History of the David Garvin Cartano Family

(by Julie Cartano Rourke)


I was in Iowa visiting Kyle last week and had the opportunity to drive northwest of Des Moines several hours to Lake Okebogi to meet the "other" David Cartano, David Garvin Cartano.  He and his wife, Jo Ann very graciously treated me to a delicious lunch at their summer home on West Lake Okebogi and we swapped Cartano family stories.  Dave is the grandson of Richard Andrew "Dick" Cartano, brother of our grandfather, Daniel Cartano. They are said to have played baseball barehanded together.   We have the same great-grandparents, Anton and Carolyn Klein Cartano of Springville, Iowa. He has the original family portrait on his wall of Anton, Carolyn and their 11 (of 16) surviving Cartano children! I believe his mother, Blanche, was the one who sent Dad the copy of the picture which we have.  His father was Wilbur Richard Cartano (1987- 1972), a cattle farmer who married Blanche Thompson.  Dave definitely looks like he's a Cartano related to Dad, Bob and Ross Fletcher (son of Dad's sister, Margaret Carolyn Cartano Fletcher).


Wilbur had two sisters, Olive and Elfrieda.  Elfrieda majored in drama at Grinnell College in Iowa, a school with much the same reputation as Reed College in Oregon.   She dated Gary Cooper in college, but married George Freshwater, a football coach.  Dave said she was an excellent musician and organist until late in life. She lived to around the age of 100.


His grandfather Richard was a highly respected member of the community in Monticello, Iowa where he was President of the Bank of Monticello and sat on the board.  He built the bank up to be one of the largest in the state.  Dave said his grandfather was very modest about his accomplishments, but Dave was amazed at how many people came up to him at the funeral to tell him how wonderful his grandfather had been and how much he had done for them.


His father, Wilbur was a very warm, practical man. Dave has 3 siblings, Carol Anne, Richard Bruce "Dick" (living in San Francisco, 2 children, Jennifer and Chris), and Lawrence Alan.  He and Dick had a family reunion last week at Lake Okebogi with their children and grandchildren.  Dave and Jo Ann have two children, Geoffrey David, a geologist in Raleigh, N.C., and Ann, a psychologist in Appleton, WI. Both have children.


Dave majored in agronomy at Iowa State University (where Mom got her Master's in Nutrition, about 40 miles north of Kyle in Ames, IA).  He met his wife Jo Ann Cowan there.  They both received MS's from Ohio State, and he earned a PhD there as well.  Jo Ann's  family is of Swedish heritage and her grandparents first owned their summer home on Lake Okebogi.  Her sister lives next door.  Dave and Jo Ann live at the lake for 4 months in the summer, and spend the rest of their time at their home in Florida.  Both Dave and Jo Ann have had very interesting careers.  More details are on our David's Cartano website (www.cartano.net) under Personal Information.  Before Dave and Jo Ann retired, Dave had groves of exotic fruit trees for 20 years in South Dade County, Florida.  He told me stories about poachers trying to steal his lychee nuts in the night, and about how a hurricane in 1992 swept away every tree he had, except one trapped in an irrigation ditch, just hours after he had received an earnest money agreement to sell the groves.  Needless to say, the sale did not go through. Jo Ann was in Wisconsin at the time of the hurricane with her daughter who was having a baby.  She could not reach Dave because the power and phones were out for days.  She had to rent a car from the Miami airport to go out to their home because a taxi would not take her.  She didn't know what

condition she would find him in.  Luckily, he was fine but they had a huge mess to clean up! Dave has been a competitive tennis player in his age group with a state ranking.  He does all the cooking for Jo Ann and himself.  Can you believe this ... OYSTER STEW is a family favorite that they always have on Christmas Eve?!  They also make "cornmeal mush" and even fry it in butter and put syrup on it, just like Dad did!


All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.  It was fun to meet another Cartano after all these years of thinking we didn't have any relatives except the Fletchers on the Cartano side!  One of our grandfathers' Richard and Daniel's siblings, John was known as "Honest John" Cartano. Dave knows of a relative who has a plaque with "Honest John" on his

wall.  That would be fun to see!


The "other" David Cartano can be reached at dcartano@bkolaw.com. The Cartano website is http://www.cartano.net/