More Family ‘Six Degrees of Separation’

The world seems to keep getting a little smaller and the connections between families, no matter how disparate, keep showing themselves.

Last November, I wrote about one of my uncles, the Rev. Ernest Royle or as I knew him, Uncle Ernie. Born in 1935, Ernie Royle graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto at the Spring convocation of 1959 and was subsequently ordained a minister with the United Church of Canada. He was always Uncle Ernie to me and I had a tough time ‘seeing’ him as a church minister preaching each Sunday. But when my wife, Ellen and I decided to get married, it seemed only natural to ask Uncle Ernie if he would be so kind as to do the honours and officiate at our wedding. He immediately, and without any hesitation, agreed and so one of our great memories is of Uncle Ernie ‘hitching’ us.

While researching Ellen’s family history, as I have recounted in earlier posts, I found that her second cousin twice removed, Louis Orville Breithaupt had been the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1952 until 1957. Following his vice regal term, Louis had been appointed as the Chancellor of Victoria College. I also learned through my aunt, Carol (Hadden) Royle, that one of Uncle Ernie’s classmates at university had also been a Breithaupt – a Herb Breithaupt as she recalled. Mere coincidence or could there be a connection?

Well, as it turns out there absolutely is a connection as Herbert C. Breithaupt is third cousin to Ellen, Herb being the son of Louis Orville Breithaupt (as mentioned Ellen’s second cousin). Small world, indeed! But it became even a bit smaller when I found that as Chancellor, Ellen’s cousin Louis conferred the Bachelor of Divinity degree not only on his son, Herbert, but also on Herb’s classmate, Ernest Royle! Above is a photo from Sara (Caskey) Breithaupt’s memoir showing Louis conferring the Bachelor of Divinity degree on his son Herb. The second person seated to the right of Louis is the late Hon. Lester B. Pearson who not long after this photo was taken became the Prime Minister of Canada.

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