The Tracy Family History
three Tracy brothers


    When we first moved to Washington State it was to a small farm in Woodinville, on the outskirts of Seattle. There we raised goats and rabbits. Down the road a few miles was the town of Bothell where we went to school. Bothell even had a movie theater.

"Bothell Youngsters Travel  to State Fair on Special Train"


L to R: Wilbur, Jimmie and Alva Tracy - The three young goat farmers went to fair.

    Buckets of rain and 500 school children
poured onto a ten-car special train at Bothell
this morning. And despite the rain it was a
fair day in Bothell – Puyallup Fair, that is.
   The cry of “Here she comes!” began 30
minutes before the special Northern Pacific
train rolled into the station at 9 o’clock. Buses
unloaded pupils at the depot. Many anxious
children had been there since 8 o’clock,
standing under the eaves, in empty box cars
and crowding the small depot.
   Among the first to board the train were three
brothers, Alva Tracy, 12 years old, and his brothers,
Wilbur, 10, and Jimmie, 8. Their hair wet and
lunches in hand they scrambled up the steps.
Little Jimmie had trouble getting over the high
steps. His freckled face split by a wide grin,
he said: “Hey! Wait for me, you guys!”
It was the younger brother's first trip, but...

...Alva was at the Western Washington Fair last year. His favorite exhibit was the goats, which he said he liked much better than the cows, since the family has 20 goats on its farm and the boys do much of the work.
   G.W.Rodine, Western passenger agent of the Western Pacific Railway, estimated there would be about 700 students aboard the train by the time it reached Puyallup. The train was to stop in Woodinville, Bellevue and Kent.
  Friday, the special train will pick up pupils in Kirkland and Bellevue.
   The train service to the fair is free, the children needing only tickets to the fair to be excused from school and ride the train.

     In Red Bluff, I lived only a few blocks from the high school. I would walk to school every day. Granddad and Grandma Tracy's house was on the way back so I would drop by and visit. Grandma was a coke-a-holic. She drank Coke-Cola all day long and insisted that I have one each visit. (Then, as now, I really do not care for the stuff.)
    I had lots of opportunity to ask about the family history. Even though I saw my Grandparents almost every day for three years, most of my family history I got from Aunt Hattie.
    When I was 16 years old, my brother Wilbur came to Red Bluff to see me while he was on leave from the Army. He did a little detective work and located our father. He was still running a "Gypo" outfit in Quincy. Arrangements were made for me to spend the summer with my father working with his timber cutters.
    I didn't spend much time with my father that summer. He lived in town and rarely came out to the work site. I lived in the forest in a camper.
    My father was a man who was born at the wrong time. If he were to be born today: diagnosis, treatment, and medication would be available. What he did was what most of the mentally ill do when medical help is not available. He self treated. His treatment of choice was alcohol. (Until late in life he never touched a drop of alcohol. This was all part of his health food regimen, which he thought would cure him.)
    Dad gave me a Studebaker car. So, after working for the summer, I returned home with a car ...and the impression that my father was very erratic and unstable.
    I graduated from high school in 1958, left Red Bluff, and headed for Pasadena.

    While living with Aunt Florence in Red Bluff, I would finish my last 3 years of High School. I would develop some life long friends and devote myself to school work. I was terrible in the sciences: math, chemistry, etc. But, I excelled in the arts: drama, radio announcing, and public speaking.

                            I would win public speaking contest



    Mother attended Red Bluff Hi, as I did 20 years later. As it would be, we had the same writing teacher, Ruth Hitchcock. Mother tells the story that Ruth asked her to write about the ‘Moon House’. Mother declined. She didn’t want to write about a Chinese place.


(Left) Al Tracy, Air Force, Proudly serving his country.
    (Center) Will Tracy, Airborne, proudlyserving his country.
        (Right) Jim Tracy, National Guard, dodging the draft.

    At the same time that I graduated from high school in 1958, Wilbur (He now goes by the name Will.) was discharged from the Army, and Al was discharged from the Air Force. We joined up, moved to Pasadena to live with our mother, got jobs, they used the GI Bill and we started Pasadena City College.
    A couple of blocks away from the college was Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate School, one of only a handful of karate schools in the country at that time. We took lessons, and for the last three years in Pasadena, we actually ran the school while Ed Parker taught the powers that be in Hollywood and wrote karate books.
    We moved to San Francisco in 1962, opened our own karate school to finance our way through San Francisco State College and then, hopefully, law school. Forgetting law school, we stayed in the karate business and between 1967 and 1973, Al and I opened 150 franchise Tracy's Karate Schools throughout the United States and Canada. It was the largest chain of karate schools in America, the largest chain of karate schools in the history of the world. During the early years the Tracy brothers literally dominated the karate business in America.
    The history of Tracy's Karate Schools is for another book at another time.

Al Tracy
    Married Frances Ann Besset on 16 October 1965 in Reno, Nevada. He has two children: Mark Guerin Tracy, born 27 January 1968 in San Jose California; and Kristina Lynn Tracy, born 15 December 1970.
    Mark operates a karate school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tina works for Intel in San Francisco.
    Al divorced and remarried Pat Amundson. Both of her parents are from Iceland.
    When a youngster in the 4-H, he won the Washington State Rabbit judging contest. He attended Bothell High School all four years, solving the problem of the family constantly moving by hitchhiking to school.
    In high school, he won the Washington State Debate championship. With the championship went a four-year full scholarship to Washington State University. Not wanting to go to an agricultural school, he joined the Air Force. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant in an unheard of time of less than two years.
    He remains in the karate business and is considered to be one of the world's foremost karate masters. Running his operations out of Lexington, Kentucky, he travels the country putting on karate workshops. Also, he sells by mail order, via the Internet, different karate products.
    Two year's ago he sponsored a convention in Las Vegas called, "A Gathering of Eagles," which drew 2000 of the world's top karate men. Some came from as far away as Japan to attend the convention.

Will Tracy
    Will married Mary Ellen Elizabeth Poleskie on 1 October 1964. They would have eight children: Steven Austin Tracy, born 21 August 1970; Michael Lion Tracy, born 2 December 1971; Tamara Mary-Ellen Tracy, born 21 August 1974; Jared David Tracy, born 12 September 1976; Sharla Antoinette Tracy, born 28 April 1978; Crystal Casmira Tracy, born 15 May 1980; David Tracy; and Roarke Tracy.
    For a number of years Will operated two highly successful karate schools in Portland, Oregon.
He now lives north of Los Angeles.

Jim Tracy
    I married Carol Buck 12 October 1970 in Carson City, Nevada, and divorce in 1974. 1 have one daughter, Jennifer Leigh Tracy Specter, born 28 October 1971 in San Jose, California.
    Jennifer was a straight "A" student in high school, graduating and starting at the University of San Diego, Revelle College, at the age of 16. She then attended graduate school at Flagstaff, Arizona.
    She is married to Bruce Specter and they live in Reno, Nevada. She works for Charles Schwab.
For the last 20 years I have been on disability with a chemical imbalance in the brain. I am not able to do anything so I spend my time writing this family history.
    I live in Sacramento.

    She married Ed Espinosa in1967. He was a good man. Ed died in 1988. She died in December 2003 at age 86. We lived together for the last few years of her life.

Mr. and Mrs. Alva Tracy (above) prepared to cut the cake in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary at an open house Sunday afternoon at their home on Fourth Street.

    Granddad Tracy would suffer a massive heart attack when he was 65 years old. He got off the wagon he was driving and laid down on the ground to die. He would then go on to live a healthy 25 more years, dying on the 28 of November 1962 at 90 years. His obituary said he came to California from Iowa when he was 18 years old, settling first in Sutter County before moving to Tehama County. The greatest regret he had all of his life was the fact that he did not volunteer to serve in the Spanish-American War. He thought he had let his country down when it needed him.
    There were lots of old people at his funeral. They were very very old people. Even Aunt Beulah's elementary teacher was there. They would come up to Al and say, "You look just like Alva when he was young." They would come up to me and say, "You look just like Austin when he was young." The Tracy genes are very strong.
    Granddad is buried in the family plot at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Side Story: Granddad Tracy was a good guitar player and played at the dances. Whenever Woody Guthrie was in the area they would get together and play their guitars. They became friends.
    Grandma would die on the 25 January 1965 and is buried next to him.
My father, Austin, became more unstable as he grew older and at the age of 66, committed suicide by gunshot on 22 November 1966. He is buried in the family plot.
Another side story: Austin made as much as $90,000 a year during the depression and even paid $5,000 for a single dog. Not bad money for running a Gypo logging outfit.

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