In memoriam


My father, Joseph Harold Vann


Joseph Harold Vann, born 31 May 1920 in Canton Texas, passed away on 24 December 2003 in Fort Worth Texas.  He was the son of Joseph Daniel Vann born 1886 in Kauffman Texas, and Myrtle Maybelle Vaughn born 1886 in Norcross Georgia.


He is survived by his wife Franziska Schulze, son Daniel Lee Vann of Los Angeles California, David Lawrence Vann of Voorhees, New Jersey, Donald Joseph Vann of Hastings, Michigan, Charles Phillip Vann of Vernon, Texas, Linda Jo Vann of Euless, Texas, and Robert Doyle Vann of Fort Worth, Texas.  He had 12 grand children and 9 great grandchildren.  He will surely be missed by all.


Joseph Harold Vann was the Great Grandson of Major John Shepard Vann of the First Cherokee Mounted Rifles during the Civil War, and a Great Great Grandson of Rich Joe Vann, of the Cherokee Nation. He was a published author of “Cherokee Rose on Rivers of Golden Tears”, and a Charter Lifetime Member of the First Families of the Cherokee Nation.


In High School, during the Great Depression, he was a member of the Drama Club and was the leader of the Political Debate Team.  He was a member of the Literary Club and always had a way with words, not to mention his good looks and his charm.


His love of music drew him to the sounds of the steel-guitar, at which he excelled, and led him to form a band during the Big Band Era.  On many occasions, his small band was the lead-in act for some of the biggest names in the field, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Guy Lombardo, Coleman Hawkins and many others.


In the late 1930's, his band had landed a contract to play for the summer at the Grand Ballroom, the Swing Hot Spot of the era, a floating dance hall on Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. One of the band members had an old rag-top Buick that would just about get them there, but on the drive down from Dallas, the old car caught fire.  The young men jumped out while it was still rolling, landing in a ditch half full of water at the side of the road.  The car, with all of their instruments, burned to a cinder, along with their hopes of fame and fortune.  They walked the rest of the way, hoping to borrow enough to buy some more instruments and take the job. But by the time they arrived, another band had taken their place.


By 1940, he was leading a local band at dance hall Hot Spots in Dallas and Forth Worth, and playing solos on his double necked Stella steel guitar. He was a strikingly handsome man and his only flaw was that he walked with a pronounced limp.  When he was a small boy of 4 or 5, he was playing a game of King of the Mountain with his siblings, on top of an old steamer trunk in his parents home.  During the game, he fell off the round top of the trunk and broke his back.  As a result of the accident, he had a pronounced limp for the rest of his life.


When the War broke out, his brothers marched off to battle and he was left behind, "4 F" because of his childhood injury. His brothers wrote home about the battles they were involved in and always had the same complaint; there was never enough equipment to fight efficiently.  He helped the war effort and his brothers, by organizing logistics for moving freight by train and truck, across the country to the factories to manufacture war materials for the soldiers in the Front Lines. 


After the war, he struggled to keep his job with so many able bodied young men returning home.  He stayed with the trucking business for the rest of his life, and when he was forced to retire from the freight business, he opened a private school to pass along his knowledge to the next generation.


He was married twice, had 4 sons from his first marriage of 12 years, a daughter and son from the second marriage of 50 years.  He was a very patient man, always fair, always firm, and most often, soft spoken.  He lived every day in a way that would have made his forbearers proud of him. 


May his ancestors welcome him home with open arms.

My mother, Jewell Frances Motter


Jewell Frances Phipps, born July 24, 1921, Pauls Valley Oklahoma, to Charley Phipps 1898-1979, and Valerie Mae Jenkins 1900-1986, died in Vernon Texas on October 29, 2003 at the age of 82, after a prolonged illness, at the home of Charles Vann.  She is survived by a sister Allene Wier of Dallas Texas, her four sons, Danny Vann of Los Angeles California, David Vann of Voorhees New Jersey, Donald Joseph Vann of Hastings Michigan, and Charles Vann of Vernon Texas.  She had seven grandchildren, and fifteen great grandchildren.  Her first husband, Joseph Harold Vann is still living in Fort Worth Texas.  She was married several times and changed her name each time: Vann, Eguia, Sanchez, and Motter.


She was interred with her most recent husband Earl Motter at the Riverside National Veterans Cemetery in Riverside California, near Los Angeles, where she spent the bulk of her life.  She was interred under the name of Jewell F. MOTTER in plot # 34, 1260 in November 2003.