John Kent HOPKIRK was the second son and third child of Frank HOPKIRK and Iva JONES
Betty Anna Johanna ROHWEDER was the eldest child of Max ROHWEDER and Alice HARDER.
Betty went by the name of Betty Joan Hopkirk.
Kent's first name was John, named after his maternal grandfather, John Elliott Jones, but he went by the name of Kent.
The story was that he was called Kent because his grandfather lived close by and they didn't want to have two people answering to the name John. We don't know how much truth there is to that, but his younger brother Frank Eldon HOPKIRK went by his middle name of Eldon, presumibly because they didn't want to have two Franks in the house.
Kent was born on March 30, 1907 in Ruskin, Nebraska. Ruskin is a town with a population of about 190. Kent's uncle, J. R. Parsons, owned the bank in town.
As a young boy he remembered an old man came to town one day and wanted Kent's father, Frank, to go off to the gold fields. Frank told the old man he didn't want to leave his family like his own father had. Kent believes the "old man" was Frank's father, Kent's grandfather, James Hopkirk.
He also remembers as a young boy roaming around the lumberyard, managed by his father, and finding a couple old burnt crosses. He does not know if his father was part of a group that had burned them, or if his father had just taken them after they had been burned. As far as we know, there were no blacks or Jews in Ruskin, so the target of the crosses may have been Catholics. This, of course, is pure speculation.
Go here to see a picture of Kent's grade school class of 1916. Obviously multiple years.
He graduated from Ruskin High School in 1924, part of a class of seven.
He attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln for one term, in 1924, and then dropped out. He then drove a tanker truck. His normal run was between Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Kent had been dating Betty from the nearby town of Deshler, Nebraska. In Febraury of 1936 her family moved from Deshler to San Mateo, California. Kent followed her to California, and on June 7, 1936 they were married. Kent and Betty lived in an apartment on B Street in San Mateo after they were married. Kent's sister Harriet and brother Eldon also lived them on B Street for a time.
It was around this time that Kent began working for George Arthur and Sons, a construction company in San Mateo, California.
Kent and Betty's eldest son believes Kent and Betty were offered a free lunch to look at property in the White Oaks neighborhood of San Carlos, and they were talked into putting $10.00 down on a $600.00 corner lot, 404 Pearl Avenue. Kent began construction on their first home around 1938. Go here to see those pictures.
Shortly after the completion of their new home, their first child was born.
During World War II Kent worked in the shipyards. Betty's sister Lydia, and Lydia's son, also lived in the home during the war, because Lydia's husband was away in the army.
In 1946 they sold their house at 404 Pearl Street and bought a new lot three blocks away at 133 Garnet Street and purchased a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home at 158 Broadway in San Mateo.This street was later renamed East Hillsdale Blvd. During the next 2 or 3 years Kent built their new home, a 3 story Cape Cod Colonial home. It looks like a two story home from the street, but the driveway goes down the side of the house and the two car garage, laundry area, work shop, playroom, bath room, and train room are on the bottom level. Kent's father died in 1946, and the original plan was for his mother, Iva, to come live in the new home in the big bedroom on the top floor.By the time Iva arrived in California from Nebraska, Kent's sister Harriet's husband had died and Harriet had 4 young children to raise on her own. So Iva moved into Harriet's home at 930 East Grant Place, in San Mateo.
After World War II was over, Kent returned to work for what had then become Arthur Brothers construction company of San Mateo. Go here to see a copy of Kent's paycheck dated July 27, 1949 for 40 hours of work.
Around 1953 Kent finally completed the large bedroom on the third floor, since another child was on the way. The home was now close to 3000 square feet.
One of the construction projects Kent worked on was the splitting and enlarging of the church on Tilden Avenue in San Mateo in the mid 1950's.
In 1958 Kent and Betty purchased another lot at 328 Santa Clara Ave, in an unincorporated area of Redwood City, south of the Woodside Plaza. In June of 1959 the family moved into their new home, a single family ranch style home.
In 1969 Kent suffered a heart attack, at the age of 62. After a short time off from work, he returned to work doing mostly finish carpentry.
He permanently retired around 1972.
In 1973 Kent had knee surgery, and never was really the same after that. We believe their was a problem with the anesthesia, because his mental condition dropped significantly after the surgery.
On October 10, 1975 Betty passed away at their home.
Kent's dementia increased and on November 19, 1980 he passed away.
View a picture of Kent
View a picture of Betty
Photo of Kent and Betty and the Wedding Party on 7 June 1936
Photo of Kent and Betty Wedding Party with names
Backside of above photo with descriptions
View a picture of their middle child on top of the fort in the "lower 40", along with "Huckleberry"
Memo, George Logsdon, pictured in the 1936 photo above, arrived in San Francisco, California before 1930. He worked for Max Rohweder in Deschler, Nebraska before moving to California. Max left Nebraska in February 1936, moving his family to San Mateo, California...after he determined it was a great place to grow flowers. It also helped that his former employee George and his wife Hazel were already in nearby San Francisco. George was a paperhanger, obviously learning his trade from Max, as Max owned a painting and wallpaper business in Deschler..
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This page was last updated on August 22, 2009