Janie Lee Ross was born in 1921 in Jackson, Tennessee. Her father was a church deacon, and she remembers attending choir rehearsals. In the 1940s she and her husband Thomas moved to Chicago, and she went to practical nursing school. They moved to Ann Arbor in 1951 and purchased a home on Fifth Avenue. They opened their home to many friends and relatives who needed a place to stay. Ross was a nurse’s aid at St. Joe’s Hospital and a custodian in Ann Arbor Public Schools. She has four children–Charlotte, Thomas, Carol, and Eugene (Bobby)–and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Herb David was an Ann Arbor luthier. Originally a research psychologist, David was taught how to make and repair stringed instruments by his mentor, Sarkis "Sam" Varjebedian. At the age of 30, David started Herb David Guitar Studio, a shop where he produced, repaired, and sold guitars, dulcimers, harps, banjos, and many other types of stringed instruments. He passed away on July 25, 2020.
Herb David was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2016 as part of the Legacies Project.
Wanda Capps was born in 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Polish immigrant parents. As a young woman, Capps worked as a bank clerk and saved money to go to Illinois College, where she met her husband. After stints in Nebraska, Alabama, and Detroit, they settled in Ann Arbor with their three children. Her husband worked in a pharmaceutical laboratory. The family enjoyed traveling and spent summers in Grand Traverse Bay. She enjoys quilting and volunteering in the library at Glacier Hills Senior Living Community.
Wanda Capps was interviewed as part of an internship at Applied Safety and Ergonomics in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.
Ben Helmke grew up on a farm in Pratt County, Kansas in the 1930s. He served as an organist in the Army chaplain’s office at Camp Schimmelpfennig (now Camp Sendai) in Japan. Helmke graduated from Hastings College and McCormick Seminary and got his masters in social work from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Polly raised three children and he started his own mental health clinic. Late in life, he came out as gay to his wife and children. He lived happily with his partner Len Quenon for 25 years.
Ben Helmke was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2016 as part of the Legacies Project.