Jack and Jean at the time of their wedding
Jean Catherine Morry Born: 1 Aug. 1923 Ferryland, Nfld. Married: 23 Jan. 1946 Died: 13 Sept. 1996 Parowan, UT
Jack W. Funkhouser Born: 18 Jan. 1912 Hershey, NE Died: 12 Feb. 1992 Parowan, UT
Aunt Jean was the inspiration for this website, though she would not have known it, since it did not materialise until after her death unfortunately. She was the original Morry family historian, along with Dad Morry. Beginning in the early 1960s, they collaborated with one another, mainly by mail, but also through frequent visits by Dad Morry to her homes in California and later in Utah. By the 1970s, she had compiled and registered with the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon), which she had by then joined, an extensive family history of both the Morrys and the Mintys, the family lines of her father and mother. These lineages went back nine generations in Newfoundland and in Devon and Scotland, respectively. This was a remarkable achievement for the times, since she did not have access to any form of online information and was unable to personally travel to the repositories of the relevant information in Britain. To be sure, she was greatly assisted by the enormous database of information available in those days exclusively to Mormons, but which later became available to the general public.
Two decades of research by me and other family members after her death in 1996 have not been able to drive back the mists of time much further into the past though, with the assistance of modern online databases and many research trips to both Newfoundland and Britain, the details that were somewhat inexact in Aunt Jean’s research have been perfected to a certain degree and expanded horizontally to include more family members and relations via marriage.
In addition to compiling a detailed family history, Aunt Jean was also responsible for preserving many irreplaceable family heirlooms in the form of original documents and letters, but also many family photographs going back to the earliest days of photography. In this she was assisted by Dad Morry, who recognised in her the best hope of having these precious mementoes preserved for future generations. Consequently, each time he visited his daughter he brought with him from Newfoundland large collections of such materials to leave with her for safekeeping. He also shared some of these kinds of artefacts with his other children outside of Newfoundland, but Aunt Jean was his main collaborator on family history and hence her collection was by far the most extensive. The collection is now safe in the hands of her daughter, Karen, who shares her mother’s interests in this regard and who has shared with me copies and sometimes the originals of these invaluable materials.
The Early Years in Ferryland
Jean was the fifth of nine children born to Howard Leopold Morry and his Scottish war bride, Fredris Minty Powdrell Minty. Her first Christian name represented antecedents in the Minty family, Jean or Jane, a common substitute in Scotland being extremely common in her maternal line, and her second was similarly representative of the Morry family, principally her grandmother, though the name Catherine was also found amongst her Minty ancestors.
The out-of-focus photo above is included here because it is a very important family heirloom. It is the only known photo of the entire Morry family up that time, that included daughter Priscilla, who died at 2 years of age in 1932. Therefore this photo would have been taken most likely in the summer of 1931. Jean would be the first on the left in the front, with Catherine and Elsie beside her, Tom, Bill and Reg behind, and Dad Morry with Phyl and Mom Morry with Priscilla in her arms. Howard did not come along until 1934. This is the earliest known photo of Jean.
Elsie and Jean swimming in Ferryland with Cousins, ca 1934
Catherine Jean and Elsie, ca 1934
The War Years
Aunt Jean was only sixteen when war broke out and, like millions of other young people in those days, was deprived of the innocent enjoyment of her adolescent years to a large extent. Still, being in a remote part of Newfoundland, which was in itself a remote part of the British Empire at the time, at least initially there were still moments of simple enjoyment with family.
Haying with Dad Morry, Phyl and Howard Jr., ca 1939
Trouting with Dad Morry and Howard, ca 1940
After completing her high school in Ferryland, Jean and her sister Catherine had to travel to St. John’s to attend business college and take higher education. During that time, they stayed with their eldest sister, Phyllis at her house at Springdale St. That house was purchased with the financial assistance of Dad Morry, since neither Phyllis nor her husband, Bert Mercer, had much savings after their return from a two year posting at a Hudson’s Bay Post in St. Augustin, Québec, on the Labrador border. Here is a photo of Jean and Dad Morry with Phyllis, Bert and their second son, Blaine, in front of this house. And another of my father, Jean’s brother Tom, with a friend, Ted Wilson, taken in the same area of St. John’s. And finally, one of Jean’s sister Elsie with Jean and Phyllis holding her daughter, Fredris.
By the time that these latter photos were taken the war was in full swing and St. John’s and indeed all of Newfoundland had become an armed camp with bases for British, Canadian and US forces spread throughout the island and even in Labrador. Although the reason for their being there in the first place was a tragedy in the making, there were many happy times as local Newfoundlanders tried to cheer the troops and make them feel welcome. It was at this time that Jean met a handsome American Quartermaster named Jack Funkhouser. They are seen in the photo below on the right along with my parents on the left, an English sailor, Howard Junior, Mom Morry, a friend, Fred Smallwood, and sister Phyllis with her son Blaine in the front.
As the war was coming to an end and Jack and Jean were thinking of marrying the decision had to be made where to live. But in effect that decision was made for them by a narrow-minded parish priest in Ferryland who personally spread rumours about the couple. Jack had been married before enlisting and divorce was still not recognised by the Catholic church, so any second marriage would be looked upon by the more bigoted of the clergy as “living in sin”. So Jean made the decision to emigrate to the US with Jack.
Post War Years
Jack and Jean were married in Las Vegas on January 23, 1946, just after the war ended and Jack received his discharge from service.
At the beginning, they lived in Chino, California. All three of their children, Karen, Morry and Fredris, were born in California.
But later, when Jean converted to the Mormon faith, the family moved to the Salt lake City, Utah, area and there Jack and Jean remained for the rest of their lives.