The Mekkelsen family of Arlington, MA and Norway
The Mekkelsen Family
Nils Mekkelsen (born 19 October 1870 and died 21 May 1943) and Maren Munsen AKA Monsen ( born 21 January 1875 and died September 1967) both grew up in Norway but neither knew each other before coming to America.
Arriving in America circa 1891 Maren took a domestic position on an estate in Concord, Massachusetts. She was unable to speak or read English, and at some point she taught herself these important skills. It was on this estate she met Nils Mekkelsen.
Nils was employed as a teamster on the estate, tending the horses and wagons. Later he worked as a conductor on the Boston streetcars.
After Maren and Nils were married 2 April 1895 they lived in Concord and Somerville, Massachusetts. They had five children: Daisy (born 1895), Martin (born 30 August 1896) and Maurice (born 1904), Ellen (born 1907), and Doris (born 1910). They lived in Somerville until the early 1930s when they built the family home on Newport Street, Arlington, Massachusetts.
John Mekkelsen was born April 13, 1923 in Somerville, Massachusetts to Marion Billings Mekkelsen and Martin Mekkelsen. He was the youngest of three boys. His mother Marion Billings ( born 18 August 1897 in Dorchester, Massachusetts )was of Irish descent, she died 23 August 1928. His father was a musician who played trumpet professionally. In the 1950s he was the stationary engineer for the city of Waltham, Massachusetts . Martin died March 1967 in Waltham, Massachusetts.
When World War II broke out, John, or Jack as he was known to his friends, joined the Army and landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France on D-Day plus-one. He was a truck driver and hauled men and material in the combat zone. He achieved the rank of staff sergeant and spent the latter part of 1944 at Fletcher Army Hospital in Cambridge, Ohio, recuperating from an injury received during his European service. Jack recovered from his injury quickly and was known to sing with the base band that entertained the servicemen.
While a patient at Fletcher Hospital Jack met Betty Smock, (born 3 September 1927 in Columbus, Ohio and died 17 October 2006). Betty was a telephone operator at Fletcher Hospital. Betty and Jack were married 1 February 1945 in Cambridge, Ohio, they had three children.
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