Helen A. (Austin) Erwin, 93, went to be with The Lord Feb. 26, 2007. Funeral services were held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, March 2, 2007 at Resthaven Mortuary, and she was interred in Resthaven Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas. She was preceded in death by husband Clifford H. Erwin, two brothers, and three sisters. Survivors are sons Clyde and wife Brenda, of Newton. Kansas, and Darrel and wife Shirley of Wichita; grandchildren, Deborah Toy, Tim Erwin, Douglas Erwin, Lt. Col. Michael Erwin, Pamela Erwin, David Erwin, Diann Wentworth; sixteen great grandchildren, and six  great-great grandchildren.

Helen Austin was born March 22, 1913, in Lamont, Greenwood County, Kansas, the fifth of six children of Frederick Clarence Austin and  Jannette Allen Crotchett. She married Clifford H. Erwin                                             February 1, 1933.

Clifford and Helen Erwin moved to California in 1938, and according to Helen, Clifford worked just one day in the fields with younger brother Raymond and their father, deciding that there had to be a better way. He and Helen and son Clydewho was then almost three—moved on south to Los Angeles County. He soon got a job driving a truck. Their second son was born later that year in Bellflower.

In anticipation of war, the shipyards in Long Beach began hiring, and Clifford got on as a welder. The work paid well, but it was hot and dirty in the holds of the ships, so he started looking around for more suitable work. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor the war effort was suddenly in high gear, and jobs soon opened up in the aircraft industry. Clifford was hired at Douglas Aircraft, and he worked there until 1944.

That summer the family moved back to Kansas. They settled in Sedgwick, a little town near Wichita, and Clifford started work almost immediately at Beech Aircraft in Wichita. He     worked there until early 1946 when the war contracts were cancelled or cut back.

In 1946 Clifford and Helen bought 160 acres near Altoona, Kansas, but it was a struggle to make ends meet on a small farm in those years. Clifford worked hard at being a farmer, but eventually decided that there must be an easier way to make a living. In 1954 they sold the farm, and moved back to Wichita. Clifford was able to get back on with Beech Aircraft, and worked there until 1961. Beech later merged with another company, and he was laid off due to the resulting employee consolidation. Cessna Aircraft, on the other hand, was hiring. Clifford started working for Cessna almost immediately, and was still employed there thirteen years later when he retired at age sixty-two.

Clifford and Helen’s early retirement years were spent on a forty-acre farm just outside Howard. They later moved back to Wichita. Clifford Erwin passed away in 1993. Mrs. Erwin lived at Presbyterian Manor in Wichita at the time of her passing.



Alf Clifford Hansen, Jr., 90, was born December 14, 1916 in New Haven, Connecticut, and died January 2, 2007 in De Land, Florida. Alf is survived by wife Norma, sons Rev. Ronald Hansen and his wife Robbie of Cherokee, Oklahoma, and Bruce Hansen and wife Linda currently doing missionary work in China; daughter Valerie and husband Matt Murphy of Cincinnati, Ohio; sisters Ruth Erwin of Lake Isabella, California, and Jean  Sharp of Phoenix, Arizona, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Alf Hansen lived a long and varied life. His father disappeared without explanation when Alf was just five years old, never contacting anyone in the family again.

Alf graduated from high school in 1933 at age sixteen, and joined the Navy the following year, serving until 1937. After his discharge he worked at several jobs, but when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 he was working at a Tollhouse Cookie factory                                                     in Boston.

He, like many others, looked for ways to help the war effort. He first worked about a year for National Fireworks in Hanover, Massachusetts, a company that had a contract making small arms ammunition. He then worked at the Fore River Shipyard near Braintree, Massachusetts from early 1943 until August 1944 when he reenlisted in the Navy.

During his second period of military service he served aboard a Navy transport ship making provisioning cruises from Pearl Harbor to Guam, and to Leyte and Subic Bay in the Philippines. When the war ended he got shore duty for a time

at Subic Bay while the Navy base there was being reactivated. Later assignments included: NAS Norfolk, VA, NAS Edenton, NC, NAS Atlantic City, NJ, then back to Subic Bay.

Text Box: Alf Hansen, ca. 1955
In June 1950 Alf was assigned to the NROTC program as an instructor at Notre Dame University, and served there until September                                             1953. Alf modestly mentioned to this writer that he was known there as “Handsome Hansen.”

His next assignment was to the USS Shadwell, an LSD that cruised for a time between Japan and South Korea. In late 1954 he was transferred to the USS Rolette, a cargo ship.

Alf’s next posting was to the Navy’s amphibious base in Coronado, California. In early 1958 he went to Landing Ship Squadron 5 in San Diego. He ended his Navy career there in September 1959 as a master chief.

After retirement from the Navy Alf worked for San Diego (California) County until mid-1962, then as an auditor for the Internal Revenue Service in San Diego, CA, El Centro, CA, South Bend, IN, Indianapolis, IN, and Cincinnati, OH. In July 1982, after twenty years of service with the IRS, he retired for the second time.

Eldest son Ronald recollected that when he was growing up his dad wasn’t one for camping out, and often made scornful comments about people who traveled with trailers. But somewhere along the line Alf must have changed his mind, for after retirement he and wife Norma spent many years “full-timing it,” first in a trailer and later in a motorhome. Even after “settling down” in De Land, Florida they put many miles each year in a mini RV, only giving it up when Alf was 87.

Text Box: Alf & new-found siblings Ruth & Al
Alf C. Hansen, Jr. did not have an easy childhood without a father, and wondered often why his father had left, what had happened to him, and whether he was even still alive. Some of  those questions were answered in November 2001, when he got a phone call from half-sister Ruth Flaherty Erwin. Ruth’s son Eric, searching for names of her ancestors, had made a connection—almost by accident, through the use Social Security records of deceased persons—to Alf’s mother.

No one will probably ever know why Alf and Ruth’s father suddenly disappeared and started a new family,                                                                          but Alf was pleased that he finally knew something about him, and was able to meet, and love, two “new” sisters and a brother. A lesser person would have held a grudge for being abandoned, but Alf made it clear that he did not. When asked about his feelings he said, “Life is too short to be mad. I’m grateful that after eighty long years our two families are together again.”

And Ruth said to her sister Jean when she learned of Alf’s death… “I’m sad that he’s gone, but I’m truly grateful that we had him for five years.”

Go with God, Alf.



Grace Sorrells Powers passed away on Tuesday, January 9, 2007. She had celebrated her 92nd birthday only two days before she went to be with the Lord. She was born January 7, 1915 to Robert Reginald Powers and Myrtle Holden Powers. She grew up in Baton Rouge, Hattisburg, Mississippi and Houston, Texas.  She graduated 3rd in her class at Incarnate Word Academy

Grace wanted to marry a knight in shining armor who would ride up on a white charger, but settled for the milkman, James Frank Sorrells, who delivered milk in a white uniform to her mother's home in a horse drawn wagon.  They were married forty-eight years before he passed away. Together, they raised four daughters and one son and ran a successful poultry business until they retired. After retiring , they moved to a farm in La grange, Texas.  About two years after her husband's death, she moved back to Cypress, Texas to be closer to her children. 

Grace was an excellent seamstress who made many of her children's cloths, costumes and prom dresses.  In later years, she used her sewing skills to make quilts for her grandchildren and many of her great grandchildren.  She loved to reading and gardening and did a great deal of volunteering in hospitals and church.  She even learned to use a computer in her late 80's so she could write her autobiography. She was a good cook and made wonderful lemon pies.  She maintained her own home until she was 91 when she became ill.  Activity, learning and new experiences gave her a full and fulfilling life.

Grace was preceded in death by her husband, James Frank Sorrells, oldest daughter, Mary Sorrells Donellan  and sister, Bobbie Powers Fisher.  She is survived by her remaining children, son Leon Francis Sorrells and wife, Marie; daughters Patricia Chapman and husband James Neil; Sharon Sorrells; Cecelia Malek and husband Victor James, as wells as twenty-one grandchildren and numerous great and great-great grandchildren.

A mass of Christian Burial was held at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church
in Cypress, Texas, Saturday, January 13, with Rev. Ryszard Kulma officiating.  A Right of Committal followed at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery. There was a reception at the home of daughter Cecile Sorrells Malek in Cypress following the services.

Mrs. Malek sent out the following note:

Dear Family and Friends,

On behalf of my Mother, I would like to thank everyone who sent cards and said prayers for her. It meant so much to her and was second best to a family reunion. Before Hurricane Katrina, my mother would ask me about once a week if we were still going to the reunion. I would assure her that nothing short of a disaster would keep us from going. Unfortunately, the disaster of Katrina prevented the reunion. Your cards and letters gave her a mini reunion for which I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. It meant so much to her.

Again, thank you ,

Cecile Sorrells Malek

Muriel Grace Powers Sorrells was a great-great-granddaughter of Lot Garrison (1805-1847) and Margaret Erwin (1812-1886). Margaret Erwin was a great-granddaughter of James N Irvine/Erwin (1709-1770) and Agness Patterson (1717-1800), our immigrant ancestors. –Ed.




Nancy Garrison Morgan, 98, was born February 3, 1909, in Watson, Livingston Parish, Louisiana, and passed away at 7 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007, at the Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge. Visitation was at Seale Funeral Home, Denham Springs, Louisiana, on Wednesday, February 14, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and in the chapel on Thursday from 10 a.m. The religious service was at 2 p.m., conducted by the Rev. Terry Booth and the Rev. Danny Henderson. Interment was in Denham Springs Memorial Cemetery, Denham Springs.

Mrs. Morgan is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Carol Ann and Edward Holcombe, Temple, Texas; son and daughter-in-law, Jimmy and Olive Morgan, Denham Springs; five grandchildren, Nancy Wilson, Kelly Denman, Jim Morgan, Craig Morgan and Holly Spano; and eleven great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, William Troy Morgan; parents, Arthur A. and Vina Vincent Garrison; two sisters, Mary Hatcher and Lila Mae Warner; and brother, J.W. Garrison. She was a member of First Baptist Church in Denham Springs.

Sylvia Kelly Smith, a Garrison cousin, remembers: “She was known in later years as “Miss Nancy,” and was always one of the earliest arrivals at both of our recent Garrison-Erwin reunions where she was awarded a prize for being the oldest Garrison lady in attendance.  She didn’t miss many of our fun meetings, either, where some of us cousins just got together to share information.  She was always enthusiastic about Garrison family lore. She wrote stories, identified old pictures, and jiggled her memory to help with many of the facts and family tales that appear in the Garrison family book.  Some of these were done with the help of her son and daughter, who had as much fun working on it as she did.  She was proud to have become a published author so late in life.

Nancy Garrison Morgan was a great-granddaughter of Lot Garrison (1805-1847) and Margaret Erwin (1812-1886). Margaret Erwin was herself a great-granddaughter of James N Irvine/Erwin (1709-1770) and Agness Patterson (1717-1800), our immigrant ancestors. –Ed.




Fred Clark, 92, who lived many years in retirement at Gatesborough Circle in Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky, died March 19, 2007 at Presbyterian Home, Clinton, South Carolina.

Fred held various administrative positions at schools in Park, Illinois. He was a member of Murray Lions Club, and was a past president of the Kiwanis Club at Elmwood Park.

Born December 15, 1914, in Calloway County, he was the son of the late Muncie O. Clark and Tempest Phillips Clark. Also preceding him in death were his son-in-law, Richard Miles, and a brother, Dorris Clark.

Survivors include his wife, Mayrelle Jones Clark, to whom he was married June 4, 1938, in Union City, Tennessee; one daughter, Mrs. Carole Miles, Piedmont, South Carolina; one son, Rodney Alan Clark and wife, Cynthia, McFarland, Wisconsin; one sister, Mrs. Quava Honchul, Murray; one brother, Pat Clark Carrollton, Virginia; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Margaret Mayrelle Jones is a daughter of Thomas Alva Jones (1879-1938) and Anna Pearl Erwin (1887-1977). Anna Pearl Erwin was a great-granddaughter of Joseph Lafayette Erwin (1824-1914) and Mariah Anastasia Erwin (1829-1909) who were first cousins.  -Ed.