Sunday, June 15, 2014

Not cancer after all?

My family never talked much about Great-uncle Edgar Becham and I did not in fact know he existed until the census records.  On being asked, Aunt Louise talked about his widow and the fact that he died "young" of cancer.  The Georgia Death index gave me 1936 for his death, making him 28 or 29 when he died.  With the recent addition of Georgia death certificates 1930-1938 on, I finally looked him up.   According to his death certificate, he died on 29 Sep 1936 in Macon at the Oglethorpe infirmary where he had been treated for a week.  The official cause of death was listed as extensive ulcerative colitis, cause undetermined, with alcoholism as a contributing factor.  An autopsy had apparently been done to verify that cause.  He was listed as married but without his wife named and the informant was his brother Frank.  He was buried in Roberta City cemetery although he does not have a tombstone there. 

The alcoholism part certainly explains the family (Methodist and Primitive Baptist) reluctance to talk about him and possibly even the fact that they never gave him a tombstone, although that could have also been because he died during the depression.  The ulcerative colitis of unknown origin is even more interesting since his niece, Gladys, had major but undiagnosed stomach problems throughout her life and his great niece has been diagnosed with a condition that matches this description exactly.  The cause for hers is also unknown but it looks now like it may have been an unlucky draw in the gene pool. 

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