Friday, September 4, 2020

It all goes back to Ulysses, Kansas

Throughout my childhood, I had limited opportunities to associate with my mother (Ruby Flanders) or her family. I knew, however, that one of her older brothers, Cleo Flanders, resided for many years in Ulysses, Kansas. I seem to also remember riding on a train as a young child to Chanute, Kansas to visit Uncle Cleo and his family. He and my Aunt Berta (Alberta Smiley Flanders) are pictured below with their son Ron and daughter-in-law Fran. 

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have come to know a little bit about Sheri Dew, who serves as the CEO of Deseret Book. Here's a brief bio of her from that company's website: 

Sheri Dew is a native of Ulysses, Kansas, and a graduate of Brigham Young University. She has written a number of books, including the biographies of three Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Presidents Russell M. Nelson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Ezra Taft Benson. She served from 1997 to 2002 as second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency and is executive vice-president and chief content officer of Deseret Management Corporation.

I was privileged to hear Sheri Dew speak in person a few years ago here in Colorado Springs. This is one of the pictures I took of her that morning.  

I admire her intelligence, faith, talents, and personality. Since I was born and grew up in Kansas too, I've considered her a "fellow Kansan" and often wondered if she had as classmates any of my cousins, the grandchildren of my Uncle Cleo. Today I discovered that one of Uncle Cleo's granddaughters was born just months after Sheri, also in Ulysses, KS. They must have known each other in school. 

I've wanted desperately to learn of an ancestral connection between me and Sheri and my research today uncovered that connection! As this chart shows, Sheri and I are 10th cousins. I'm thrilled!
In the months to come, I'll be in a position to learn more about the descendants of Uncle Cleo and Aunt Berta and will follow up with more on this story about the possible acquaintance of "my hero Sheri Dew" with my cousins and their families. I'll bring you up to date when I know more! 

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