Saturday, December 5, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 37 - The Lefaives of Detroit

This is No.37 of 52 Ancestor posts for the year 2015. This particular post sat as a draft and I am returning to it now in December 2015.

I know so little about the Lefaive family and after discovering the 1952 "Folio Pak Snaps" of a Coughlin celebration, I am glad I waited because I have new pictures of the Lefaive family many years after the one below was taken.

I also found myself on a bit of a research tangent on the NBC or "NaBisCo" Building of  Detroit Michigan (where Art Lefaive once worked) which still stands nearly 100 years later and is being restored.

Art Lefaive (centre) Joan (L), Gerald (on lap) and Richard (R).

I just love this picture and I think it's because of the beautiful smiles. On closer inspection, the hat has "Dad" written on it and I am wondering if it is actually a cake?

Art Lefaive (centre) Joan (L), Gerald (on lap) and Richard (R).


In 1928, Arthur J Lefaive was working for the National Biscuit Co. in Detroit. The National Biscuit Co. is known today as Nabisco.

Arthur J. Lefaives 1928 Border Crossing card

The Nabisco building where Art worked (built in 1920 by architect Albert G. Zimmermann) still stands today and has been taken over by UHaul to be restored to it's former glory. (See the interesting video at this link:

The NBC or "NaBisCo" Building,
an acronym that once stood for "National Biscuit Company."
Detroit Michigan
"Built in 1920, this historic seven-story building is the result of the collaboration of Adolphus Green (1843-1917), first chairman of the board and later president of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco), and his architect, Albert G. Zimmermann (1866-1947). Green wanted factories that would have style and dignity to inspire loyalty from the workers and act as models of modernity to the communities in which they stood. 
National corporations were in their ascendancy at the turn of the century and architectural uniformity was a new concept for the time. The Nabisco buildings were different from the common manufacturing buildings of the World War I era. Each of the new plants included showers and locker rooms for the employees as well as fireproof stairways and other up-to-the-minute fireproofing techniques. 
The factories were twice published in the American Architect magazine in 1912 and 1916 for their trendsetting fire-safety measures including the steel framing and fireproof tiling, and their use of 1-1/2” maple flooring and architectural embellishments above and beyond the normal requirements for factory buildings." Source:

1924: The N.B.C. Nabisco Employees Magazine
Source: Attic Paper

National Biscuit Co. delivery truck piled high with premium soda crackers
as it was about to leave Burlington, Iowa in 1924
Source: Attic Paper

Arthur J. Lefaive married Viola Veronica Coughlin on the 18th of August 1934 in St. Peter (Pierre) parish in Kent, Ontario which was the "religious centre for a thriving Franco-Ontario community, this substantial brick structure was built to serve La Paroisse de St. Pierre sur la Tranche, the second oldest Roman Catholic parish in southwestern Ontario, established in 1802." (Source:

The marriage record is written in french (as were many church records in Essex and Kent county many years ago)

In the year that she was married (1934), we know from the Border Crossing card below that Viola was employed at Parke Davis & Co. in Detroit Michigan. Viola's sisters also worked there. Viola worked as a "drug finisher".


In 1940, according to the census, Viola and Art Lefaive were living in Detroit, Michigan with two children (4-year-old daughter Joan and 2-year-old son Richard) and Art was working as a delivery person for a retail bakery.


Photo of the Coughlin sisters (1952) (L to R) Bessie (Coughlin) Harrison, Gretta (Coughlin) Langlois, Viola (Coughlin) Lefaive, Margaret (Coughlin) Schofield and Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan

1952 Photo of Coughlin in-laws: back row L-R Austin Lauzon, Ed Harrison, Ed McHugh, Art Lefaive, Joe Demarse, Ernie Moynahan. Seated L-R Vickie Coughlin, Grandma and Art Schofield.

1952 Photo of Coughlin grandchildren: back row left to right, Betty Lauzon, Joe Demarse, Joan Lefaive, Patricia Moynahan, Richard Lefaive. Second-row L-R Gail Harrison, Grandma Coughlin, Gerald Lefaive. Front row L-R Bill Coughlin, Cindy Harrison, on Grandma's lap are two of Betty's children (Sher and Gary), Maureen Coughlin and Betty Lauzon's son Jim.

In the undated photograph (below), three sisters pose with their husbands: (left to right:  Arthur ("Art") and Margaret (Coughlin) Schofield; my grandparents Ernest and Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan and Viola (Coughlin) and Arthur ("Art") Lefaive.


Funeral card for Joan (Lefaive) Ribarsky
Funeral Card for
Viola (Coughlin) Lefaive

Source: Detroit Free Press
24 Jun 1996 (Page 12)
Arthur J. Lefaive died in Detroit, Michigan in 1996 and is buried at Heavenly Rest Cemetery. His son Richard and Gerald survived him and he had four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

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