Yes, I'm sure it was incredibly tragic for the older kids, especially Carl. Ira's wife died when he was still a teenager, so he lost yet another parental figure young. I have seen family photos of Carl as a teen with young Lee and it's obvious he loved Lee very much. He was, after all, Carl's only direct link to his original family. I've heard different reasons why they were split up, but except for Betty, no one who might be able to tell the actual story is still around and Carl himself died in the late '90s. By the time Lee put the pieces of his story together, Carl was married with his own family, so I don't think they ever had a chance to really become brothers.
Just curious. How did you all learn this family history, and see photos?
I am just interested. :-)
While I'd prefer not to explain exactly who I am, I'm married to a Yeary family member. Never come close to meeting Lee Majors himself though, so I'm afraid I have no other tales to tell.
Wow, what losses for Carl - both parents, his older sister and baby brother, and another parental figure.
I tend to think that perhaps at that time, the importance of keeping biological siblings together and preserving original family ties was not seen as quite as important as we think it is today. I imagine that with family stepping up to take in orphaned children they were focused mainly on each having a home. Still so sad, though. And I imagine Lee's adoptive parents thought they were doing the right thing by just closing the door on the past.
Lee's A&E Biography show included a snapshot of his biological father Carl Yeary (although it was hard to tell what he really looked like) but no picture of his biological mother. I wondered why and what she looked like. He had to get those stunning looks somewhere!
Biological mom Alice is somewhat of a mystery. Both she and Carl falsified their ages on their marriage license because they were underage to marry in Michigan. It's believed she was the daughter of Scandinavian immigrants who settled in PA. I've seen a couple of photos of Carl Sr. as a very young man and he looked like a darker version of a young Lee. Same eyes and expression. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a photo of her but my guess would be that Alice was fair, as her son Carl was even more of a towhead than his brother. Betty had darker hair like her father.
Interesting discussion. I've always wondered about Betty, did she marry? kids? where does she live? Things like that. It must have been very hard on her and Carl to lose their family like that. Maybe one family member couldn't take all 3 in so they had to be split up.
Yes, Betty married, had a family, and ultimately settled in Ohio.
I can't say for sure of course, but my guess is the age differences between Alice Yeary's three children played a role in where they ended up after her tragic death. Had Betty been just a little older she may have been able to raise her brothers on her own. Especially with the war shortly thereafter providing so much work for young women. Had the boys been closer in age, maybe more of an effort might have been made to keep them together. But that's just speculation; it's not possible to go back over 70 years and put oneself in the shoes of any of the people making such decisions. Bottom line is that the family of Carl Yeary stepped up and raised his orphaned boys. And regardless of how it was handled, I believe they were both immensely grateful for that.