Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Gumpy"

Domenic Victor DePasquale was my grandfather. He was born in 1901 not long after the Galveston Hurricane in 1900. The story is... his parents had moved from Brazos County, Texas to Dickinson, Texas and opened a business. When the Galveston Hurricane hit, my great-grandmother, who was very pregnant with my grandfather, was trying to walk through the storm from their business to their home. She was carrying an oil lamp with her. The wind and rain were so powerful that debris was blowing and even hit her in the face, the force knocking her to the ground. The lamp posted here on this blog is the lamp she carried, the dent from her fall. Needless to say she was battered and bruised and fortunate that her pregnancy was still in tact. There could have been a change in history.
D.V. DePasquale graduated from Texas A&M College and then went to Cornell University where he earned his Master's Degree. He returned to Texas, married (you may have read about "Jean" earlier) and eventually became the County Engineer for Galveston County, Texas. He was determined to extend the Sea Wall in Galveston as it had successfully protected the area from other storms. D.V. was a key force in accomplishing this deed and his name is displayed on seven plaques near the Galveston beach. His memories of stories told of the Great Storm of 1900 in which 6,000 people lost their lives, must have had an impact on him. He lived to see his dream realized and today if
you walk on the beach of Galveston and see a plaque like the one below, you will see my grandfather's name.
Today is the anniversary of Hurricane Ike. When this hurricane hit I recall hearing reference to the Galveston Sea Wall and how it had held and although there was damage, there would have been more if not for the sea wall. 


D.V. DePasquale also served on the school board in Dickinson, Texas. He proposed to build a school for the African-American children and pushed to get it done. My mother recalled what a frightening time that was as the Klu-Klux Klan burned a cross on their front lawn. The school was built though.

After all this I have to share with you that we had a funny name for my grandfather. It was Gumpy. I know. It
has a disrespectful ring to it. But Gumpy said he didn't mind as long as we didn't call him "Grumpy". I have wonderful memories of this man and so proud that he made such a difference in many lives... and helped to shape mine.

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Absolutely fascinating!

Nancy said...

Another captivating story! Your Gumpy was truly an amazing man.