The grandfather I never met
Andrew Milton Vance (“Milton”) was born in Cloverport, Kentucky to Alexander Milton Vance and Mary Dean on November 27, 1901. His father Alexander was a civil engineer who worked for the railroad. Milton was the second of four children; sister Violet was one year older and sister Mary Lee and brother Dean were younger. By 1910 the family was in Pierce City, Missouri, where Milton’s patneral grandparents, James and Rachel Vance, lived. By 1920 they lived in the Highland Park area of Dallas. Milton attended high school at Dallas High School, Dallas, Texas and graduated in 1918. He attended Park College in Parkville, Missouri, and taught school in Missouri for two years. He was back in Dallas in 1922, where he lived with his parents at 5010 Worth. His grandmother Rachel Scott Vance, by then widowed, also lived with them.
He attended law school at the University of Texas from 1924-1926, where he was a member of Phi Delta Phi, Honorary Law Fraternity and also an active member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity there. He graduated from law school in 1926.
In 1927 he lived in Houston where he worked as an attorney in the Cotton Exchange Building and resided at 701 Colquitt. Although in 1930 he had a large attorney listing in the Houston phone directory that showed he worked in the Gulf Building and lived in apartments at 1505 Kipling, the 1930 U.S. Census shows him still living in Highland Park Town (Dallas) with his parents, brother Dean and sister Mary Lee. In 1933 he is in the Beaumont phone directory at the Goodhue Building.
He married Helen Ruth Heisig of Beaumont on June 12, 1930. They lived in Houston and had a son, John, in 1937, but divorced in 1940 when the boy was 3. Milton was living with his parents in Houston at age 38, per the 1940 census.
Milton married Nina Whittington Vance in 1946. Nina Vance became the founder of the Alley Theater in Houston, in part due to the support she received while married to Milton. He installed the electrical and stage lighting in the first theater, provided financial support, and helped in her promotional endeavors . They divorced in 1958. They had no children together.
Atlhough Milton was mostly absent from his son John’s childhood, when he was a teenager he re-entered his life by taking him to dinner and offering to buy him a car and pay for his college. John attended the University of Texas and majored in Mechanical Engineering, earning three degrees (up to a doctorate degree) with his father’s help.
Milton loved dogs. When John was in college, Milton bought two dogs. He gave one to his son, a collie which they named Hotshot. Milton’s dog was an Afghan Hound named Selim. Milton and Selim were so bonded that later when Milton got sick, Selim mourned his absence with wailing, and when Milton died, the dog died soon after.
Milton died April 26, 1962 and was buried at Memorial Oaks Cemetery, Houston, Texas.
I never got to meet Milton, but his grave is across the street in the cemetery from my young son Brian’s grave. He is buried alone. wedged in between two unknowns.