Yesterday one of my dad’s first cousins, Arthur Miles Vick, Jr., was laid to rest in the National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A Navy veteran from World War 2, he received military honors at his burial. Here’s a link to his obituary in the local newspaper.
Arthur was born August 5, 1922, in Providence Rhode Island, either in the Olneyville or Silver Lake district. His parents were Arthur Vick Sr. and Mabel Evers. He joined a sister eight years older, Madeline, and they completed the family. He was part of the larger Vick family of Rhode Island, which included the Todds, Willises, and Millers. The extended family scattered, as most do these days, to Michigan, New Jersey, Chicago, and eventually many other places.
When World War 2 came, Arthur was drafted into the Navy, and served on the USS Woonsocket in the Atlantic. After the war he returned to Rhode Island and married Agnes Boyd. They had three children: Alan in 1950, and twins Robyn and Gail in 1953. These would eventually add seven grandchildren to the family.
I knew Arthur. I won’t say fairly well, for often one generation doesn’t come to know the one next to them all that well. Arthur and my dad were first cousins. We living in part of Cranston close to Providence, and they living in part of Providence fairly close to Cranston, we got together with them more than any other of the Vick family. In winter we would go to their house and walk to the sledding area of Neutaconkanut Hill. In summers they sometimes rented a cottage for a week or two right next to my grandparents’ home on Point Judith Pond, and we would share times there.
We all attended church together at the Church of the Epiphany, Episcopal denomination, on Elmwood Avenue in Providence. The Norman Todd family sat on the first row, left side, and the Arthur Vick family sat on the second row right behind us. Discipline being the way it was, we didn’t “cut up” back and forth between rows. But we knew family was close.
Through all these encounters I knew Arthur and his wife Agnes, at least a little. I have memories of being at certain places with Arthur at certain times. Family gatherings in Providence, Cranston, and Warwick. And of course summers in Snug Harbor. I actually must confess I knew nothing of his profession until after his death, learning he owned a construction company. That makes sense, as his father owned a construction company, his grandfather worked as a plasterer, and many Vicks in prior generations in England worked in the building trades. Arthur continued in this tradition.
At some point they gave up their home on Harlam Ave. in Providence, and moved to a retirement place in Wakefield RI. Two decades later, Arthur now in his 90s and Agnes approaching that, they moved to the Northwest Arkansas areas to receive help from their two children who had relocated here. However, it wasn’t but a couple of weeks before Arthur left this world.
Yesterday, after a time of visiting, remembering Arthur privately and between relatives, an Anglican funeral mass was held in the funeral home in downtown Fayetteville. We left there in caravan, wrapped once around the Fayetteville square, and headed to the National Cemetery. A bright sun shone on us as we drove slowly, only to be obscured by clouds as we parked in the cemetery. The rain that was coming held off, however, until late afternoon. Under the roof of an outdoor chapel, a short service was held. A recording of Taps was played. Two Navy honor guards in dress blues folded the flag with extreme care and presented it to Agnes. The Anglican priest said a few more words, a very appropriate closing to a sad few hours.
Arthur will be missed, especially by Agnes, Alan, Robyn, and Gail. I pray for their comfort in this time. As I write this at work I have no photo of Arthur to upload, except the one at the top, cropped from a larger one. My dad is the boy in back, Arthur is the one in front. If I find another photo of good quality at home later, I’ll add it.