Dorathy herself is in good spirits and appears to be well-cared for by Brian McFarland (Dorathy's youngest son) and his wife Sue. All three people live at 14818 47th Street in north Phoenix (zip probably 85254). Dorathy is a difficult housemate, not always appreciating her situation and Brian's efforts. Brian, nevertheless, seemed excessively controlling and unwilling to accommodate Dorathy's efforts to manage what was left of her life. For example, Dorathy very much wanted to re-visit her house on State Avenue, but this was not allowed for the remaining 2 years of her life. Also, using his power-of-attorney, Brian managed Dorothy's assets so that he took ownership of both her houses, while spending Dorathy's more liquid assets on living expenses, leaving Brian's siblings with no inheritance (details below).
mother's WILL. The IRS has filed a
tax lien on Mother's estate as a gesture to recover the taxes owed.
Meanwhile, Dorathy's 1999 WILL gave Brian possession of what was (in 1999) Brian's personal home at 2619 S. Los Feliz, Tempe, purchased for his use about 1975 by Dorathy's husband and Brian's father, Thomas F. McFarland. Upon the death of Thomas F. McFarland in April 1989, this Tempe house passed to Dorathy. As of 2011, Brian has not subjected Dorathy's WILL to probate, and the Tempe house remains owned in the name of Dorathy A. McFarland. Furthermore, Brian stopped paying taxes on the Tempe house in 2006, and by 2011, its assessed value had shrunk to $121,000 . If it were sold in 2011, proceeds would barely cover back property taxes, legal costs, and capital gains taxes on Dorathy's 2 houses (State Avenue and Los Feliz). As of 2011, Brian is a defendant in a lawsuit seeking to take possession of the Tempe house from Dorathy's estate. Brian's siblings are co-defendents in this lawsuit, which is how this information became available.
However, in June of 2001, I made a point of not being critical or judgemental, from any viewpoint, while I visited. Furthermore, Brian clearly deserves support and praise for his efforts, which (in June 2001) are by no means ended, since Dorathy can walk and care for her body functions only with difficulty and help. I made a videotape of Dorathy which has been digitized..
Dorathy's old house on State Avenue was quite dirty and cluttered, with mouse feces, dead cockroaches, and piles of clothes and printed matter common in most rooms. In order to reach older piles, it was necessary to first remove newer layers or piles of material. Furthermore, going through these piles was tiring since useful or valuable items were often hiding among useless or less valuable items, which required a constant state of "yellow alert". For example, I was quite startled when, after going through 39 old purses all containing dirty kleenexes, match boxes, and restaurant candy favors, but then in the 40th purse finding the personal Bible of John William Landis (father of Wm W. Landis) dedicated to him by his older brother Edmund in 1865!!
The main purpose of my visit was finding photos and genealogical data. Below is a partial hasty summary of old items I found and brought back to Wisconsin. None of the items appears to have great monetary value, and thus my possession of them should not generate great envy. If anyone feels a claim on one of these items, let me know, and after a few months I hope to have scanned many items for viewing and copying so that all of the family can benefit and enjoy. Dorathy did not recall owning many of these items, even those she herself created and signed.
I thoroughly searched 4-5 areas of Dorathy's house, including "Grandma's bedroom", father's bedroom, a writing table in a hallway, upper shelves in the closets of Dorathy's bedroom, and the TV room. I also quickly checked the kitchen, Dorathy's bedroom, and the yard house. I did not check the living room, the pantry, or the outside covered patio where boxes had been stored.
Here is a partial summary of what I found and brought back to Wisconsin:
framed pictures of Wm W Landis and others; a loose stack of family pictures from the 1920's (many nice); personal possessions, such as watches, of John Wm Landis (Dorathy's grandfather) and Maj. A.M. Cox (Dorathy's great-grandfather). I also found a picture of Ida Landis taken about 1915. The photo was about 4x6 showing a standing woman, and on the back was written "Ida". At the time, I had no knowledge of any "Ida" in our family, and hence assumed Ida was a friend of the family. A few weeks later, I discovered that Ida was a daughter of Edmund M. Landis who had married Clyde Blair, had 3 children, but had committed suicide after a divorce. I placed the photo in a pile of items to be taken away, but when I returned to Wisconsin, several thorough searches failed to recover this photo, alas.
[Dorathy's bedroom closet]
Hair samples of Adele Landis and Dorathy; Brian's doll Binky; Patricia McFarland's childhood doll; personal bible of John Wm Landis (in a purse).
Father's will; Adele Landis's will; a history of the McFarland family written by Tom F. McFarland; several old coins with a total sale value of about $50; the negative of the Milwaukee Journal photo of Tom L. and Patty dated 1940; $10000 face value US savings bonds in Dorathy's name maturing in 1996, now worth about $12400, which Brian deposited in Dorathy's account. I did not find father's wedding ring, and Brian will later remove a few wall pictures and father's huge slide collection.
Brian said I was to leave this alone, but I forgot: sorry Brian. This table contained mostly old Xmas cards and recent bank statements, but also a personal diary of John Wm Landis and a childhood diary of William W. Landis. These diaries are on loan to Jeanne (Landis) Plotz (Dorathy's sister) for as long as needed.
Old games, Dorathy's personal picture album from 1920's with early pictures of Jeanne, her parents, and Dorathy; another copy of the picture of 13-year-old Wm W. Landis at Racine College, a second and much better photo album from the 1880's Cox/Landis family (the most treasured item), several old books dedicated to Tom F. McFarland and John Wm Landis; several framed Landis pictures from the 1880's which we've seen before; the negative of a 1920 picture of John Nicholas Nenno with his wife Margaretha Lynch (Adele Landis's parents); a 1952 Waukesha newspaper with a story describing the death of Wm W Landis; a 1989 calendar where (on the date 20 April) Dorathy wrote My Daddy Tom left me, 2:35, i.e., died).
A set of pictures from the reunion of the Nenno sisters in Minnesota in the 1970's.
Earlier, in 1990, upon the death of Tom F. McFarland, a locked strongbox was given to his son Tom L. McFarland. This was opened only in April 2002, and contained mostly visa receipts, 20 old keys, a box of rifle bullets, two coins (value $10-20), a few old letters without any striking new information, a picture of Tom F. at age 14, and a picture of Alberta, Pat, and Tom L in 1970.
I also visited a distant relative, Kari (McCormick) Valazza, who lives 1-2 miles south of Dorathy's new house (Kari has since re-married to Terry Fong and moved to S. 2nd Place at the far south edge of Phoenix ). Kari is a great-grand-daughter of Louise (Landis) Allyn, and Louise was sister of Wm W. Landis. Kari gave me a few pictures from her branch of the Landis family, and I took a few others. Kari also owns a copy of a privately printed genealogy of the Allyn family. Her "clan" seems healthy and thriving, with lots of bright and happy middle-class kids, but she describes another branch of her family which lives in Florida and lives the high-brow life-style more typical of the old plutocratic Allyns of earlier generations.
Tom McFarland, 15 June 2001 (updated April and November 2002)
A last visit to Dorathy on 24 October 2003 is described
Tom McFarland revisited this house in June 2002, with the hope of finding a picture of Ida Mary Landis (who died in 1922). This
picture was not re-located, but most old books were removed from the east TV room, including a large bible printed about 1863 in
German, evidently kept by a Moses Weber. Jeanne (Landis) Plotz stated in 2003 that this bible was likely acquired from outside
the family as a beautiful object. In the "Familien-Register" pages between the old and new testaments are life records of 9 people:
|The above was in ink, but in a different hand in pencil was written "Parents of Moses Weber"|
|The only other inclusions in this bible were:|