My grandparents met in Banff

This week’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge from Amy John Crow is “Courting,” so my thoughts turn to a picture of the first days of my paternal grandparent’s meeting each other.

Edith Kuester, Fred Dews, Banff, Alberta, Canada, ca. 1936. Photographer unknown. Author’s personal collection.

This is Edith Kuester and Fred Dews on a train excursion in Banff, Canada in about 1936. My dad always told me that they met on this trip. He was from Chicago, she was from Milwaukee. Excursions to Banff, Alberta, Canada and were (and still are) a popular getaway. They may have seen an advertisement in their newspaper like the one below:

“The Capitol Times” (Madison, Wisconsin), July 5, 1936, Newspapers.com

They were both already in their 30s when they met. Fred was about 36, and Edith was about 31. He had never married, but she had been married once for a brief period, but I do not believe he knew about this prior marriage, which didn’t end well.

Here is another set of photos from that trip, which my grandmother helpfully labeled, from top left clockwise: “Real pals.,” “Nice going,” and “rather sober.”

Edith Kuester and Fred Dews, Banff, Alberta, Canada. Photographer(s) unknown. Author’s personal collection.

They were obviously already fond of each other, judging by the hand-holding and arm draping. In the picture of them sitting on the park bench, they are in different clothes, so this must have been a multi-day encounter.

Fred Dews and Edith Kuester married in Chicago on Christmas day in 1936, so if the trip was indeed in 1936, it was a fast courtship. Their first child—my father—would arrive just about 13 months later, in January 1938.

Fred and Edith remained married for 45 years, until his death in 1982.

— Fred Dews

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