Walter Garver and Hazel Alwood were married in Clare County, Michigan in 1914. Over the next 25 years, they had fifteen children—in order, they were Doris, Charles, Wayne, Forest, Lester, Fern, Donna, Walter, Virginia, Max, Robert, Rex, Betty, Marlyn, and William. All survived to adulthood except the last, William, who died from congenital heart disease at only five days old.
|The Garvers in 1948 - Hazel and Walter front and center|
The fourteen surviving Garvers all grew up to marry and have children; my husband has 47 first cousins! They all got along well through the years and as far as I can see, they still do. Since 1948 the siblings have had a family reunion in Clare County every Labor Day weekend. The group gets smaller every year, but no less close. Last September there were only five of them still living—Forest, Donna, Virginia, Betty, and Marlyn—sister Fern being the most recent to leave this world. This photo is from the 1982 reunion, when all fourteen were still alive.
Two of the brothers came to a tragic end… In 2007 Max and his wife were killed in a fire in their house trailer, and that same year, Rex—who took over the family farm in the 1970s—was gored to death by a bull. But through all the years and all the tragedies, the Garver siblings have stuck together, supporting each other in good times and bad, helping each other whenever they could, and meeting together on Labor Day to remember those who have passed and celebrate their strong family bond. It’s a family I’m proud to have married into.