As I’ve had vacation days through these 2017 end-of-year holidays, I’ve completed a scanning project of our family photos, to the tune of 2550 pictures. When I found this one of my son in the pits in front of a stock car, it brought back memories of the days when my son was small and our family attended Stock Car Races at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kansas throughout the summers.
In this picture, my son Matt Klein is standing on the trailer that bears the stock car #7 driven by Clarence “Clay” Bontrager. His dad, Bill Klein, is behind the car in the cowboy hat.
Clarence was one of our favorite drivers on the stock car racing circuit. The picture below shows Clarence giving special attention to a blind man. allowing him to become acquainted with the car through touch.
At the time my family attended the races in the late 1970s and 1980s, the Bontrager name only referred, in my mind, to a favorite Stock Car driver in Kansas. But in the 1990s I learned of a new instance of the Bontrager name. I remarried in 1994 to Larry Jamison and learned that his former mother-in-law’s maiden name was Bontrager. In the following years, I became interested in family history and have been able to prepare this brief chart to show that there is a close connection between Clarence Bontrager and Anna Mae Bontrager, Larry’s former mother-in-law. They are second cousins.
Another fact that amazed me as I continued to research this connection is that Clarence “Clay” Bontrager just passed away December 16, 2017. Just barely over two weeks ago. I hadn’t thought about him or the stock car races for 30 years, and as I’m scanning pictures on Dec 30, I see my son standing by his car and then learn of his recent passing. I’m simply amazed. And easily so.