My father, Fernand Pierre Courtois, left no writings about his heirs, nor was he ever forthcoming about telling the family members his paternal or maternal history. Except, the history books and museums in Europe documented his family, Bernard Courtois, Iodine creation as one of the original elements. I was named Charles Bernard Courtois, for my great-grand-father on Dad’s side.
On the other hand, the maternal side of the family Google provided an excellent source of information that made it into the New York Times. The Hyde’s, have left a legacy which is now traceable in Google. I read a lot of it. Some of it was quite shocking! I have had to rely on one of grand dad’s hand written pieces given to me by his oldest daughter, Medora Hyde Messenger, who was born nine years before my mother, Genevieve Browning Hyde Courtois to decipher some parts of grand-dads’ early beginnings in N.Y., N.Y. Grandpa Hyde came to the U.S. to attend business college, and after it’s completion in 1888 he went to work for the then mayor of N.Y.C., Mayor Gaynor. He worked for him as a attorney his entire life while holding various civil and political offices at the same time.
The family, two off-spring from Genevieve and Fernand, are: Charles Bernard, and Jeanne Marianne Courtois, and their children and grandchildren.
It is my hope that this memoir will give all who follow me a small, but insightful amount of their roots
I was born in Beth Page, New York, Charles Bernard Courtois, into an august heritage that I will never live up to in this lifetime. My mother and father were multi-lingual, Dad, being the linguist, spoke French and Arabic fluently; and German conversationally; mom studied and learned French in France in the 20’s.
I followed suit with French as a child, German as a young man, and Spanish in 2002. My German was fluent because of attendance to the university there to learn the language properly. My Spanish is self-taught and I have developed a reasonable fluency being a translator for Latinos as part of my prison ministry, Kairos.
During World War II my Dad was put under house arrest because he worked for the French Line. This meant he had a shadow accompanying him every day until the war was over. Most of his travel was to the New Port News ship repair port, where he was responsible for translating the freight charter documents from Arabic into English and French.
I learned to play bridge on my first round trip passage from New York to Le Havre in 1950 on the U.S.S. DeGrasse, a French Line Passenger Liner, that had been just reconverted back to a passenger ship from a U.S. troop ship during World War II.
We sailed from pier #88 on the East river for France in June, 1950, and returned in August after touring many cities throughout France, spending a goodly portion of the summer in La Ciota, a small Mediterranean seacoast city about ten kilometers west of Marseilles. Although a child of thirteen the two voyages about nine days each between New York and Le Havre, provided me a full measure of bridge expertise which would lead to my participation in duplicate tournament bridge at national and international levels later in my life.
My father was the Director of Freight for the French Line at that time. When we arrived back in Cleveland, Ohio, we moved out to the sticks: Thompson, Ohio, where I attended a high school of 40 students for two and a half years. I was still coasting on what the nuns had taught me so well in grammar school.
AFTER DISCHARGE IN GERMANY
My wife became pregnant in 1961 and the medical school dream went away. I settled on being a commissioned salesman for a living; selling, buying, and making deals all over the world. World travel was more interesting to me than burying my head in university libraries. A degree didn’t seem imperative for being a salesman, but I never stopped reading a lot and being the best at what I was.
Although brief in time compared to my lifetime, I worked for some excellent companies that shaped my business acumen. Once I was forced to abandon medicine I chose to learn my trade from some key companies. I began with McGraw Hill, as a sales and advertising, straight commissioned, Director for Germany, after my discharge from the Army in Europe.
From This Marriage
(Fernand & Genevieve)
Came a Son and a Daughter
• Charles (Charlie) Bernard Courtois (1936-)
Two children: Charles Bernard II (Chuck), & Noel Theresa. There are 5 grandchildren: Charles III, Emily, Alisa, Ashley, & Lanette
• Jeanne Marianne Courtois (Apr 1942 – Jan 2012). Jeanne had four children: Shawne(deceased), Wendy, Lori, and Jennifer who have nine children between them.
The Courtois’ have no other family alive.
MY SECOND MARRIAGE
In July of 1980 I met my new wife and married her 8-29-1980, Charlotte Edge Davis, in Decatur, Georgia. She had one son, Joseph Patrick Davis, who was a year younger than my son, Chuck. Joe married and had a son Joseph Patrick Davis, II. – Born 1991 – So, we have six total grandchildren between us now.
Charlotte is an only child. She has a B.S. degree in Nursing, and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration, both from the College of Saint Francis in Illinois. She spent the majority of her career at the Dekalb Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia. Her earlier nursing training was at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. She retired in 1995 and has since enjoyed volunteering in various ministries in the church.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR 35+ YEARS
As of this writing Charlotte and I have been married for thirty-five years on the 29th of August this year, 2015. Since she had never traveled much I began with some 3-4 day weekends to Bermuda, and a week in Abaco, an island in the Bahamas. On the Abaco trip we invited a couple to go with us, a nurse friend and her husband, Chuck and Frankie Jackson.
We had a wonderful time together and decided to plan a two week European excursion since we were compatible traveling together. A couple of years before I took her on a two week European trip with two of my bridge partners, Phillip and Sam who we spent a lot of time listening to classical music with on a regular basis. On this vacation we rented a car in Brussels where we landed and started our trip at this point.
In little of no time we had changed a Georgia Peach into an avid traveler. Now that we are retired she has traveled enough to say: “Enough travel is enough”… Last update 9/11/2015
October 2015 – St Joseph Church Directory