OBITUARIES (Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard), January 17, 2008
Nestor Palladius of Eugene died Jan. 3 of lung cancer. He was 83. A service will be later. He was born Aug. 31, 1924, in San Francisco to George and Genevieve Harpending Palladius. He and his wife of 35 years, Carol Wilshire Palladius, were married in Seattle. She died July 28, 2007. Palladius was a manufacturer’s representative for children’s clothing. He is survived by a son, Charlie Wilshire of Eugene. Arrangements by Musgrove Family Mortuary in Eugene.
Nestor Palladius was the closest I had to a big, or any, brother. He was kind to me as a child and throughout my life until our family became estranged from him when I was around 35 and Nestor was around 47—approximately 1982.
Nestor was the only child of George D. Papageorge and Mary Genevieve Harpending. Nestor’s father died in 1934 when Nestor was ten years old. He and his mother then came under the care of Conrad Pavellas, aged 21. Conrad was the son of Alexander Pavellas and Clara Lucille Harpending. The Harpending women were sisters, daughters of Asbury Harpending, Jr. Conrad’s parents also died in 1934. Alexander and George were friends and business partners—and brothers-in-law.
Conrad married Artemis Pagonis in December 1935, sometime after which Nestor and his mother moved on their own to a boarding house. I was born to Artemis and Conrad in January, 1937.
Nestor had poor hearing from an early age, and I knew him always to wear a hearing aid. He was almost deaf by the time he reached his middle years. He also had bad teeth, as my dad did, and there were constant problems with dentists and dental prostheses for both of them.
Nestor’s formal education was spotty and incomplete, but his older relatives were intelligent, literate and voluble—all enjoying a conversational argument. His father, George, was the leader of the family, a dominant and, apparently, classically educated immigrant from Samos, Greece. He was a talented promoter of ideas and enterprises. He was, at one time, the business manager for Raymond Duncan who was the brother of, and sometimes business partner with, Isadora Duncan, the internationally famous dancer and revivalist of ancient Greek dance forms. Isadora and Raymond were highly influential in the cultural life of the sisters.
Nestor’s mother and aunt were the daughters of a once-wealthy, Kentucky-born adventurer, Asbury Harpending, Jr., who came to San Francisco at age 16 during its development as the center of commerce in the Gold Rush era. The entire family lived in Oakland, but Asbury also had a house in Mill Valley. He died in 1923 while on a business trip to New York. Nestor was born a year later. Asbury came upon hard times toward the end of his life and did not leave much to his family, which remained in Mill Valley.
The family continued to live together, their income being from a Greek-American newspaper, The Prometheus, published in San Francisco, owned and operated by the brothers-in-law (probably with some debt against it), and by various promotional deals some of which later seemed shady to historians. This continued into The Great Depression when businesses and deals were failing. This uncertain situation contributed to the mental collapse of Clara Lucille, Nestor’s aunt, who died in the state mental hospital in Napa, California, in 1934, the same year her husband and brother-in-law died as noted above. Nestor was 10. Conrad, his cousin and guardian was 21 and had to drop out of U.C. Berkeley in his senior year.
I subscribe to a Facebook group named “Haplogroup J2b and Subclades.” It’s for people interested in genetic genealogy, especially for those with the genetic designation ‘Haplogroup J2,’ its ‘subclade ‘J2b,’ and other subdivisions of each. My paternal genetic haplotype is J2b2. (Father’s father’s father, etc, ad infinitum).
One of the members posted an article with maps which took me on a journey, imagining the movements and locations of my paternal ancestors from 9000 tears ago until today. Allow me to take you along with me. (I cropped the original maps to show only areas where haplogroup J2 occurred, historically.)
Around 9,000 years ago
The Ice Age had ended and European hunter-gatherers had migrated from their warmer refuges to recolonize the continent. Note that the Black Sea did not then connect to the Mediterranean Sea, so there was an unbroken connection between what is now Asia Minor (Anatolia) and Europe. Peoples with Haplogroup J2 occupied, roughly, what is now the Southern Caucasus, Persia (Iran), Turkey, Greece, Crete, Cyprus, and a narrow band of land bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, including what is now the Sinai Peninsula.
Around 4,000 years ago
In the intervening millennia, agriculture had developed in the Levant and then spread through southern, central and eastern Europe by Neolithic farmers belonging mainly to Y-haplogroups such as J2. In the Middle East and Anatolia advanced civilizations began to emerge.
The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in central Anatolia. The group was documented at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2300 BC), until it was gradually absorbed c. 2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites, who became identified with the “land of Hatti”. The oldest name for central Anatolia, “Land of the Hatti”, was found on Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets from the period of Sargon the Great of Akkad c. 2350–2150 BC. The Hattians were organised in city-states and small kingdoms or principalities. These cities were well organized and ruled as theocratic principalities. Hattian religion traces back to the Stone Age. It involved worship of the earth, which is personified as a mother goddess; the Hattians honored the mother goddess to ensure their crops and their own well-being. (Source).
Mother Goddess, figurine, ca. 5750 BC; Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara
The Minoan civilization arose on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands and flourished from approximately 3650 to 1400 BCE. It belongs to a period of Greek history preceding both the Mycenaean civilization and Ancient Greece.
The term “Minoan” refers to the mythic King Minos who was associated in Greek myth with the labyrinth and the Minotaur, identified with Knossos, the ancient Cretan capital city. The poet Homer recorded a tradition that Crete once had 90 cities. As traders and artists, the Minoan cultural influence reached far beyond the island of Crete—throughout the Cyclades, to Egypt’s Old Kingdom, to copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan and the Levantine coasts beyond, and to Anatolia. (Source).
Around 2,000 years ago
The above represents the Roman Empire as it reached its greatest territorial extent around the Mediterranean Sea, approximately 2000 years ago. People with Haplogroup J2 populated parts of many Mediterranean lands and into the Middle East beyond Anatolia: Spain, Italy, (what is now) Tunisia, Sicily, Southern France, Greece, Thrace (Bulgaria), Romania, Crete, Cyprus, Assyria (geographically present-day Syria, but a separate ethnic group from Syrians), Persia.
Around 800 years ago
Medieval Europe was dominated by the Holy Roman Empire – a loose union of small kingdoms with Germany at its heart (and an attempt to resurrect the former glory of the Roman Empire in the west) – and the Byzantine Empire, the continuation of the Roman Empire in the east.
By this time people with Haplogroup J2 populated parts of (what are now) Corsica, Albania, Greece, Thrace, Crete, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Anatolia, Georgia—and eastward into the Southern Caucasus and beyond into Asia proper. Genetic studies have further refined the J2 haplogroup into sub-types, including J2b, which is that of my paternal great-grandfather, Konstantin Pavellas. J2b is found in Albania, the Peloponnesus of Greece, Thrace (Bulgaria) and Romania (along the Black Sea coast). There is reason to believe that Konstantin had Greek ancestors who migrated to Romania, adopted the Slavic name ‘Pavel’ and changed it to ‘Pavellas’ after at least one branch of the family returned to Greece, probably in the early 1800s, around the time that the Greeks threw off the yoke of the Ottoman Empire.
Konstantinos Pavellas, a Greek Orthodox Priest, Theofonia Pavellas, née Smirtis, Alexander K. Pavellas, my grandfather—taken around 1880
Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.
Ronald Alexander Pavellas, Paternal Haplogroup J2b2.
Cousin Nestor told me that you should always be aware of your face, and how it looks to other people.
I was 21, just out of the Navy, and green as a 12-year-old about how to get along in life, especially in nice company. I was comfortable, or at least I knew the territory, of the rough neighborhoods my family had lived in—San Francisco and, especially, Brooklyn.
Nestor was a salesman, and had been since he was a youngster. His dad died when he was eleven, in the middle of the Great Depression, and my dad, his older cousin by ten years, had taken care of him and his dotty mother, Aunt Genevieve, as his only surviving family. Dad’s parents died the same year as Nestor’s father.
Nestor had a pleasant, open face with a nice head of wavy, light-colored hair and a constant smile. He tended to squint a bit behind his glasses, but it gave him the appearance of being sincere which, as a salesman, was essential. He sold apples on San Francisco’s streets, and because he was younger and had learned to be engaging, he was more successful than the older men who were also in financial straits during the Depression.
So, here I was at 21, an ex-third class petty officer, waiting a few months before starting community college, needing to get civilized. Nestor was the man to do it. He had been a men’s wear salesman and knew how to outfit me with a suit and casual clothes. I’d already determined to spend some of my mustering out pay on contact lenses so I would no longer be “four-eyes,” or “goggle-eyes” as I was called, among other names, during my family’s five years in Brooklyn. After I was dressed properly and had my new eyes, Nestor took me to several bars and restaurants to teach me how to be in them.
Nestor Harpending Palladius (1924 – 2008)
All the while, I watched Nestor’s face, since this was the first piece of advice he gave me. I began to emulate him. While walking alone in City’s streets I would consciously relax my face and allow a slight upward movement in the corners of my mouth. As I did this, I visualized Dad’s face and realized he had the same habit. It must be a family trait, I felt. So I adopted this habit feeling it a good thing in itself.
Over the years, I have realized that some people I pass in the street, or especially the neighborhood, look me in the eye and give me a small but distinct smile. I check my face and realize—I, too, had been smiling.
Fred was born in Seattle, Washington. He grew up as an only child in Berkeley with his father Fred Sr., and his mother Mercedes, née Buchanan. He died in his parked car at Tracy City Library, a favorite hangout.
I met Fred when I enrolled in Berkeley High School, California, for my senior year in 1952. We shared an interest in modern “West Coast” jazz, and in exploring existential topics, but not with the rigor we later employed. During his high school days and beyond, Fred worked part-time at the Chevron Station at the intersection of Telegraph and Ashby Avenues in Berkeley. This experience began his education in the maintenance and repair of cars, which became one of his passions. After high school he went to U. C. Berkeley—“Cal.” He joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) on campus. He also joined Phi Sigma Kappa, a fraternity, which experience he remembered fondly, often mentioning fraternity brothers. He majored in “American Studies” in the Department of Political Science, and received his Bachelor of Arts. I joined the US Navy after high school, so we weren’t in touch during these and the few following years.
When I left the Navy to study at San Francisco City College, Fred was at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, fulfilling his obligation of active duty in the US Army for two years, as a 1st lieutenant. He learned about military tactics, firearms, and military history— interests he retained throughout his life. He returned home to Berkeley as I was also returning, with my wife Patricia, to begin my junior year at Cal. That’s when we met again—1960. He and I and Patricia built a small circle of friends during the next six years, until I graduated with my master’s degree in 1966. Patricia and I began moving around Northern California, following a series of jobs in my career, but Fred and I stayed in touch. He often visited us, wherever we were. My younger sister Diane became part of this group, as well.
After his stint in the army, Fred worked for several years in the data processing department at the Naval Supply Center in Oakland. Finding this unsatisfactory, he enrolled at Laney College in Oakland to learn welding, and subsequently worked for many years in this trade, while living in Oakland, then Hayward. As my jobs took me away from the San Francisco Bay Area—Southern California, Texas, Alaska—we began corresponding. I have at least 300 letters from him, since 1988, which I am intermittently transcribing into digital documents, with an eye toward privately publishing them, interleaved chronologically with my letters to him. Fred’s goal was to retire at age 40 or 45, thence to dedicate himself to the reading of all the books in the local library, in order, via their assigned codes in the Dewey Decimal System; and, to restore old VW Beetles; and, to listen to music. So, after he saved up $100,000, he quit to live in a small trailer in Hayward, then in Tracy. I worked again in the Bay Area, off and on, for around ten years total, wherein Fred and I inevitably took up where we had previously left off. Patricia and I divorced, and I later married Mary. Fred became a regular visitor to our home in Modesto, California and, after Mary’s and my five years away in Alaska, at our home in Oakland, and then in Ojai. He observed with pleasure the growing up of our children, as well as the children Patricia and I had had together and, later, my grandchildren. I took a short-term job in Dallas in 1989-90. When the job was done, we drove together with my things back to Oakland. We took a side trip to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, his Army “home” for two years, so he could reminisce. I took another job in Alaska which lasted three years, during which time Fred and I corresponded frequently and at length. I returned to San Jose, California in 1995 and we resumed our visits with each other, many at the home of my daughter and son-in-law where he became a periodic visitor. He was often part of family and holiday celebrations at my daughter’s home and also at the home of my sister Diane in San Jose.
In 2002, I married Eva in Los Gatos, in which Fred managed the recorded music for us, then I moved to Stockholm. I have since visited San Jose at least once per year, and Fred has been a house guest for several days during these times. Fred and son-in-law Ken became friends. Our correspondence continued. When Diane moved to Paradise, California, Fred and I took trips together to visit her and my mother when I flew in from Stockholm for family visits. After becoming eligible to receive his Federal Social Security payments, Fred realized he wasn’t going to be able to keep up, financially. He hired in at age 68 as a driver for Monument Car Parts in Tracy, where he worked nine years, until October 2014. He was tired, in the extreme. He died three months later. These are the rough outlines of Fred’s life and my times with him. But, who was Frederic Buchanan Pape?
Here is a list of characteristics which Fred evinced, borrowed from his general personality type (ISTP): – A compelling drive to understand the way things work – Employing logical analysis for practical concerns – Fiercely independent, needing to have the space to make his own decisions – Loyal and faithful to his “brothers” – A need and ability to absorb large quantities of facts, and to sort through them when he was alone – A bias that judgments and decisions should be made impartially, based on the facts.
Accurate as far as they go, these descriptors lack attention to Fred’s soul. He loved cats. Before he lived in his 144 square foot trailer, he had cats in his home. He inevitably befriended cats in the homes of other people, as well. Although having decided he wasn’t marriage or father material after an unsatisfactory affair of the heart while attending Cal, he sincerely appreciated the female form. Fred said he liked women a lot, as long as they were no closer to him than his arm’s length. He was punctilious in observing certain proprieties, such as Christmas cards, and proper dress at special occasions such as weddings and holidays. Always, he comported himself as a gentleman. And, he was a gentle man. I don’t remember him ever getting angry and casting aspersions on others, unless they were public figures; and then, mostly with biting wit, irony, or whimsy.
In younger days he enjoyed alcohol, just as I and our circle of friends did. But, after having been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, he quit drinking immediately and completely. As for tobacco, he was frankly and unashamedly addicted. A familiar phrase from him, when visiting someone’s home, was “I’m going outside to burn one.” Fred was careful with his money, except sometimes. He called himself “cheap”, but I saw him as prudent, given his limited assets and income. Exceptions included when, as he continually scoured second hand shops for his clothing and other necessaries, he would come across cameras which were priced too low to ignore. He would sometimes buy several in a day, detailing them to me in his letters. Cars. I think the word ”obsessed” is not too strong in presenting Fred’s interest in cars. His “pinups” were cars—pictures he took with his many cameras, using the cheapest available film and processing of course, at any car show of merit within a radius of 50 miles. He would have duplicates made to share with me, despite my much lesser interest. In conversation and letters he would give the finest details of body and modifications thereof, engine, mechanical parts, and estimated performance based on his own experience and manufacturer’s specifications.
His musical tastes ranged from the Baroque Period (exemplified by J.S. Bach) through the Classical period (exemplified by Haydn and Mozart), skimming lightly over the Romantic period and much of the Modern, to land solidly where American blues and jazz entered the realm. We exchanged many audio tapes and CDs, and our letters were full of enthusiasms and opinions regarding pieces and performances. Fred was apolitical, but cast the occasional jaundiced eye and remark toward current events and politicians. He was merciless with other public figures, mostly in the entertainment realm, whom he would skewer, often with clever neologisms. Fred’s father was, for a number of years, treasurer for St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley. Fred attended the church in his youth and retained his regard for the sect’s various forms and traditions. Books. Fred’s ability to consume books was prodigious. And, he rarely forgot a book or author. As time passed he favored reading fiction over non-fiction.
Fred’s last years as a driver for an auto parts supplier in Tracy were good for Fred, in my view. He had something useful to do, which he apparently did well and efficiently, as was his wont (he and I did use such archaic language with each other). He enjoyed the company of other “gear heads” and in teaching younger fellows the ropes in cars and life. — There you have more insight into Frederic (“it ends in ‘c’, not ‘ck’ he would tersely remind people) Buchanan Pape. No one can fully know another person. I feel privileged to have known Fred as well as anyone. I already miss him. Fred will appreciate a suitable ending in Latin: Requiescat in pace. — Fred celebrated Christmas and Easter with his Buchanan relatives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is survived by his first cousin Barbara; his first cousin Duncan’s widow Patricia, and second cousins Mary, Paul ( wife Penni), Catherine (husband Jason) and Margaret (husband George). This is a link to a photo gallery of pictures in Fred’s later years.— Fred’s remains were laid to rest 20 February 2015. He served as a first lieutenant in the US Army, 1960 – 1962, and therefore was eligible to have his remains interred at a national cemetery, which was his wish. I offered a short eulogy, with four of Fred’s cousins attending: Barbara (Sr. Margeurite) Buchanan, Patricia Buchanan, Paul Buchanan, Penni Thorpe. Graveside Eulogy:
Fred was a civilized man. He was an honorable man. He was a curious man who collected information, processed it carefully, used it, and shared it with others, but never officiously. He was a teacher. He observed the proper forms of society without subordinating the self-directed ways which were peculiarly his. He was his own man. He listened to others, and chose to learn from them when he found them interesting. He did not judge others. He loved music. The rear window of his work truck showed a sign declaring: “I Hafta Hear Haydn.” To those who would share his interests he offered friendship. He was my friend. Goodbye Fred, “and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Asbury Harpending, Jr. Born: 14 September 1839, Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky
Died: 1923, Manhattan, New York
Asbury’s Father: Asbury Harpending, Sr.
Born: 10 October 1790, New York State
Died: 7 October 1873, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky
Asbury’s Mother: born 1808 as Nancy Wright Clark. Later, she was known as Nancy Jones; a prior marriage is speculated. She was Asbury’s second wife, of three. Asbury Senior remarried in 1843, so Asbury Junior’s mother died (not divorced) when he was quite young. He was the youngest of three from his mother. He had seven half-siblings from Asbury’s first wife, Mary Prickett Ogden who died in 1833. There were no children from Asbury’s third marriage to Sarah. We don’t know the relationship Asbury had with his step-mother Sarah.
Asbury’s Wife: Ira Anna Thompson
Died: April 26, 1917
(Gertrude died in infancy)
Asbury Harpending, Jr. was my father’s maternal grandfather. Dad remembered being with him in New York when Asbury died. Dad was then nine years old. My memories of Asbury are those of my father and Asbury’s daughter Genevieve, Dad’s aunt, transmuted by time and the nervous systems of the three of us.
What I record in the following is the picture I have of the man and his relationships with his children and their spouses.
He was full of himself, irascible, explosive and difficult to live with. He was driven by ambition and achieved most of what he yearned for as a youth: wealth, influence and some degree of respectability. He fancied himself as a southern gentleman, but he was not.
His memoirs barely mention his wife, about whom my father and Great Aunt knew little; I know next to nothing. Both of his sons left home never to return. He doted on his two daughters and indulged them to the point of supporting them and their husbands until he died.
He left home in Kentucky at age 16 to the promise of California during and after the Gold Rush and returned slightly before or after his father’s death in 1874 to present himself to his former community and family as a successful and wealthy man. Another motive was that he suffered public humiliation by his still-murky role in the Great Diamond Hoax of 1872 and he wanted to start afresh. This was not to be. Although he had built a marvelous house in his home county, after the child Gertrude died (within two years of her birth) he moved to New York City. I speculate he found Kentucky slow and boring and that he was not accepted socially.
It’s not clear to me how he raised a family in Marin County (Mill Valley) and Alameda County (Oakland) while living in New York, but I have heard many stories from Dad about his life in Mill Valley and the “Fruitvale House” (now gone) in Oakland. It seems apparent Asbury relied on his two sons-in-law to manage family affairs. They were business partners with each other, as well as connected through the sisters.
Asbury was a promoter and plunger and, in the end, died with his fortune almost depleted. His sons-in-law spent twelve years after his death trying to recover Asbury’s assets in New York, California, London, and Mexico.
(More Text Follows the Three Images)
“Old Harpending House”, Princeton, Kentucky
Fruitvale House, Oakland
Lucille Harpending Pavellas at the Mill Valley house.
Harpending’s son-in-law George D. Papageorge-Palladius was also a promoter and in him, I believe Asbury saw a natural son. Papageorge died in his fifties from complications of diabetes and other diseases, having depleted all the Harpending assets in the middle of The Great Depression. Papageorge’s son, Nestor Palladius, was also a promoter/salesman but was not successful and, in the long run, died in poverty at age 83 with no natural children.
Harpending’s other son-in-law, Alexander Konstantin Pavellas, was the respectable and professionally educated “son” (lawyer and diplomat) who married the oldest, peculiar, and theretofore unmarriageable daughter, Lucille, several years older than Alexander. He died similarly to his brother-in-law, the same year, 1935.
These two sons were good husbands and did their duties, thereby cementing their access to the Harpending assets (tangible and intangible) which they used to advance their various enterprises together, including especially newspapers and other publications and activities aimed at the Greek-American community and Philhellenes of the West Coast.
Asbury was imperious and prone to impulsive betting on the future. He was a Californian of the 1800s, but his way was not profitable in the 1900s. He died a disappointed man, as did his sons-in-law who were inextricably in his orbit. His daughter Lucille was a mystical and unhappy soul who died within months of her husband and brother-in-law. His daughter Genevieve was altogether different. She enjoyed life, in whatever manner it presented itself, to the fullest until her death at age 90, then living with a rather punchy ex-boxer, Frank.
Asbury’s legacy is memories, a few mementos, and a great number of descendants, amazingly, through only one grandson, my father.
After publishing this article I heard from Eric Baker, a relative of a man who was also associated with “The Great Diamond Hoax,” James B. Cooper. In his historical researches Mr. Baker found where Asbury Harpending, Jr. is buried, without headstone:
Woodside, Queens County, New York
Plot: Section 48, Plot 99, Grave 11