Six Degrees of Separation

At the end of June, our family has a big family reunion at my cousin’s farm.  I love to be able to look across the sea of faces with a visible family tree.  It seems like we meet a new relative or a person with some degree of separation every day at the golf course.  We enjoy hearing the stories of how a golfer worked with my grandpa, Dale Brady, or my great-uncle Orie Brady.  There is something charming about being so connected to a specific area of the country.

Here’s a little family history for ya.  No.  There won’t be a test.

I am the seventh generation of Bradys to live within a five mile radius of the golf course.  The Bradys originally lived in the Carbondale area which doesn’t really exist anymore right around Pleasant Hill/Rising Sun area.  If you drive along 6th Ave, there is a road that is named Carbondale.

I don’t know enough to tell you why this little section of Iowa was marked as home to the Brady clan.  It has just always been home.  My great-grandpa, Dan Brady (not the Dan Brady many of you remember – he was my uncle named after his grandpa), was raised in the area and we have a whole line of Bradys that continue to live in this area who are descendants of Dan’s siblings.

I can’t say that they didn’t think about leaving.  My grandpa, Dale Brady, was born in Wyoming back in 1913.  The family had packed up and decided to homestead in Wyoming.  After they lost their newborn son, Kenneth, they decided to return back to Iowa where Dan’s family could help.  Here’s a picture of them in Wyoming.

front row - Florence middle row - Kit holding Kenny, Mabel, Dan holding Dale back row - Orie, Herman, Ralph

Front row – Florence
Middle row – Kit (my great-grandma) holding Kenny (who passed), Mabel, Dan (my great-grandpa) holding Dale (my grandpa)
Back Row – Orie, Herman, Ralph

Whenever my husband and I take a road trip with our three children in our minivan with built in entertainment, I always think about my ancestors traveling such a long distance with so many small children in tow.

Here is a picture of them when all the kids were born (12 children were born, but 10 survived into adulthood).

Brady Family - front row - Hermon, Martha (Kit), Betty (Welcher) Dan and RalphBack Row - Dorothy, Mabel,Elsie, Orie, Dale, Dessie and Florence

Brady Family
Front Row – Hermon, Martha (Kit), Betty (Welcher) Dan and Ralph
Back Row – Dorothy, Mabel,Elsie, Orie, Dale (my grandpa), Dessie and Florence

In 1925, my grandpa, Dale, married my grandma, Audrey.

Wedding Picture - November 16 1935

Dale and Audrey Wedding Picture

Although my grandpa passed away in 1983, my grandma is still living and visits the golf course daily to catch up on all the fun we are having.   I live in the house that my grandpa built for my grandma back in 1965.  Here they are in front of my house right after it was built.

Audrey and Dale in front of new house.  Audrey loves flowers behind them that Dale had gardener plant.

Audrey and Dale Brady

You can read more about grandpa’s history which is integral to the making of the golf course.  They raised their family for most of their years in Altoona.  Here is a picture of my dad’s family in their Altoona home.  It has always been a family favorite.  We have it hanging up at the golf course in our hallway of golf course history.  If you know my uncle Steve, he still has that mischievous grin.

front row - Dale, Steve, Audrey Back Row Tom and Dan taken in front of fireplace in Altoona home

Front Row – Dale, Steve, Audrey
Back Row –  Tom (my dad) and Dan

Once all the boys married, the family grew into this:

Row 1_ Dan, Peg, Audrey, Dale - Row 2_Steve, Nancy, Tom, Fred

Front Row: Dan, Peg, Audrey, Dale
Back Row: Steve, Nancy, Tom, Fred

That group of eight people are who worked together to build Toad Valley.

Back to the original story.

So, all of these descendants of Dan & Kit Brady, plus descendants from Dan’s brother get together in June.  We have loads of fun and there are always desserts piled high.  Bradys have a serious sweet tooth.  I thought it’d be fun to share some pictures of these descendants because chances are that at least one of our golfers is somehow related and/or knows of these people.  This is going to blow your mind.

First up, my sweet grandma, who is 97, is the only living member of her generation.  All of the Brady children have passed away as well as all of their spouses.


My Uncle Steve, Grandma, & Tom (my dad)

We’ll continue with my immediate family.


Left to Right: Me (Allison), my sister, Julene, mom, Fred, and my niece, Carly

Continuing on…  Please keep in mind that my family has five living generations.  My grandma has over 30 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.


Brother, Jason, Nephew, Niko, my dad, Tom with my grandma, Audrey

Moving along to my dad’s first cousins.  Are you taking notes?


This is Geri Beattie holding her great-grandbaby. Geri’s dad was Orie. In the white is Sandy Halverson. Her mom was Dorothy.

I think that makes the baby my 8th cousin?  How does that all work?


Here’s Bruce. That’s Sandy husband.

Here’s proof that my family rocks.  I asked my cousin-in-law (or whatever you call it) to give me some duck lips.  He entertained me.  No wonder he has been one of my dad’s good friends for many years.


Keith Price. He’s married to Connie. Connie’s mom was Dessie. Chip, and Jen who is Keith and Connie’s oldest daughter.

Next up is my aunt Nancy.  She was part of the golf course until my brother and I (with our spouses) took over 9 years ago.


Karla. Her mom was Betty and my aunt Nancy. She’s married to my uncle Steve.

It was a beautiful day in June.  Not too hot.  Most of the family spent their time outside enjoying the weather.  Here’s a shot of first cousins catching up on what’s new.


Some of the younger generation didn’t even know they had cousins.  These little ladies had so much fun playing with each other!  They didn’t know they were cousins until this day.  So glad we could get that straightened out for them.

IMG_7823After the family reunion, we had to go to the store to purchase a new frisbee.  Here’s my son, Carson, who had forgotten how fun playing frisbee can be.  Since then, we have logged many hours playing frisbee in our yard.

IMG_7833We had a nice crowd and it was fun to get to meet new family members as well as catch up with others.


I have to throw in the token shot of my son whose first name is Brady.   We like to mix things up a little bit.  No. His name isn’t Brady Brady.  I got married and changed my last name.  He’s pictured with his cousin, Carly.


Here’s the big bunch of Bradys.


I’m dying to know.  Which one of our golfers is related to us and never knew it?  Should I mention that we are related to the Millers, too.  Basically, if you live in the eastern Polk region, we’re probably related.  What can I say?  We love cold AND hot humid weather.

Post by Allison

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