November 8, 2021


This is one of the loveliest family photos in our collection—showing Clifford and Abbie Cate with their three little sons, Leroy, Ralph and baby Hoyt. Leroy (with a straight blonde haircut) and Ralph (with curly blonde hair) are perched on tall stools, while barefoot Hoyt sits on his papa’s lap. Certainly a beautiful family!

Fast forward a few years and we have a snapshot of the four Cate children probably on Easter Sunday. They now have a little sister, Dorothy! The brothers are lined up according to age, Leroy, Ralph and Hoyt. I imagine this was during a period when the parents were working hard to expand their dairy farm, and had little time for formal family portraits.  Dorothy was always a beauty, but this is one of the few childhood photos we had of her.

This family snapshot was made almost twenty years after that first one!  And now the group had expanded to include twin baby boys. Aunt Abbie is holding Delbert and Uncle Clifford is holding Elbert—their surprise additions. Leroy, Hoyt and Dorothy are on the left and Ralph is standing between his parents. 

Within the next two or three years, the three older brothers would all be in the military during World War II.  Leroy was an Army sergeant, Ralph a Navy pilot and Hoyt was also in the Army. Fortunately, they all came home safely. Tragically, four of these family members died by suicide—Uncle Clifford, Leroy, Delbert and Elbert. But on this day, they were an intact family of two parents, five sons and one daughter. Photos only reveal the present.

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