Emma May Luke was born December 15, 1914 near Warrior’s Mark, Pennsylvania. The eldest of eight children, Emma grew up with her six brothers, John, Harry, Paul, David, James, and Billy, and her sister, Mary, among the hills of Pennsylvania. Her father and mother, Benjamin and Mary (McElwaine) Luke were farmers, but Ben eventually left farming to work in the Cambria County coal mines. Working the mines, Ben became acquainted with John Matthew Eichenlaub, whose son James Eichenlaub, met and subsequently married Emma, April 22nd, 1933.
On May 16, 1933, less than a month after their marriage, Emma gave birth to their first child, Shirley Jean. Between then and January of 1952, they added Ronald Eugene (Nov. 1934) , Robert Jack (May 1938), Nancy Jane (Oct. 1939), Wanda Marie (Nov. 1947), and James Allan (Jan. 1952). Their marriage lasted until April of 1958 when James Leo died of a brain aneurysm. Still having two children at home, meant that Emma would now become a working mother.
In the spring of 1959, Emma began employment as a waitress at Crist’s restaurant in Altoona (currently occupied by Mrs. Groves’ Pastries above) where she worked until 1971 when she left to wait tables at the J.C. Penny’s restaurant at the Logan Valley Mall, where she worked until health issues required that she quit work a few years later. She had to give up her home after a heart valve replacement surgery and lived with her children until her death from a cerebral embolus in 1976.
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1930 Census showing the Luke Family of Pennsylvania