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Zeb & Vallie's Photo page -
This handsome guy is Zeb and Vallie Reece’s 3rd child, my Uncle Vance Henry Reece. He was born on December 17, 1928, probably at the
house in Kenmore, OH. He married Eleanor Giuriceo on September 9, 1951 in New York. (The same day his sister, Janice, married George
Emerson in Ohio). Ellie was the daughter of Nicholas and Mary Giuriceo. She was born on May 14, 1927 in Bronx, NY and passed away on June
Because this page is about someone who is still very much in our lives, it will consist more of stories and photos I want to share. Census records
can be found on his (Zeb Reece and Vallie McClure) parent’s pages. But I just had to include him now so I could get him to tell me more stories!
Uncle Vance has always been one of those larger than life people in my life. He has always had a big personality and a big smile. He tells great
and many stories. I have tried to put them in some sort of order here.
He has a lot of them about the time they spent living on a farm on the North Carolina/Georgia border. Grandfather (Caswell) Reece had a farm
just south of Warne, NC [Brasstown Township of Clay County] with land in NC and GA. The land was divided between GA and NC by a barbwire
fence. . It would have been in 1936-1937. See his brother, Alvin’s, page for more on that and the Timeline of the family for more information.
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in 1991 he met up with a few of his siblings. In this case
Vance and Clifford.
ca. 1936, Click on photo for the full
image of all the children.
“When we lived in NC when I was young boy Grandpa Cass Reece taught me how to split and make shingles that he put on the roof of the
barn I was helping him build. I was his shadow as everywhere he went I went.”
Well here is another one about when we were living on the farm –
“One night my white German police dog called Tiny, who was trained to hunt raccoons with dad's coon dogs was out looking for a coon and
found one. He got on its trail and started to barking and barking. I guess dad got ticked off and yelled up to me to wake up and go quiet my
dog. Well it was raining, so I got my old rain coat, my little single shot 22 rifle, and a lantern and took off to find Tiny.”
“I could hear the barking coming from the far corn field. When I caught up to where he was at, there he was going around and around a
coon snapping at the coon’s behind. I got the 22 ready to shoot the coon and told Tiny go stay and as the coon watched Tiny I let him have
it right between the eyes. He was a big one as he was 28 lbs! There was a contest going on at the Akerman's Country Store for the largest
coon taken that hunting season. I won the contest and dad told me that I had a good coon dog. The prize was 25 dollars.”
“When we came back up to Ohio from NC after the depression I got up early one morning and took off to see the circus. Well when mom
and dad got up they looked all over for me but could not find me. They checked with everyone but no one had seen me. They got so
worried as half of the day had passed and I had not gotten back home. They decided to call the police. They found me in the afternoon
with Tom Mix (a top cowboy back in those days). He had me on his horse Tony. The police told me that my mother and father were
worried about me and that I should not do anything like that again. They took me home but that was not the end of it mom and dad were
very happy to see me but I also got a good spanking for doing such a thing.”
I bet he was what they call a
'handful' when he was a little
“I started to work for the people next door when we got back to Ohio from NC. At the age of 9, I was working on the muck farm where
they grew veggies every summer five and six days a week from almost daybreak till the sun set…at least 10 hours a day for 20 cents an
hour. Al, Lou and I worked at the farm. I also had a newspaper route it took at least 1 to 1-1/2 hours every day to deliver them by
Vance and brother Alvin
Unknown year, best guess 1940
Then when he grew up, he says
“I was building tires at Firestone in 1944 and 1945 while working at Firestone with Dad. They called him Smoky and me Little Smoky because Dad always talked
about the Great Smoky Mountains in NC.”
I thought the nickname came from the pipe I seem to remember Grampa Zeb smoking. Zeb continued to work at Firestone for 38 years.
This is a photo of a tirebuilder at
Firestone from about the right era. I
always thought he looked like Vance's
When asked how he ended up living in New York – this was his reply:
“Well it is like this, I was in the Navy and it was my turn to work in the mess hall from the radio department of the ship. I was made second in charge of the ones working in
the mess hall. The one in charge was a chief boson mate. When we got into NYC or should I say the Brooklyn Navy yard for repairs the chief went into NYC and ended
up with woman and after the evening out he asked her if he could see her the next evening which was Saturday night. She gave him her phone number and said to call
so he did. When he called, she said she would go out if he would get someone for her sister. He said ok. The catch was her sister already had a date. She then begged
her sister to break her date and go with her as she wanted to go with the chief. It took some talking to get her to go but she did say ok. The chief then asked me if I
wanted a date that he had a very nice girl for me and I said ok. You can say it was a blind date.”
“That was Oct 16th 1948. It took about two or three weeks before I got another date. I keep pushing for dates and kept getting them. We were married on Sept 9, 1951,
a year before I got out of the Navy. When I got out of the Navy I started working in construction here in New York and have held just about every kind of job that a man
could hold. I guess you can say we must have been doing something right because we will be married 61 years this Sept. That is how I ended up in NY.”
Vance is in the second row, second from the
right. Homerville High School in Ohio.
Note: The photo I used at the beginning of
this page is his high school graduation
picture from 1948.
Navy Boot Camp ca. 1948
Vance in USN Radio school
At sea on the
APV 54 USS
Most of these photos were printed out
and sent to me from Uncle Vance.
Sorry for the quality.
Vance with a PBM amfib plane
ca. 1954, with son Vance Jr
Washing his car
And one more story –
“When Uncle Dow came to a family reunion at Vivien's, he told us that mom had twins after Alice (Between 1935-1940). They were premature and died
because mom was only in her fifth month.” (Vallie would have been 35-40 years old at the time)
“He also told us that she lost another boy from drinking milk that came straight from a cow. (Vivien’s twin, Gregory?) I do not know if there is any record of
it. I remember that at one time some of the milk straight from a cow could do that. In fact Ellie (Vance’ wife) lost a brother at six months old from the same
thing. It was not long from that they had a piece of paper which you squirted the milk on to that had four dots on it and if the dot changed color from an
udder the milk was not good to drink. That is why they started to pasteurize milk as they were having quite a few babies dying because of it.”
The same email as above Vance also
“I have a book on Reece name but my
oldest son has it now reading it. It has
the Reece coat of arms in it and says
that the Reece name spelling was
written a lot of ways as people would
write it the way it sounded to them.”
(I have not seen this book. I will try to
get the title from him and look for it.)
And another thing or two -
I have a few more photos but wanted to put this out there.
I wondered where Doug McClure (Douglas Osborne, 1935-1995) fit in. The McClure’s side would come from Vance’s maternal grandfather.
I found quite a bit of information on Ancestry.com regarding his immediate family, but nothing that connected our two branches together.
Given the great family resemblance between Vance and Doug McClure there is most certainly a family tie, I just could not find it.
Vance plowing the garden
|He worked hard all his life and had some fun too!
Boar hunting - unknown year
Hunting is definitely something he enjoys!
Vance is also big on family!
Vance and his older brother Alvin 2012
Vance and extended family, ca. 2011
Unfortunately, the lovely Ellie passed away on June 30, 2015, and will be forever missed. She is interred at Raymond Hill Cemetery, Carmel, NY.
Vance will tell you that he misses her more than words can say as she was and is the love of his life.
He emails a little, talks on the phone to various family and has settled a bit but travels some and he still lives in the house he built for Ellie on the
hill in NY.
If anyone has more stories, any
updates or corrections, please feel
free to email me at
email@example.com and I will
take care of it promptly!
"I have a 50 year gold member ship card in the Laborers'
International Union of North America/"
"I coached basketball and baseball for twelve years at a
boys club here in Westchester County, NY"
"I was also a good archer and gave lessons in it. I took a
lot of trophies in shoots through out the state over the
Vance and Ellie on their
1970s at Vance Jr.'s wedding
Vance and Ellie at son Robert's
wedding late 1908s or 1990's
2014. Vance and Ellie (Vance says that
she was 87 here! She looks amazing!)