Terry Mason's Family History Site
Major lines: Allen, Beck, Borden, Buck, Burden, Carpenter, Carper, Cobb, Cook, Cornell, Cowan, Daffron, Davis, Downing, Faubion, Fauntleroy, Fenter, Fishback, Foulks, Gray, Harris, Heimbach, Henn, Holland, Holtzclaw, Jackson, Jameson, Johnson, Jones, King, Lewis, Mason, Massengill, McAnnally, Moore, Morgan, Overstreet, Price, Peck, Rice, Richardson, Rogers, Samuel, Smith, Taylor, Thomas, Wade, Warren, Weeks, Webb, Wodell, Yeiser.
John Philip Hunter Peterson
John is quoted in letter to Frank Wilson, Aug.1973 saying he was never adopted, just took the Peterson name.
BIOGRAPHY: John never had children. Worked in CCC in 1930's. In 1939 in U.S. Army in Corregidor, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Phillipines. His trade was tool engineering after the war.
RESEARCH: In T. Mason's first phone conversation with John Peterson in fall of 1985. He asked if I knew anything about his sister named Lorraine who had two children and had died at the age of 39. I phoned Lorraine's husband in 1987 (named Jim Canada) and pieced together a little more information. I'm sure more information is available.
Lester Harlib Koenig
Lester was a lawyer and owner of Contemporary Record company. Although he attended Yale Law School, he never practiced law. He worked as a producer in the motion picture industry, having worked with director Willy Wyler beginning in World War II when they were both in the Air Force Motion Picture unit. He wrote the narration for the important documentary film, "The Memphis Belle", which Wyler shot and directed. For the next nine years, he was second in command on all of Wylernnifer Jones and Laurence Olivier), "Detective Story" (with Kirk Douglas and Eleanor Parker) and "Roman Holiday" (with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck). He had started a record company in the late '40s and in the mid '50s, when it began to take off, he pursued that full time until his death.
Catharine Anliss Heerman
CATHARINE ANLISS HEERMAN
February 5, 1922 - April 4, 2007
Catharine Heerman died on April 4, 2007 of a respiratory infection after struggling with the effects of a third-degree burn she suffered in 2001. She was 85.
Born on February 5, 1922 in New York City, Cathy Heerman was the older of two children of Sarah Yeiser Mason (Heerman) and Victor Eugene Heerman, Sr., a motion picture screenwriting team who lived in a sprawling estate at 525 South Van Ness Avenue in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. The Heermans returned home to Los Angeles some three months after Cathy was born.
While her parents worked in Hollywood in the era of silent pictures, Cathy and her younger brother, Victor E. Heerman, Jr., were raised in a household emblematic of the prosperity enjoyed by many pioneers of the then-burgeoning movie business in its earliest days. There were vast grounds, a tennis court with a field house, extensive gardens and lawns, an eightcar garage, outbuildings and other extravagances. There was, of course, a domestic staff including maids, governesses and even, for a time, a live-in tennis pro.
Consequently, Cathy's contact with her parents as a young child was limited, as they were both working and neither was particularly comfortable with young children. To Cathy, her mother was eccentric and bookish, but not terribly present emotionally. One pastime Sarah Mason sometimes pursued with her young children epitomized this sense of distance -- Sarah had memorized all of Shakespeare's sonnets and she would have Cathy or Vic read her the first line of a sonnet, which she would then recite in its entirety from memory. Sarah was a book collector whose library contained many first editions, including signed Shelleys, and when she wasn't working, for the most part, she retreated into the literary world she had created for herself. Victor, Sr. was very much an authority figure and was in the home, much as Groucho Marx characterized him, "a real take-charge guy."
The Heerman parents were creative and successful. Among other things, they won an Oscar in 1933 for best screenplay adaptation for their script for "Little Women," directed by George Cukor and starring Katharine Hepburn. Victor Heerman also directed the Marx Brothers classic, "Animal Crackers." But they were not very hands-on as parents.
Cathy went to the neighborhood grammar school, Wilton Place Elementary School, and the local junior high school, John Burroughs. After Burroughs, she attended high school at the exclusive Marlborough School, nearby in Hancock Park, where she blossomed academically and displayed a marked talent for art. She graduated from Marlborough in 1939.
Cathy went on to study at Bennington College in Vermont, a progressive school that pioneered a master-apprentice model of teaching, which was something of a departure from the conventions normally practiced in academia at that time. In that setting, she came under the influence of Paul Feeley, painter and art professor, who later became chairman of Bennington's art department and who was instrumental in Bennington's development as a cultural outpost of the New York art world. At Bennington, Cathy developed into an artist of professional stature.
Upon graduating from Bennington in 1943, with World War II still gripping the country, she moved to New York and, with her friend, Beth Levine, who later became an iconic fashion shoe designer, worked in Halloran Army Hospital on Staten Island dedicating herself to rehabilitating soldiers who had suffered spinal cord injuries in the war. Indeed, she was so popular with her patients that she was bestowed membership in the Paralyzed Veterans' Association of America, one of the few able-bodied people so honored.
After the war, she moved back to her parents' house on Van Ness Avenue and began to pursue in earnest her calling as a professional artist. Not long after reestablishing herself in Los Angeles, her work was being exhibited in the most prominent galleries in the city. Over the years, she had representation with the galleries of Felix Landau, Frank Perls and Esther Robles along with colleagues Rico Lebrun, John Altoon, Jack Hooper and Lee Mullican among others. During this period she was particularly influenced by Picasso and Braque, although her work was markedly individual and easily recognizable as her own. Throughout her career as an artist, she also took on many design projects including album covers for the well-known classical record label, Westminster and many magazine ads, as well as some work in feature films, where her paintings were portrayed as the work of characters who were artists.
After her return to Los Angeles, she was introduced by David Stuart, an art dealer and figure in the jazz record business, to Lester Koenig, a motion picture screenwriter and producer who was then working with the renowned director, Willy Wyler, as his second-in-command. Koenig had also recently founded a record company of his own, rather as an avocation. They were married in 1948 and had two children, John (born May 9, 1950) and Victoria (born July 15, 1951).
The family spent the better part of 1952 and 1953 living in Rome, as Cathy's husband was working as a producer on Wyler's Oscar-winning film, "Roman Holiday." In Italy, she had the opportunity to see many great artistic masterpieces firsthand and was particularly influenced by the art of the Etruscans, which she was able to study by visiting Etruscan archeological sites. On the family's return to Los Angeles in 1953, they lived in the rustic house at 274 South Westgate Avenue, where Cathy lived until 1997, when she moved in with her daughter, Vicky in Claremont, California.
She and Koenig divorced in 1954 and for a few years afterward, she continued to paint and have her work shown locally to enthusiastic reviews and also took on design projects for UCLA. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, she began to develop a secondary career as a pedagogue, first, teaching on her own and at UCLA, later at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and finally at the Junior Arts Center of the City of Los Angeles, a ground-breaking municipal arts academy. She remained a faculty member of the Junior Arts Center until 1978. After her retirement from teaching, she continued to undertake design projects including several with the well-known designer, Deborah Sussman, for her daughter Vicky's former ballet company, the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet and for a number album covers for recordings produced by her son, John.
In August of 2001, at the age of 79, she was badly burned in a fire. She suffered third-degree burns over 30% of her body when the head of a kitchen match broke off as she tried to strike it, setting her clothes on fire. She spent almost a year in hospitals before moving back home with Vicky. In spite of very grave injuries, which resulted in her being bedridden for the rest of her life, almost miraculously, she spent some of the happiest years of her life during her convalescence. She died on April 4, 2007 after enduring a series of lung infections that eventually failed to respond to treatment.
Over the years, she maintained an expansive collection of friends who were devoted to her. She was widely regarded by her contemporaries as a thinker with a soaring, adventurous and sometimes whimsical intellect and a unique creativity that often expressed itself in the unexpected. Her younger colleagues and students almost universally regarded her as an influence on whom to model themselves.
For many years, beginning in the mid-1960s, every Wednesday night, she would throw what became legendary dinner parties for 50 or more colleagues, friends and often, friends of friends -- people whom she'd never even met. She was an extraordinary cook and in addition to the provocative milieu and unusual cast of characters at these evenings, frequenters were particularly drawn by her cooking. At these gatherings, she would usually serve some variety of elaborate soup based on recipes she learned from her father -- a prodigious cook in his own right and modified by influences derived from her stay in Italy in the 1950s -- which she prepared in a 10-gallon pot on her parents' ancient enormous six-burner, American Standard double-oven stove. The meal was usually accompanied by bread she baked herself that presaged -- in Los Angeles, at least -- of the production of the artisanal bakeries that have become so popular here since the '90s.
Her house, considered by some to be eccentric, was regarded by many others as magical and, in a sense, out of time and place. Often, people, on visiting it for the first time, would say that they didn't feel as though they were in Los Angeles there; rather, that it had more of an East-coast aspect. She had a passion for beautiful things. She had elaborate collections of unusual objects from all over the world everywhere throughout the house and virtually no surface in the house was unexploited as an exhibition space for these objects. Her living room was her studio -- and indeed, it functioned both as a studio and as a living room -- and her work was hung in every room.
She was an insatiable reader. She would normally be working on several books at a time on subjects ranging from various fields of arcana to mythology, poetry, philosophy, aesthetics and, of course, distinctive and idiosyncratic fiction. Her night stand, an antique, claw-footed piano bench, was always piled with books, as was the left side of her double bed. She was fascinated by words, and this interest even led to her curating an exhibit at the Junior Art Center gallery entitled "The Word Show," for which, among other extensive research, she consulted with prominent academics, many of whom she won over by the force of her enthusiasm and ebullient personality and who became life-long friends. She was also a splendid writer who left moving essays on aesthetics, pedagogy and other subjects. But whatever creative outlet she chose, whether it was writing, painting, drawing, design, multimedia, curating exhibits, cooking or any other pursuit, her work was always grounded in the expression of a deep and abiding veneration of universal and fundamental human values.
She had an elaborately developed interior life, which she was able to draw upon in coping with the health impairments she suffered in her last years. Despite a life in which she was dealt many difficult blows, she carried on stoically and rarely sought sympathy or complained.
She is survived by her devoted and adored daughter Victoria Koenig of Claremont, California, an accomplished ballerina, ballet company head and pedagogue who devoted herself to Cathy's care in her last years and made her life not only bearable, but stimulating and fun, her cellist, record producer, composer, lawyer son John Koenig, her daughter-in-law Elaine (Peterson) Koenig, both of Los Angeles, California, her brother Victor Heerman, Jr., who is a retired but still prominent figure in the world of thoroughbred horses and her sister-in-law Louie (Mills) Heerman, both of Rancho Santa Fe, California, her niece Leslie Heerman (and her two daughters, Lucie and Beatrix) of Versailles, Kentucky, and many, many devoted friends.
November 24, 2007
© John Koenig
Victor Eugene Heerman Jr.
Reported by Frank Wilson in 1973 that Victor Jr. graduated in 1948 from Williams College in Massachusetts, majoring in English. He served in World War II in army infantry in Europe and Philipines. He was a thoroughbred horse consultant. His wife Lucille graduated in 1954 from University of KY. in social science.
SOURCE-DESCENDANTS: Information sent to T.Mason by Leslie Heerman in Mar 2002. "Victor is very deaf. He had a long and successful career in the Thoroughbred horse business in California and Kentucky. He retired to California in 1986 thinking that he had many years to play golf and enjoy the weather. Unfortunately, his knees gave out and he developed back problems. So much for golf. I don't believe that retirement has been all he expected."
DEATH: Information sent to T.Mason on 14 Dec 2014 by daughter, Leslie Heerman.
Fredrick W. (Tom) Brown
RESEARCHER: Information sent to T.Mason on 19 Jan 2005 by Janice. "We have a copy of United States of America NY - CITIZENSHIP - DATED: October 25, 1892 for Frederick W Brown."
Ann Elizabeth "Anliss" Bell
RESEARCHER: John Koenig sent information to T.Mason on 11 Mar 2003. "My great grandmother brought her four sons to New York in 1895 and she became the head costumer for David Belasco, who was then the most important theatrical producer in New York. I also know that my grandfather, Victor Eugene Heerman, Sr., bought her a house in Los Angeles on Larchmont Avenue and that she used to see my mother (Catherine Anliss) quite often when my mother was a small child. My mother described Anliss as full of fun. My mother said that she took care of her boys. She loved to sing and dance and she made beautiful clothes for movie stars. She loved to play with my mother and she loved take her to the movies because they both loved movies. She was loved very much."
RESEARCHER-PICTURE: Information sent to T.Mason on 19 Jan 2005 by Janice. "I am told the youngest one which looks like a girl is Leonard Thomas because he was supposedly the youngest boy and it was the habit of the times to dress them like that...but we really have no proof as to who was the youngest."
Richard Lloyd Leeson
Birth information from Catharine FB Mason's red book
Went to George Washington Univ. and worked for the FBI until WW II came along. B.A. degree from Univ. of Southern Calif. 1st Lt in Counter Intelligence in US Army. In WW II served in England & France, then in Korean war. In 1947 received B.A. degree from University of Southern California. Was a broker in fire & casualty insurance from 1947 (taking time out for Korean War) until 1977. Kept winter home in Riverside, CA. and retired to fly fish and hunt in Pinedale, Wyoming.
ADDRESS: (1999) 521 N. Franklin Ave. Bx 152; Pinedale, Wym; 82941 (909) 779-1134
Sallie Rae Leeson
Died of cancer at age 26.