The historical context for the birth of Leo Bruce Hopewell II. Is as follows:
From 1832 to present time and it started with two individuals that formed a union while working for the Sinclair family in South Carolina. Henry Clay Spann (light-skinned black slave from the Virgin Islands and Rosa Garden Gardner a mixed race non-slave) form a union and the following children were born:
Gertrude S. Span and Alonzo Johnston (from Pittsburgh PA ~ a waiter on the railroad) were married and had the following children: Henry Johnston, Carl F. Johnston, Ruth Johnston, Rosa Johnston, and Charlotte Johnston.
The line of succession leading to Bruce II is from his mother Ruth Johnston. She was the 3rd sibling born to Alonzo and Gertrude Johnston June 12, 1907. After Ruth graduated from Easton High School in 1925, Ruth furthered her education by attending Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia where she met her future husband Mr. Leo Bruce Hopewell. They were married in 1926. Born out of this union were their 3 children Leo Bruce Hopewell II., Louise Hopewell and Alan Hopewell.
The family settled in Chicago were Leo Sr. attended the University of Chicago premedical school until he ultimately demised in 1930. Ruth resettled her family back in her hometown of Easton, PA where she raised her children while working for the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, DC and the signal Corps, all our in Philadelphia PA during world war II. Ruth was a gifted classically trained pianist. Ruth was in great demand throughout the area to perform for concerts, glee clubs, churches and other cultural and entertainment meant venues. In 1944, Ruth relocated to New York City with her family and went to work at the Department of Taxation and Finances, NY State Tax Division where she remained until retirement in 1972.
Leo Bruce Hopewell II, the first of Ruth’s siblings was born December 26, 1927 in Easton PA. He attended Elementary, Junior High and first year of High school in Easton. Bruce was highlighted in the 1943 Edition of the Easton Express as being an outstanding member of the High School debating team where he made the following statement to the paper:
“I am glad to have the United States as my native land because I am able to enjoy the advantages and privileges of a country who I ideals and standards are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness regardless of race color or creed. Knowing full well that many of the countries of the world have been in slave now and are people deprived of such privileges that we Americans have, such as freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of worship, I am grateful that I am a citizen of the United States. For instance, we have Christmas which has been denied to the children of many foreign countries since the war began. I hope that by next Christmas this war will be over and we can truthfully say peace on earth, good will towards men.”
During Bruce’s formative year the Hopewell/Johnston family had a tradition to have all the children dress up in white every Easter Sunday and take a group picture at a local park in Easton. Bruce was the head of the lineup and was referred to as one who was most knowledgeable of current information. Bruce was a leader, a style setter, had an unlimited view of opportunities in life, had an extensive knowledge of musical history especially in Jazz, was an enthusiastic fan and supporter of Track and Field, was a universal traveler and was the life of any party.
Bruce had distinguished himself as a Jazz promoter/tax preparer. His sister Louise Hopewell had distinguished herself as a professional Librarian and his brother Alan Hopewell had distinguished himself as a leading School Administrator in San Jose, CA both Louise and Alan pre-deceased Bruce in life.
Bruce is survived by his loving wife Mary Hopewell, sister-in-law Marilyn Hopewell, son Bruce Jr., grandson Ethan, nephews: Marc McDowell and Kris Hopewell, and his cousin Raymond W. Johnston Sr. and many many friends and associates.
Attached are some family news clippings and pictures: