Many, many years ago (around 10), as I was posting queries to message boards searching for information on my paternal Amore side of the family, I ran across a woman who I began an email relationship with. She was the granddaughter of my great-uncle Clarence Amore and his first wife, Nellie Buchanan. Sharon shared some pictures and what information she had, and I returned the favor. We were both of the same generation, both great-granddaughter’s of our mutual ancestor William “Henry” Amore and Mary Angelina (Annie) Werts (or Wertz – depending on how they were spelling it at the time). I believe that would make Sharon and I second cousins. Her grandfather, Clarence, and my grandfather, Lloyd, were brothers. The really cool thing (for me) was that Uncle Clarence and Aunt Mary (his second wife) had spent several days visiting us in our home. I was only a small child, but I remember him very well and would always get a hug from him at the big Amore-Baker reunion held every summer in Coshocton, Ohio. Not only did we share family history information but we shared stories about our immediate families.
The communication between Sharon and I slowed in the last five years or so. Once the initial “newness” of the family history search wore off, we weren’t corresponding as much as we had because the information we found didn’t come as quickly as before. Sharon’s husband was very ill and needed treatment for cancer, so she spent quite a bit of time with him instead of traveling to find records. She had written in December of 2004 to let me know that her husband’s cancer had returned and he was to start his chemo treatments as soon as his radiation treatments were over. Two months later Bob Brittigan passed away. Now that I think about it, she didn’t email to let me know and I was remiss for not contacting her with better frequency. I know I’ve emailed her since then, but I’m sure that in her grief and stress that happens after a death (will, taking care of personal issues), it wasn’t important enough for her to contact me.
Last week I thought I’d see if she was on Facebook – I’d looked before without any luck – and couldn’t find her so I did a google search of her name. That’s how I discovered that her husband had passed away in February 2005. I also ran across a listing in the Social Security Index for a “Sharon Brittigan”. Not my cousin! was my first thought. But the year of birth seemed correct and the state of issue would have been right. Finally, I hit upon her obituary via Ancestry. Sharon died on July 9, 2009. No cause of death listed other than she died at her home. I couldn’t tell if she was cremated because it listed the time for her memorial service as well as interment. I don’t know if she had been ill for awhile. I have no way of contacting her sons or siblings to express my condolences. I feel as if I lost a cousin – even though we had never met in person.
Picture from her obituary in the Washington Post
Sharon Lynn (Amore) Brittigan, widow of Robert Lee Brittigan, Sr. born on January 18, 1943 died on July 9, 2009 at her home in Virginia. She is survived by two brothers, one sister, two sons, and six grandchildren. Sharon was preceded in death by her parents, Theodore William Amore, on December 2, 1981 and Dorothy Belle (Moran) Amore on February 13, 2003. Sharon was buried next to her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.
In an email she wrote to me in January 2002, she said, “I’m working on a combined family book that incorporates the history of the times they lived in. It’s a challenge, but I’m learning an awful lot about what all the forebears lives must (or could) have been like. I’ve been to many of the places they came from and can describe those locales as a part of the history.” I hope that if there really was a beginning family history book, that her children have preserved and kept it instead of abandoning it to that “black hole” where so many ancestral stories, documents, and pictures have gone. I hope that one day, one of her sons or grandchildren will be searching the web and run across this blog, and get in touch with me. I’d love to have copies of what she wrote. What better way to remember her memory then to put her notes and words to use in helping our future Amore generations learn about their ancestors.
Rest in peace, Sharon.