Christmas cards seem like they are slowly becoming a thing of the past. With electronic means to send picture messages via social media, it seems like a more economical, and faster, way to get personal wishes of “Seasons Greetings” to friends and loved ones. This is especially true for those procrastinators among us.
However, there is something pure and special about the Christmas card, or should I say Christmas/holiday image, regardless of time period. It preserves us in time, an image of a person or family from a specific year of our existence. It’s the measuring stick of our life as it is an annual occurrence. Regardless, this is what we have come to expect of cards of the last few decades as digital cameras have given so many more options for us to design our own cards from the comfort of our own computers. One can employ online templates and websites to get the job done. Before this, it was only an added bonus to find Christmas photos, and sometimes that coveted family group shot, stuffed within a traditional fold-out Christmas card.
Four years back I wrote on the origins of this tradition, and some of the local progenitors here in Frederick such as David H. Smith and H. F. Shipley.( http://www.mountolivethistory.com/stories-in-stone-blog/hf-shipley-and-other-spirits-of-christmas-past.) In this Christmas edition of “Stories in Stone,” I simply want to share three photographs that are among those featured in in a 2008 picture collection publication by the Frederick News-Post, of whom I wrote about just a few weeks back in chronicling the papers’ founder William T. Delaplaine. The individual work I’m referencing is entitled Frederick County, Maryland: Your Life. Your Community. Presented by Your Paper (Volume III).
On page 18 of the above-mentioned book, one can find five photographs exhibiting magical Christmas morning scenes, all with adorned Christmas trees as backdrops. The oldest of these is the image above with a caption that reads: Emory Gomber Nusz-Maternal grandfather of Virginia Lee Best Rinehart.” The photo was taken in 1898 and is featured in the book courtesy of Virginia L. Rinehart.
Emory Gomber Nusz was born April 19th, 1894, the son of Emory Mobley Nusz and Mary “Mamie” Virginia Gomber. Sadly, young Emory never met his father as this gentleman died in August, 1893. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I’m guessing this was shortly after learning that Mary was pregnant, if he knew at all. I found the following obituary summary on Findagrave.com for the elder Emory Nusz:
Emory Nusz was a well-known minor leaguer and semipro player in Maryland who appeared in 1 game for the 1884 Washington Nationals of the Union Association. He was later employed at Isaac's Cigar Factory in Baltimore until he founded his own establishment in his hometown of Frederick, MD. He continued to play semipro ball in his spare time, even as he was employed as a traveling salesman for a York, PA tobacco firm. He was prominent in base-ball circles, and was considered to have a fine knowledge of the National Game. He last season as a player was spent at second base in the service of a local team named the Athletics. He was tragically killed when he foolishly tried to jump off of a moving train and was run over at Point of Rocks, Maryland.
(Note: I’ve enclosed the actual, full obituary at the end of this story for your reading pleasure.)
Despite not having a father, Emory grew up in a loving household and was principally raised by his mother’s family which groomed him to one-day take over their machinery supply business in town. He attended local schools including the Frederick Academy, and followed by attending college at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA.
Emory returned to work in the family business, a firm he would eventually lead until his retirement in 1949. The home of the business still stands today at 36 South Market Street, within what is known as the Gomber building, which you will note is our subject’s middle name and his mother’s maiden name. Today, Flippin’ Pizza fills this retail space.
After retirement, Mr. Nusz, the little boy on that Christmas photograph taken over half a century earlier, shifted his energies toward banking, and served as a director of Frederick County National Bank over the next decade. All in all, he had certainly become one of Frederick’s leading businessmen. Mr. Nusz died on January 27th, 1960 and was buried next to his parents in Mount Olivet’s Area F/Lot 62.
On page 17 of the Frederick County, Maryland: Your Life. Your Community (Vol. III) publication, one can backtrack one page to find a delightful Christmas card sent by Jeanne Bussard, who was in her mid-late teens at the time of its sending. The photo dates from the early 1950s and was submitted by Kimberly Smith Madden.
The subject, and sender, possesses a name that is boldly familiar to many longtime Fredericktonians—Jeanne Bussard. She was the namesake for the former Jeanne Bussard Center, opened in 1965. This non-profit organization was funded by the county government and the families who supported The Arc, Association for Retarded Children of Frederick County. This important entity was founded seven years earlier in 1958. The original sheltered center was named by Jeanne’s parents, Fran and C. Lease Bussard in memory of their daughter, who died at age 21.
Jeanne Frances Bussard was born on August 23rd, 1936. Upon birth, she was plagued with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Jeanne experienced other health issues in youth as well. She was hospitalized in the winter of 1937 after contracting pneumonia. Ill-health would continue throughout her abbreviated life, precipitating a number of surgeries (primarily throat) experienced and special schooling needs. Miss Bussard certainly faced tremendous difficulties, but she is said to have “never stopped loving, laughing and learning.”
Jeanne’s vigilant parents remained ever optimistic. As a matter of fact her father was described as the most optimistic Optimist by a television station as Mr. Bussard rose in the ranks of the International Optimist organization, and began serving as the international president of the organization in 1956.
Shortly thereafter, Jeanne’s parents led the charge to create the above-mentioned shelter. In 1958, the Association for Retarded Children of Frederick County formally began.
While I’m at it, I would like to add that the Harmony Grove School (now known as Rock Creek School) opened its doors in 1959 to 24 children as the first "special" school. In 1965, the Jeanne Bussard Workshop became a reality as it would be funded jointly by The Arc and Frederick County Government. The Jeanne Bussard Workshop would begin with just six people and opened at a time when there were few school, government or community services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
For 47 years, this nonprofit served its mission of promoting and providing employment opportunities for people experiencing disabilities through education, training, rehabilitation, and work. This would be the case until 2012 when the center closed abruptly.. Fortunately, this mission has since been reinvigorated as "The Arc at Market Street", continuing the efforts begun by the Bussards so many years earlier.
They say a photograph can say a thousand words. Since I first laid eyes on this one (found on page 115) about ten years ago, I received a good feeling about this family and felt that those friends and family who received this as part of a Christmas greeting back in December, 1958 were so lucky to know the James W. Bosler family. I must confess that I don’t know this family in any way, shape or form. A few years back, I checked our cemetery records to see if any family members were actually buried here in Mount Olivet. I learned at that time that Mr. and Mrs. Bosler are at rest here in Area RR/Lot 64.
I duly filed that thought away until I decided to act on it this week for the “Story in Stone” we are trying to tell right now. A research scan of vintage, local newspapers didn’t tell me much about the family as well. I also did not find any clues that led me to believe that they were railroad enthusiasts in any way. I did find that Mr. and Mrs. Bosler were native Pennsylvanians, both hailing from the Carlisle area. They also celebrated a 50th anniversary of their wedding vows.
I learned all I know about James William Bosler from reading his obituary, found in a paper in his old hometown of Carlisle.
James’ wife, Dorothy, would pass just 46 days later, a very tough thing for the Bosler children to experience—something that happens more than you think. I found a written transcript of Dorothy’s obituary online in an archive holding Frederick News-Post obituaries. This one appeared in print on May 2nd, 2005:
Mrs. Dorothy (Hall) Bosler, 82, of Frederick, died on Saturday, April 30, 2005 after a brief illness. She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, James W. Bosler, who passed away on March 15, 2005.
Born on July 16, 1922 in Shippensburg, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Walter S. and Margaret P. Hall. She resided in the Frederick area since 1951. Mrs. Bosler was a member of Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday school for several years. She was an avid gardener who loved spending time at home with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She is survived by three children, Patricia B. Siedling and husband Bill, Jill B. Cejka and husband John all of Frederick and Thomas J. Bosler and wife Cathe of Bull Head City, Ariz.; seven grandchildren, Kristen Curtis and husband Brad, Kip Siedling, Kara Siedling, Greg Thompson, Tyler Cejka and Brad Cejka all of Frederick, Sam Bosler of Bull Head City, Ariz.; Two great-granddaughters, Delaney and Finley Curtis. She is also survived by four sisters, Janet Ocker and husband Harold of Mechanicsburg, Pa., Peggy Ditzler of Shippensburg, Pa., Julia Cox of Carlisle, Pa. and Barbara Eagle of York, Pa.; one brother-in-law, George Commerer of Shippensburg, Pa.; as well as many nieces and nephews. Mrs. Bosler was preceded in death by a daughter, Christine B. Thompson; two sisters, Betty Reddig, Gladys Commerer; and a brother, Robert Hall, all of Shippensburg.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4 at Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church, 8 W. Second St., Frederick, with the Rev. Dr. George G. Earle Jr. officiating. Serving as pallbearers will be Bill Siedling, Kip Siedling, John Cejka, Greg Thompson, Brad Curtis and Mike Ramsey. Interment in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Frederick.
From Mr. Bosler’s obituary, I learned that daughter Christine (Bosler) Thompson had predeceased her parents. She had died at the age of 53 on August 17th, 2000 after a long illness. I found her picture on Ancestry.com in the Frederick High Yearbook as a member of the Class of 1965.
Christine was buried in Mount Olivet’s Area RR/Lot 87. She is located only about ten yards from her parents. I did not get the chance to talk to any of the Bosler’s surviving children: Patricia, Juliet or Thomas. However, I am truly hoping that they see this article, and go to our comment section—at least they could fill us in on other facets of life pertaining to this iconic 1950s family!
So there you have it, three photographs that either fully explain, or simply intrigue wonder and thought in others at this all-so-special time of the years. Only one thing left to say to you and yours, Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings.
Below is the obituary of Emory M. Nusz, father of our subject Emory Gomber Nusz.