Families are changing and complicated, forgiving and fickle no matter what the size or composition.
They stretch and shrink, absorb and return a myriad of emotions. The family unit informs and leaves an indelible mark on each member. For the Seiberlings, family meant love, support and “stick togetherness” as coined by son Willard Seiberling.
The Seiberlings often referred to themselves as a clan. F.A. Seiberling was one of nine children, and most of his siblings remained in Akron to raise their families.
F.A. and his wife Gertrude had seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood. Their 6th child, Grace Wenonah, died in infancy from bronchial pneumonia.
Here are some biographies of each family member as well as the family tree:
F.A. and Gertrude Seiberling
- Frank "F.A." Seiberling
- F.A. Seiberling's Community Endeavors
- Gertrude Penfield Seiberling
- Gertrude Seiberling's Community Endeavors
The Seiberling Children
- John Frederick "Fred"
- Irene Henrietta
- Willard Penfield
- James Penfield "Penfield"
- Gertrude Virginia "Virginia"
- Grace Wenonah
- Franklin Augustus, Jr.
F.A. and Gertrude would ultimately have twenty-one grandchildren.
Holidays, birthday celebrations and life events were noisy, crowded, frequent affairs in the Seiberling world. Members of the family often traveled together and two of F.A.’s brothers-in-law joined him in purchasing adjoining lands in the Les Cheneaux Islands of Michigan to create summer retreats for their families and crowd of relatives.
The Seiberlings experienced both good times and bad. They lived through the financial roller coaster of the 1920s, scraped by in the Great Depression, and adjusted to the rations of World War II just like millions of other American families. Over four decades, weddings were celebrated, babies were born, sons left for war and family members passed away.
“Sometimes I am led to wonder whether in all the world there lives and breathes a family as wonderful as the Seiberlings. But whether or not, this is certain – that I count myself born under a very kindly star to be one of the great clan and would not trade places with anybody.”
--Grandson Ned Handy, writing to his grandfather, F.A. Seiberling, in 1946