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.)
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
who can forget the cigars? Can't you picture Grampa
sitting in his chair in the corner of the sunroom,
cigar in hand?
Tom Isaly: Reminiscences
regarding Grandpa Isaly
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eugene Isaly by Ray Latham
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
you would like to write your memories of Grampa
them to me, I will post them here.