Charles William developed severe cataracts in both eyes as a very young child. At about age five a doctor operated at the family home to remove them, but was unsuccessful on both eyes. Charles was functionally blind for the rest of his life. Despite his disability he was very proud of the life he built -marrying; buying a house at 9235 Birchdale in Cleveland; raising three children; and working at several jobs.
As a young man he attended the Ohio School for the Blind in Columbus where he learned piano tuning, how to read braille and other life skills. While there he met his future wife Rose Mary Kleiman (1876-1958) who was visiting her blind sister Wilhelmina Kleiman (1866-1960), a fellow student.
Charles and Rose Mary were married June 19, 1901 at Sacred Heart in Brighton/Brooklyn where his mother Charity Amelia Thomas (1840-1926) and possibly some of his siblings still resided. In attendance were his godfather William Greif (b.1855) and his cousin Imogene Thomas (b.1878) (wedding notice clipped from newspaper). The couple honeymooned in Buffalo, New York at the World's Fair where President McKinnley was shot.
Back in Cleveland Charles worked as a piano tuner for the school board. A deaf man by the name of Northrup drove a horse and buggy from school to school while Charles tuned the pianos at each stop (biography clipped from newspaper). This job ended when Northrup died.
Charles found other jobs. He worked in a broom factory operated by the Cleveland Society for the Blind on East 55th Street. For a while he assembled radios for the Sterling Manufacturing Company at East 30th Street & Prospect and also assembled various small items at home on a piecemeal basis. The family eked out a living thanks to Rose Mary's skill at stretching what little they had: Charles' earnings, a small blind pension from the state and contributions from the children when they finished school and went to work.
Charles was active in a Social Club for the blind sponsored by the Cleveland Society for the Blind. He also played the viola, read braille and listened to music and talking books on his wind up Victrola.
Charles seems to have retired early and was supported in his declining years by his youngest son Carl Joseph Vanderwyst (1910-2002). He apparently enjoyed playing cards with the neighbours. He passed away at his home at 9235 Birchdale in June 1952 (Cleveland Necrology File). He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland with his wife.
William Albert Vanderwyst was born in 1902. He took a two-year college course in pharmacy, but never worked in that field (possibly due to the onset of the Great Depression). He was married in 1935 to Irene Brennan but was later divorced and seems to have been ostrasized from the rest of his catholic family because of this. He remarried to one Eileen Anderson Miller. He was a postal worker in Cleveland from the Depression until around 1961 when he retired and moved to California. He died in 1967 at the age of 65, survived by his second wife. He is buried in San Fernando Mission Cemetery, San Fernando, California (Cleveland Necrology File).
Lilian Rose Vanderwyst was born in 1904 and married Pat Carl Young in 1926. According to his obituary he was a natural-born athlete who excelled at almost every sport he attempted. He was past national AAU fancy diving champion, won the district Lightning class sailing championship at Edgewater Yacht Club, of which he was a member, and was an accomplished bowler and a national YMCA handball champion. He was also president of the Northeast Ohio Amateur Athletic Union for a while (Cleveland Necrology File). Pat and Lilian co-ran Pat Young Service Co., a wholesale automotive part distributing business in the Cleveland area. Lillian's residence at her death was 15717 Brewster Rd., East Cleveland (Cleveland Necrology File).
Carl Vanderwyst was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young man he wrote religious poetry and seemed inclined to become a catholic priest, but was dissuaded by his mother (family legend). Instead his brother William Albert Vanderwyst (1902-1967) got him a job with the U.S. Postal Service and he supported his parents through the Great Depression and through to the 1950s. He retired in the 1970s and moved to San Marcos, California. He was a great lover of golf, tennis and especially card games. Carl died in 2002 at a retirement home run by Chaldean Nuns.