• • •  WALTER EUGENE ISALY • • •  
March 11, 1891 - December 2, 1962
Son of Charles Isaly and Bertha Loew Isaly
Married to Henrietta Isaly - GRAMMA
Father of Betty Isaly Latham, Walter "Bud" Isaly, Earl Isaly
Grandfather of Tom Isaly, Chuck Isaly, Patty Isaly Withycombe, Ray Latham, Anne Latham Stiles, Ellen Isaly Clark
  
Read article and see photo of Walter E. Isaly, found in the book, The Bench and Bar of Ohio 1939-1940, at the home of Ray and Ginny Latham.
  

alter Eugene (Grampa) Isaly was born in Columbus, Ohio on March 11, 1891. He was one of five sons born to Charles and Bertha Isaly, and most of them followed in their family's footsteps and worked in the family business, the Isaly Dairy Company. Read about Isaly's here.)

Grampa earned his law degree and established a law practice in downtown Columbus. He also served as the Isaly's company attorney for a period of time.

Gramma and Grampa at 2342 Arlington AvenueGrampa married Henrietta Abernethy (Gramma) on October 24, 1916 and shortly thereafter, they purchased a new home in the developing suburb of Upper Arlington. At the time our home was built, there were no residences north of Lane Avenue!

He and Gramma had three children: Betty born in 1918; Bud, born in 1920; and Earl, born in 1924. After my father, Bud, was killed in an automobile accident in 1953, he and Gramma decided to take me in and raise me. I was less than two years old at the time. What a brave decision for a man who was 63 years old! Grampa lived until I was 11, and he died of a stroke on December 2, 1962.

What kinds of memories do you have about Grampa Isaly? I remember the day we was up on a ladder mounting a basketball hoop for me. He nailed it into that tree trunk about five feet up! Of course, he was planning to adjust it as I grew taller, but I remember that when Tom, Chuck and Ray came over, they made fun of it because it was so low!

Grampa IsalyI also remember how Grampa spent a lot of time in the garage, polishing the "machine." That's what he called his Cadillac. Remember that blue monster with the fins? It was a 1956 Coup de Ville, as I recall, and he loved that car! It had the clear plastic seat coverings, of course, he always had it buffed to a high gloss.

Remember the stuffed squirrels up on the rafters in the garage? Those things freaked me out. I was scared to go in there because I was always suspicious that they might come to life and attack me. Grampa even had a desk and chair out there; it was his "Guy Place," I guess.

And who can forget the cigars? Can't you picture Grampa sitting in his chair in the corner of the sunroom, cigar in hand?

From Tom Isaly: Reminiscences regarding Grandpa Isaly

Ellen had requested some "stories" regarding Grandpa and she of all people should know that Grandpa's persona was such that "stories" hardly seem applicable, but rather impressions of Grandpa must substitute. Not that I didn't know Grandpa well nor do I have any problem with my recollections thereof. He was, however, pretty much one of a kind, some would say one of two or three, but we don't need to go there.

Grandpa was an old style gentleman and respected member of the bar, both of which he was proud of and cultivated to a certain extent, in public. He could often be found on a weekend, puttering around the yard while wearing a tie and cardigan sweater. I have only the vaguest recollection of ever seeing him in an open collared shirt. He would have his usual cigar in the corner of his mouth, smoked down to one inch in length and currently unlit. I always thought he ate them until later years when I observed them being discarded. While on the subject of the yard, his singular compelling task was to somehow keep Auntie from driving off the driveway and into the yard. Some will recall the long thin strip of asphalt lined on both sides by reflectors on steel rods, meant solely for the purpose of reminding Auntie where the asphalt ended and the yard commenced. Nevertheless, Auntie was able to persevere and get the reflectors and the yard in one fell swoop, to Grandpa's continuing dismay. There was no question in my mind as to the depth of despair endured by Grandpa at these moments, as his colorful language did not escape my attention, even in my earliest years. Incidentally, no disrespect is intended towards Auntie as she was a wonderful sole. She overstayed her retirement from North High School for four or five years so she could be there when I arrived in 1960. That was sufficient for her and she immediately retired. As an aside, Auntie's driving was stuff of legend and Chuck should tell the story of a particular sojourn up the Scioto River Road and someone should tell the story of Auntie's outing to attend the opening ceremonies of Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Golf Course in Dublin.

Perhaps my first recollection of Grandpa was the Packard, always polished and immaculate on the left side of the garage, it shared with squirrels, forever frozen in the tableu they had assumed immediately prior to their untimely demise. There was a workbench and a table and chairs where Grandpa would have the occasional beer or shot of whiskey, which was discouraged in the main house. There were the cherry trees which had wonderful fruit and were always good for climbing. There was Mr. and Mrs. Lathrop working in the yard. There was the replacement of the Packard with the blue and white Cadillac. There were the girls on the other side of the house - were they named Flowers? I can no longer recall. Was it not the Arch-Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church (Econimedes) who lived across the street. It was either that or someone who dressed awfully funny.

It's time for a trip to the law offices of Walter Eugene Isaly, Esq. Initially, my earliest visits would be to his office at the southeast corner of Gay and High. For ten cents you could take the trolley (electric buses) downtown and get off right across the street. At that time Grandpa had a partner but I don't remember his name. He had a secretary but I don't remember her name either. Perhaps someone else can remember. The office was dark and remotely scary but there was the trip out for a hamburger and fries. Later visits, say after 1956 or so would involve a trip in the Cadillac down Arlington Ave. to Lane Ave. and over to the Olentangy River Road and down to Broad Street. We would park at Central High School and walk over the Broad Street bridge, in the shadow of the Lincoln-LeVeque Tower, to his office at the Huntington National Bank building. I can't remember the office but the walk was always memorable. Grandpa, resplendent in his suit with vest and hat and people on the street would tip their hats and say "good morning Judge". Columbus must have been fairly small then because everyone on the street knew Grandpa.

Ok, I'm winding down. Grandpa was pretty much incapacitated by a series of strokes, culminating in his death when I was a senior in High School. The first one wasn't terrible but thereafter he lost his ability to talk, which was enormously frustrating for him and ultimately he couldn't walk. He still liked to visit and we had a few fishing trips. Would load up the wheel chair in the Cadillac and head for Grove City where he had a client with some lakes on his farm. We went to another farm with lakes too but I can't remember who it belonged to or even where it was. At any rate, these are some of my recollections.

Walter Eugene Isaly by Ray Latham

Grandpa was like a father figure to me from the time that I was approximately 6 years old. At that time, I remember spending time with him puttering around the house and shadowing him as we did various chores. It wasn't very long before we took a trip up to Lane Avenue and bought a Lawn Boy power mower which made it possible for me to mow the lawn even though at that age I was unable to start it. Any time I did a job, he was always very sure to inspect it. He always called me 'Doc'. If I ever tried to take a shortcut, he always discovered it and made sure that the job was done right. It was a life lesson that I have never forgotten.

As time went by, I spent nearly every Saturday with Grandpa visiting the various rental properties, making repairs, or working around the Arlington Avenue house completing my chores of mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, and trying to eradicate termites. He liked the fact that I understood electricity and was able to install light switches and such even though I'm sure he was watching me closely, I never felt as though he was. I took an interest in the grandfather clock that hadn't worked for years. He allowed me to work on it unattended and after a couple of months of persistence, I got it working again (to his surprise and delight). He willed it to me as a result, and it still works to this day where it sits prominently in our living room. I remember all of us picking cherries on the cherry tree - but the birds got most of them.

He was a very serious man which by most, was misunderstood. He was firm in teaching me lessons about honesty, hard work, and character. Like my cousin Tom, I remember visiting his office on High Street and parking at Central High School and walking across the bridge. I distinctly remember his office in the bank building and I loved to visit on Saturdays when the tenants would bring in their rent ( I liked to count the money).

When he had his stroke, I was one of the first on the scene arriving on my bicycle shortly after the ambulance. He was seated on the ground, unable to speak, although I felt he recognized me and he clearly was frustrated by his incapacity. In those days, the ambulance simply transported him to the hospital so the damage was considerably more than it would have been today. Upon his arrival back home, Grandma needed help at night (after the 24 hour nursing stopped) and I stayed over for several months. When Grandpa needed to get up in the middle of the night, it was Grandma and I who assisted him. I felt he was improving, but he was never himself again.

Today, I often think of him. His companionship and guidance early in life has stood me in good stead. He was always firm but fair. He was always kind and a real gentleman. He had a dry sense of humor and I loved having discussions with him out under the cherry tree where he sat each night. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had him as a mentor.

If you would like to write your memories of Grampa and send them to me, I will post them here.

  Grampa wearing one of his many hats! Grampa with Betty, Bud and Earl    Grampa, the distinguished attorney  
Grampa with Anne, Ray and Ellen