Born Marion Otis Elmer.
Date of death : disappeared on November 20, 1929. Declared dead in 1955.
Profession mechanic, driver.
Brother of Gladys Baker.
With such an instability and such a precariousness, the children Gladys
ans Marion, whitout being deprived of essentials, lived their first
years in insecurity; always on the move (as Della had been in her
childhood), they had no means to strike up friendships.
Between 1903 and 1909, they lived in not less than 11 houses and furnished apartments.
Otis behaviour and health deteriorated with an alarming suddenness. His
memory became capricious, his answers often irrelevant, he suffered
from violent headaches and his dress became more and more neglected.
Fits of rage which frightened Della and the children, alternated with tears crisis and he soon had violent shaking, sometimes followed by attacks.
Summer 1908 Otis became half-paralysed.
In November 1908 he entered the Southern California State Hospital, in Patton (San Bernardino County). A general paresis was diagnosed, final level of nervous syphilis (the treatment of this illness was only discovered in 1908).
This would mean that, in opposition to many interpretations, his mental illness was due to an incidental pathology and not to a hereditary illness.
Della often visited him at the hospital but only during the first months.
Then, he sank into a complete dementia; he didn't recognize her anymore.
Because she had to provide for her family, she had started to work.On July 22, 1909, whitout having left his hospital bed for 9 months, Otis died. He was aged 43.
However, the medical records given to her after Otis death, clearly explains that he died from an organic illness and not from a mental one. Della, Gladys and Marion were, regardless, intimately convinced that their husband and father, who died of an infection which had destroyed his nerve cells, had died of madness.On March 7, 1912 Della got married with Lyle Graves, chief switchman at the Pacific Electric, where he had worked with Otis.
The family settled in Graves's house, located 324 bis South Hill Street, in the new part of the Los Angeles business district.Soon, Della realized her mistake : Lyle had too, a distinct tendency for alcohol and had a violent temper.
For Christmas 1912 she went back to Graves home, apparently because she had no more resources.
But despite the gifts Lyle gave to the children, the reconciliation didn't last long.
Graves had even given to Della the management of his own salary.
On January 17, 1914 the divorce was granted.
End of 1916 she hired a room in a familiy hotel, 26 Westminster Avenue in Venice (California, south of Santa Monica).She sent her son Marion, aged 11, to live at her cousins home in San Diego; Della thought that a boy should be raised by a man.
Tall and strong as his grand-father Hogan, Marion was champion of swimming at high school.
On May 22, 1920, request for a change of his certificate of birth since he appeared under the name of OtisOctober 4, 1922 he married Denzel Elizabeth Boysen (May 4, 1905, California-October 8, 1991) in Kern, California.
On September 20, 1924 he married Olive (Olyve) Lavena (Lavina) Brunings (March 6, 1905,
They lived for 5 years in Salinas, north of California.
They had three children :
1928, El Segundo Beach
On November 20, 1929, around 2.00 PM, he left his home to go to work, and told his wife he would be back around 5.30 PM, as usual; but he never came back and nobody heard about him any more.The Bureau of Missing Persons didn't find his trail and the local police didn't even manage to retrace his itinerary of this afternoon.
The California Motor Vehicle Department of Sacramento, having been contacted by Olive, was yet powerless, and also the police from the 4 nearby States.Marion hadn't contact any of the members of his family, including Gladys, informed the following day of the disappearence.
His more recent employer, Joe Zerboni, owner of the Union Storage and Transfer Company, was also flabber gasted. He had no idea about nor the place where Marion could be, neither what he could have become.
Ida Martin, his mother-in-law, contacted a detective agency, the Shayer Detective Service of Los Angeles; but 3 years of researches didn't produce any clue.
In 1935, his wife Olive, "with no resources and needed the help of the State", as she mentionned it in the official forms, started the legal procedure so that her husband would be declared dead
Thus, her 3 children, considered as fatherless, could receive a social fund help (the laws allowing help to separated parent changed a lot later; this procedure, at that era, was Olive's only resort).
But she had to wait that a man was declared missing for 10 years so that the State considered him as dead. Before this end, the family had to wait without any help from the State.
He was officially declared dead in 1955.
On December 7, 1963, Olive married Ivan K.Saltzman (1902-1975)(under the name of Olyve L.Monroe), in Clark County, Nevada.
BACK TO INDEX NEXT FILE