Emma John1

F, b. 23 March 1891, d. 5 July 1994
Father*Ernst John1 b. 5 Nov 1849, d. 22 May 1909
Mother*Juliana Uhr1 b. 17 Oct 1853, d. 23 Jan 1911
     Emma John was born on 23 March 1891 at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA.1 She was the daughter of Ernst John and Juliana Uhr.1 Emma John appeared on the census of 1900 in the household of Ernst John at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA; 13 kids, 9 living.1 Emma John appeared on the census of 1910 in the household of Juliana Uhr at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA; Granddaughters Ruth (4) and alberta (2) Simpson living with her.2 Emma John married Arno J Vasholtz on 21 September 1912 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Cedarburg, Ozaukee, WI, USA.3 As of 21 September 1912,her married name was Vasholtz. Emma John appeared on the census of 1920 in the household of William John.4 Emma John A Century Shared
March 23,1994
By: Joanne Weintraub - of The Journal Staff -
At 103 and 105, sistersare inseparable
Time - exactly 103 years Wednesday - has taken from Emma Vasholz her husband, her friends, her walk, her words and most of the world's sights and sounds. But, like a soft-hearted thief, it has left her something precious. Vasholz still has a loving, protective sister. An older sister.
To mark Vasholz's birthday, the sisters are having their picture taken inthe sitting room of Glendale's Colonial Manor Retirement & Convalescent Home, where they are roommates. Aides wheel 105-year old Ida John soclose to Vasholz that their wheelchairs almost touch. John, too is terribly hard of hearing and can't see very much. But she is animated, she smiles easily, and the few words she speaks are clear and vigorous.
Gesturing at Vasholz, she says proudly: "That's my sister."
The John girls were born over a Milwaukee saloon at N. 24th & West CenterStreets. Their parents, German immigrants who ran the saloon, had ninechildren, of whom only these two survive.

According to Vasholz's daughter, Gertrude Matthews, Ida John never went further than grade school and she never married. As a young woman, shemoved to Chicago with another sister, Ella, where she waited tables formany years at a restaurant in The Loop that was a favorite of stars on the vaudeville circuit.
Remembers Al Jolson - "She always said her favorite customer was AlJolson, "recalls Matthews, a slender, straight-backed woman of 80. "She said he was such a nice man, and a good tipper, too."

Emma John graduated from North Division High School about 1909. She, too, planned to go to work, but her mother died suddenly, leaving her to care for three younger siblings. Married in her 20s to Arno Vasholz, she raised Gertrude, the couple's only child, and helped out with her husband's tavern on South 27th Street.

Vasholz lost her husband in 1946 and later lived for a time with her daughter and son-in-law. In 1972, however, John returned to Milwaukee, and the two sisters shared a bungalow at N. 54th St. and W. Keefe Ave. With the help of Matthews and other relatives, the sisters were able to stay in their own home until 1991, when John had passed the century markand Vasholz was just shy of it. But that year, John broke a hip, and the two women moved to Colonial.

Instead of a bungalow, they now share a second-floor room with lilac walls and a picture window that, this week, looks out on the tentative beginnings of spring. Family pictures - of children and grandchildren, of four blond grand-nieces all pregnant at once, of Ida John as an elegant young woman in an empire-waisted dress - are displayed more for the benefit of visitors than of the sisters, who probably cannot make them out anymore.

Apart from the dwindling of sight and hearing, however, Vasholz and Johnare in good health. Denied the everyday pleasures of newspapers andtelevision - "They were very big readers, very up on current events,"Matthews says - and, in John's case, of following her cherished WhiteSox, they still seem to enjoy the home's musical gatherings. John likes sweets, and Matthews makes sure to bring her hard candy or chocolate-covered peppermints. Vasholz, whose once-red hair has a slight curl to it, sits quietly in her wheelchair. Her sister, whose short, straight hair gives her an almost boyish look, is livelier and more responsive. Though too hard of hearing to engage in conversation, she is nevertheless capable of asking for what she wants.

What John always wants, staff members at Colonial say, is to be near Vasholz. They go to the dining room together, nap together and attend social events together. If one sister is wheeled out onto the terrace,the other must go, too. When the session with the photographer starts, Matthews and a home aide try their best to let the sisters know what is going on. Getting a smileout of John is easy: Someone gently tosses her a purple balloon, and she delightedly bats it back. Persuading Vasholz to smile is harder, but an affectionate squeeze of the hand from her daughter finally does it. The sitting over, the sisters are wheeled back to their room. John enters the elevator first. "Where's my sister?" she asks quickly. Right behind you, John is told, right behind you. on 23 March 1994. She died on 5 July 1994 at age 103.1


Arno J Vasholtz b. 4 Nov 1891, d. 6 Nov 1946


  1. [S67] 1900 Federal Census Census,.
  2. [S65] 1910 Federal Census.
  3. [S70] 1920 Federal Census Census, 1045 N 24th St, Milwaukee.
  4. [S70] 1920 Federal Census Census,.