex: upon parents death, Norman, seemed to be the only son capable of making the decisions and handling the affairs.
Theresia, is remembered by all of her children, with respect. They feel she was a "real lady." They can't remember her raising her voice or hitting, yet she always maintained discipline. She seemed to be understanding with her children. Hank and Link remember her letting them borrow the car when he needed it. She loved to read, play cards, go to the movies, listen to the radio, be with friends, and dance. She had all of her children take piano lessons. Link, Betty and Hank took the most lessons because of their interest in it. She would dance with her children. Her all time favorite music was "The Nutcracker Suite." She was a fantastic seamstress and a good cook. Physically, she was always very thin and smoked cigarettes. She didn't weigh over 100 lbs. She was in a fashion show in her younger days at the Keswick Theater at Keswick Ave., Glenside, Pennsylvania. Norman, her husband, used to recall this with pride. She was a member of the American Red Cross during World War II.
The life she and Norman established for their children was very regular. Monday was wash day. Saturday night dinner always included thick steaks with mashed potatoes. Saturday night was also the bath night for the children. Some of her sons don't remember this very fondly. Sunday dinner included pork chops. Sunday afternoons, at least when Doris was a teenager, was a "Go to the Movies" afternoon. She died at age 61 from a brain tumor. All in all, her children described her in glowing terms.
The following information about Norman and Theresia's residences and jobs is from a combined interview of Bud, Doris, Link, Hank and Bill at the Sept., 1988 Forte Reunion at Indian Lake and from a much earlier interview of Norman Sr. himself. During World War I, "Papa," as his grandchildren called him, couldn't get drafted because he had too many children and an important job. He considered himself a self-made Civil Engineer who learned the ropes from his father, not from any college. Employment records would probably list him as a Tar Salesman.
While the War was taking place, Papa was invited to Hog Island Navy Yard, S.W.. Philadelphia by President Wilson to the christening of Kwis Konk--the first concrete ship or liberty ship. He then started supplying that shipyard.
Due to the nature of his job, and his own personal interest in enjoying changes in housing, he and his family moved a great deal. All of his children were born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at one of the following residences: (in 1915) Detroit St.; (1916) 3808 Delhi St.; (1917-18) 915 W. Butler St.; (1918) 4521 Morris St., Germantown; (1919-20) 138 Keswick Ave., Glenside; (This is verified in the 1920 Census for Chiltenham, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania Norman is listed as a Sales Engineer in merchandising. They had 3 children at the time, Henry, Norman and Marie. Theresia lists her birth place as Pennsylvania and her parent's as Germany. F-261) (1920) 5713 N. Marshall; (1921) 414 Roberts Rd.; (1922-24) 935 Kenmore Rd. in Overbrook; and (Aug. 1925-June 1931) 17 Teague Ave in Glenside. Kenmore Road is where Henry contracted diphtheria. Whenever a family member caught a disease such as measles, whooping cough, etc., the whole family would be quarantined to the house for around 3 weeks. This was a typical health practice at the time.
Norman and family can be found living in Abington Township, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania in the 1930 census. Norman was age 38 and his wife was 32. He owned his own home with a value of $8700.00 at the time. He and his parents were born in Pennsylvania. His wife was born in Pennsylvania also, but her father's birth place was Baden, Germany and her mother was born in Hessendomstadt, Germany. Norman is listed as a commercial traveler in the building and brick industry. Henry, Norman, Marie, William, Julius and Doris were members of their household. It also states that Norman was 23 and Theresia was 18 when they married. (F-665)
After the start of the Depression, in 1931, Norman got a job with Barrett Company and they moved to 825 Walnut St. Norman was a good provider and his family of six children did not feel the effects of the Depression. This also meant that he was often at work and gone during the week. He spent Sunday afternoons working on his expense account. His sons remember him calling down, "What does the speedometer read?" This was information that they retrieved for his reports. He and his wife were from stern English and German backgrounds, respectively, and their word was law. None of the children remember arguing with their authority till they were grown. Bud went to Cathedral Grade School for 8th grade and Cathedral Prep School in 9th & 10th. Henry, who was called Harry, was nicknamed Hank by his peers here, because there was already a Harry in the group.
Nineteen Thirty Two found them living at 655 W. 8th St. in Erie.
In 1934, they moved to Rose Point in Roxbury, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Here, Bud attended Cochran Junior High School for the end of his 10th grade year and the senior high for 11th and 12th grades. He was a member of the glee club. His appreciation of music is quite evident in 1988 also. He graduated in 1936 and first went to work for Barrett Company as a shipping clerk. (This was the same company that his father worked for.) Henry worked at National Radiators in the Billing and later the Tabulating Dept. He remembers working with IBM equipment in 1936/7 that was the for-runner of today's computers. Doris started first grade while at Rose Point in 1935. There address at this point was on Agnes St., and then Second Ave in 1936.
World War II started. Bud left in 1939 to join the Army Air Corp. Norman still worked for Barrett, a division of Allied Chemical and Dye Corp. in the Tarvia Division. They were the largest corporation next to General Motors in the whole world at that time. (F-17)
Further moves took them to 1319 Menoher Highway in 1939 and 1028 MillCreek Rd. in 1940, both in Johnstown, Pennsylvania
When the U.S. was drawn into World War II in 1941, all of Norman and Theresia's children except Doris who was underage, joined the services. Linc, Bill and Bud were all Radiomen. Linc and Bill were in the Navy, Linc being stationed in New Calidonia, Australia. Bud was in the U.S. Army Air Corp. He was first stationed in Langley Field, Virginia, then in Java, East Indies (now Indonesia) and when Java was attacked by the Japanese for it's oil wells, he was stationed in Melborne, Australia. He met his future wife the first day he arrived in Melborne at a pub. After the war, he went back to Australia and married her. There is a whole Forte branch now living there because he made his life's home with his new wife there. His brother, Henry, was in the Quartermaster Corp in North Africa. His sister, Betty, was a W.A.C. Amazingly, this whole family survived the war without injury. (F-236)
On the home front in April, 1942, Norman, Theresia and Doris moved to Sawyer Rd., in Bradford, Pennsylvania where they owned a house for the first time since Philadelphia. Norman was known for his love of new cars. He had a brand new car about every 2 years. It was in Bradford, where he owned a LaSALLE. His kids remember many of his cars as being very special, ex.: A Chrysler New Yorker, (Sedan) metallic blue with a blue interior. Also, it was here that Doris Forte met her future husband, John Dudick. After she married, Norman and Theresia sold the farm and moved to State St. in 1948 and then Vista Circle in July of 1949, still in Bradford, PA, then on to 2285 Kensington Ave., Kenmore, Buffalo, N.Y. in 1950. It was at this point that Allied Chemical, Norman's employer wanted to move him to Syracuse, New York after shutting down the Tarvius division. He was unhappy going to a totally new city and therefore switched employment to Allied Bituminous. (pronounced Bitchimuns)
Soon after, Bituminous moved him to Erie, Pennsylvania. Bituminous was bought out by Ashland Chemical. Erie is where Norman and Theresia spent their
remaining years. (F-228)
A couple years after Theresia died of a brain tumor, Norman remarried Agnes Casey. They lived at 728 Michigan Ave. in Erie, Pennsylvania and had a long marriage of 20 years. Her son inherited their furniture and mementos. Edward Forte's (Norman's grandfathers) original diary was amongst his effects that likely went to Agnes' son by her first marriage. This is noted in the hopes that the original diary can one day be found. Norman's mass was held at St. Jude the Apostle Church at 11:00 A.M. He and his first wife are interred in Calvary Cemetery, Section 27, Lot 381. 9 10
Norman married Theresia Rosa LINK, daughter of Julius LINK and Elizabetha Wilhemina ECKSTEIN, on Jul 5, 1915 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA. (Theresia Rosa LINK was born on Feb 22, 1897 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA 11, christened on Jun 6, 1897 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA,12 died on Aug 15, 1958 in Erie, Erie, PA, USA 13 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Erie, Erie, PA, USA 14.)
Norman next married Agnes Clementine CASEY on Aug 13, 1960. (Agnes Clementine CASEY was born on Feb 25, 1904 and died on Jul 11, 1986 in Erie, Erie, PA, USA 15.)