Big changes have come to — all content is now read-only, and member subscriptions and the Shop have been discontinued.
Learn more



Family Finder
First Name:

The Otterstroms of Big Bear City CA

Updated September 29, 2010

About Our Family Research

The genealogical information and photos presented here are assembled for the benefit and enjoyment of you--the living--so current & future generations of our families might know a little something about those who came before.

They were compiled from the family records and memories of my parents, Jim & Lois (Byrne) Otterstrom of Reseda, CA.; my extended family, The Claude Hampsons of Granada Hills, CA.; my grandparents on both sides; the Ernest B. Otterstroms, originally from Winthrop, MN.; and the John W. Byrne family, originally from Holly Grove, AR.

And, from the records & memories of my wife Peggy, her sister Penny, and their family; including their parents, Leo & Barbara (Willson) Grier of Northridge, CA.; Peg's second mother, Gladys (Riter-Motz) Grier; Peggy's father's parents, Frank & Cassie (Brockman) Grier, originally of the Waco, TX area; and her grandparents on her mothers side, the Egerton Willsons of Los Angeles, CA (originally from Michigan and Wisconsin).

I've also used information from my great uncle, J. C. Garrison's, World Family Tree, vol. 54, tree 954, which is posted at; found further information on the Griers and Cadenheads in WFT, vol. 68, tree 324; and used results of research conducted by my sister Linda Maxene Otterstrom.

Much too was gleaned from the wonderful family history book, 'The Erwins Of Blue Springs (Arkansas)', researched and published in the mid 1990s by Wayne & Nedreva (Erwin) Beck of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Most of the work was done by others---my task simply being to put it together at this web-page---but I have been able to further complete some records with data from World Family Trees at and online Census records.

As with all family trees---due to the nature of human recollection and the ease with which we forget, miss-spell, or make typos---some of the information here may not be absolutely 100% accurate but I've tried to cross-reference the various sources using the most commonly verifiable data such as census & social security records where possible. If you see errors in the information---something that you know for certain is inaccurate---please e-mail me and I'll correct them.

The photographs are from the collections of the Otterstrom, Grier, Byrne, Willson, Motz, and Marquard families--and where necessary--have been re-touched or repaired with Adobe Photoshop.

**I dedicate this page to mothers everywhere, and four in particular; Sally Herrick--whose heartbreaking loss of her young son Eli motivated me to finally compile these records; to Barbara Grier--who brought Peggy into the world, yet passed away before I could thank her; to Gladys Riter-Motz-Grier, loving mother of many; and of course, to my own dear patient mom, Lois Hampson...for everything.


Jim Otterstrom
Big Bear City, California
December 1, 2002

Family Trees (viewing trees requires 4.0 or later browser)
  • Peggy S. Otterstrom (Grier) Family Tree (22 KB)
    An ever-evolving family tree showing the ancestors and descendants of Peggy Susan Otterstrom (Grier), including members of the Grier, Willson, Motz, and Cadenhead branches of our family.
  • James S. Otterstrom Family Tree (23 KB)
    An ever-evolving family tree showing the ancestors and descendants of James Steven Otterstrom, including the Otterstrom, Byrne, Garrison, and Ferguson lineage. Some members of my extended family are not listed here out of respect for their privacy.
  • James S Otterstrom Family Tree (22 KB)
Family Photos
  • Johnathan (Jack) Leo Grier---August 1978 (55 KB)
    Beefcake photo of Jack Grier taken by his sister Peggy Sue in August of 1978.
  • Olde-Tyme family photo---Big Bear circa 1988 (56 KB)
    The Otterstroms of Big Bear--Christmas card photo 1988--James S. Otterstrom (seated), Peggy S. Otterstrom (feathered hat), Jamie Grier Otterstrom (front w/doll), James Walker Otterstrom (front w/rifle). *photo-Richard Millener productions Big Bear Lake, California
  • Jack Grier with Nieces, Nephew, & Cousin---1985 (78 KB)
    Jack Grier & Company on a family campout at McKerricker State Park (Fort Bragg, Calif.) in July, 1985. Kids, left to right; Sara Simon Marquard; Emily Amber Marquard; Sarah Cicely Jean Herrick; Jamie Grier Otterstrom; Barbara 'Allyson' Marquard; James Walker Otterstrom. photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • Ernest & Rena Otterstrom with grandchildren (52 KB)
    Ernest & Rena Otterstrom with the children of their youngest son James 'Gordon' Otterstrom at home in Encino, CA (mid 1950s). Otterstrom children--left to right--Linda Maxene, Kerry Gordon, John Ernest, and James Steven. photo-James Gordon Otterstrom
  • Grier, Motz, Davis Gathering at Auntie Vi's--1982 (54 KB)
    A good time was had by all at this great family get-together in 1982. Back l. to r.; Peter Marquard, Allyson Marquard, Sally (Davis) Herrick, Mike Davis, Don Motz w/Jimmy Motz, Gladys (Motz) Grier w/Jimmy W. Otterstrom, Peggy (Grier) Otterstrom. Front l. to r.; Penny (Grier) Marquard, Violet (Motz) Wheeler, Emily Marquard, Leo Grier, Jan (Kenowlton) Motz. photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • Rena & Ernest Otterstrom---mid 1950s (50 KB)
    James S. Otterstrom's grandparents. "This 1950s portrait of my grandparents is the one I always remember. It was framed on a table at their house, at our house, and my uncle Barney's house.
  • Leo Alf Grier, father of Peggy Susan Otterstrom (30 KB)
    This photo of Leo Grier was taken December of 1942 while he was serving in the Seabees during WWII---almost 11 years before his daughter, my wife Peggy Sue, was born.
  • Jimmy W. Otterstrom-"1ST Place" Ski Trophy-1987 (58 KB)
    While participating in Snow Summit's Youth Ski Program Jimmy took 1st Place in his very first race. Here he proudly displays his trophy. photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • Peggy Susan Otterstrom---July 1985 (47 KB)
    Taken during a family camping trip to McKerriker State Park, Calif. in July of 1985. photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • Peggy's Great Grandparents Texas Home circa 1905 (58 KB)
    This is the H.C. Brockman homestead in Texas around 1905. Peggy's grandmother Cassie Ellen Brockman (born 11/13/1899) is the little girl in the foreground. The others are (left to right) Calier Brockman, Alice Brockman (Melinda Alice Joyce), Henry Cornelius Brockman, & unknown.
  • 'Grandma Peg' with Gavin-Summer 2002 (87 KB)
    Peggy S. Otterstrom with grandson Gavin Crummel in the front yard of the Big Bear house on Robinhood. photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • Jimmy & Jamie Otterstrom--Christmas Card 1991 (87 KB)
    "Somebody's ancient Big Bear 'Folk Art' sculpture of a crashed rocket---a longtime landmark on a hillside along Big Bear Blvd.---inspired this superkids theme for our Christmas '91 card." concept & photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • John William 'Will' Byrne circa 1920s (87 KB)
    This picture of James S. Otterstrom's grandfather---on his mother's side---was taken at a 1920s version of an Olde-Tyme photo studio, probably in Arkansas, at some kind of a fair. L to R: John William 'Will' Byrne (born 2/14/1881) Ernest Byrne, Lawrence Byrne, and Clifford Byrne.
  • Retirement Party-Jim & Charlie-July 2001 (56 KB)
    Lifelong friends James S. Otterstrom & Charles Clifton Melton greet each other on Charlie's arrival for Jim's retirement party July, 15, 2001. Jim retired after 30 years with the Postal Service, beginning in March of 1971, when it was still known as 'The United States Post Office Department'. photo-Norene Wiesen
  • James Walker Otterstrom-Christmas Card Photo-1982 (52 KB)
    Taken in December of '82 on the dry lake along the Barstow Rd. in Lucerne Valley Calif. "We had recently moved to Lucerne Valley and were staying with my uncle Jim Byrne, in his big 'temporarily empty' house until we could get Post Office tranfers to Big Bear. This photo idea came to me one morning while Peg was at work & by the time she got home Jimmy & I had run back & forth to Victorville, bought the tree, wrapped prop presents, taken the pictures, had them developed, multiple printed, & ready for mounting to cards. Just another crazy day off, yet the stark confident serenity I felt during those days in Lucerne Valley is evident." concept & photo--Jim Otterstrom
  • Lois Maxene Byrne, Hula Dancer, circa 1942 (62 KB)
    James Otterstrom's mother, Lois Byrne, around 17 years old, clowning around at a family home somewhere near Los Angeles in the 'Summer Of '42'.
  • Barbara Julian Willson--circa 1943 (38 KB)
    Peggy's mother Barbara Julian Willson (Grier) at about 20 years of age. This picture would have been taken very near the time of Barbara's parents deaths in November and December of 1943.
  • Jimmy, Easy, Jamie, & Peg--Holcomb Valley 1986 (64 KB)
    Left to right; James W., 'Easy', Jamie G., and Peggy Sue Otterstrom. "We were out exploring Holcomb Valley that summer of '86 in our Toyota camper with our beloved family dog, Easy." photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • Family Tragedy---Thanksgiving 2002---Eli Herrick (38 KB)
    Peggy's cousin Sally Herrick has lost her 19 year-old son Eli this Thanksgiving holiday in a car accident near their home in Fort Bragg, CA. Sadly, we don't have a recent photo of Eli, but we wanted to post this in memory of the little guy we knew. Our hearts go out to Sally, Merle, and Sarah...
  • Lois Hampson With Brothers & Sons--1982 Reunion (52 KB)
    This photo was taken at our last Chatsworth Park family reunion in the summer of 1982. It would be the final reunion to include Louise Byrne, who died of cancer within months, and Troy Byrne, who died of a heart attack the following year. But this day was a great one and here we see Lois Hampson (Byrne) enjoying the moment surrounded by two brothers and two sons. l. to r.--James Steven Otterstrom, Troy Milton Byrne, Lois, James Lee Byrne, and Kerry Gordon Otterstrom. photo-Peggy Otterstrom
  • Jamie Grier Otterstrom--9th Grade School Portrait (47 KB)
    Jamie G. Otterstrom school portrait during her first year at Big Bear High School.
  • Tombstone-Henry Cornelias Brockman-November 1928 (48 KB)
    Peggy's great-grandmother Alice Brockman (Melinda Alice Joyce)---at the funeral of her husband H. C. Brockman---leaning on the tombstone where her name is also engraved in anticipation of another inevitable day now long past. H.C. died on November 19,1928.
  • Troy Milton Byrne & Catfish-Johnson Valley-1982 (52 KB)
    One day in 1982, over a few beers at Jim Byrne's house in Lucerne Valley, the subject of catfish came up, and when I told Troy I'd never tasted it, he said "Well we'll just have to do something about that", and within the week he'd scheduled a day for us to go catfishin' at his friend Dave LaFon's ranch in Johnson Valley. The huge pond on his property was stocked with fat cats so Troy and I had another fine day together. We'd become close friends during the time Peg & I stayed at Uncle Jim's place in Lucerne. We both had young sons and spent time together with them at the Lucerne Valley Park and sledding in Big Bear. Slim, trim, and relaxed in his early 50s, I couldn't have imagined that Troy would die of a heart attack within a few months. He was absolutely one of the nicest, most down to earth people I've ever known. photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • James Walker Otterstrom--8th Grade School Portrait (42 KB)
    This is Jimmy's 8th grade school photo--his last semester at Big Bear Middle School. "Teenager Jimmy was already full of 'spit & vinegar' but still radiating 'light & joy'."
  • The Byrne Family--Circa 1936 (67 KB)
    Top photo l. to r.; J.W. (John William) Byrne, Troy Milton Byrne, Lois Maxene Byrne, James Lee Byrne (in front with bottle), and David 'Lowell' Byrne. Bottom photo l. to r.; David 'Lowell' Byrne, Troy Milton Byrne, J. W. (John William) Byrne, James Lee Byrne, and Dovie Foil Byrne (Garrison). I haven't re-touched this picture because mine is a photocopy and I think I can get a better copy from my mother to post here. For me this is a very rare photo and one of the few--if not the only one--I've seen of the Byrne family around that time. Taken around 1936 as Jim looks to be about a year old or so. They are probably in or near Culver City, California.
  • Karen & Lee Ann Byrne--Mid 1980s (49 KB)
    My Uncle Jim Byrne's daughters, Karen (on the left) and Lee Ann. Taken in Lucerne Valley in the mid 1980s. Those Byrne genes sure made for good looking girls. Lois, Mary, Louise, Karen, Lee Ann, and Lori Hampson all have that Byrne look and were very attractive young women. photo-Jim Otterstrom
  • Winnie, Ed, & Naomi Motz Pre-1900 Portrait (38 KB)
    A very young Winnie Motz is on the left of her older siblings, Edward and Naomi, in this lovely late 19th Century portrait. Winifred Carolyn Willson (Motz) is Peg's grandmother on her mother's side. She died December 26, 1943, four weeks after her husband Egerton.
  • Frank and Cassie Grier circa 1916-1920 (59 KB)
    Peg's grandparents (father's side), Frank & Cassie, are dressed in their Sunday best for this portrait early in their marriage. They were married December 31, 1916 when Frank was 24 & Cassie was just 17.
  • Leo & Lavetra Grier circa 1924 (49 KB)
    Peg's father, Leo Alf Grier, and his baby sister Lavetra at the family farm near Waco Texas in about 1924.
  • Mike Davis--December 1959 (84 KB)
    Peggy's cousin Mike Davis (Sally 'Davis' Herrick's brother)all dressed up like Wyatt Earp. We watched a lot of 'Hollywood Westerns' on TV in those days.
  • Portrait--Lois Otterstrom & son Jimmy circa 1947 (28 KB)
    This portrait of Lois Maxene Otterstrom (Byrne) with her toddler son James Steven was probably done at a studio in Santa Monica near the young family's home on Brockton Ave.
  • Winnie & Ed Willson-Ocean Park, California 1918 (31 KB)
    Peg's grandparents (mother's side) Winnie & Egerton 'Ed' Willson building sandcastles on the beach in 1918 at the close of WWI (note the Victory symbols on their bathing suits). This picture was taken just south of Santa Monica with the long gone Ocean Park Pier in the background. Winnie & Ed had been married 7 years and it would be 5 more before Peg's mother Barbara was born. Ed & Winnie died in 1943, 4 weeks apart, he at Thanksgiving, she at Christmas.
  • Jim & Peggy Otterstrom--8th grade school photos (16 KB)
    These 8th grade pictures from Northridge Jr. High are of the Otterstroms of Big Bear, James S., and Peggy Sue (Grier). We look like classmates here yet these pictures were taken 7 years apart, mine in 1958, and Peg's in 1965. We wouldn't meet until 1979.
  • Sally & Merle Herrick--Minnesota circa 1973 (81 KB)
    Peg's cousin Sal, & her husband Merle Herrick, spent many of their early years together in Minnesota. They bought acreage--and like so many of us in that back-to-the earth era--grew vegetables, and raised chickens. This photo was made during that time, around 1973.
  • Peggy Sue Grier--Photographer's Model 1972 (21 KB)
    Peggy was an aspiring model when she posed for photography students at at a studio in Van Nuys California where this photo was taken in 1972. She was 21 years old. Photo-James Morris Van Nuys, CA
  • Penelope Ann Grier--Senior Portrait--June 1966 (52 KB)
    Peggy's sister Penny graduated from Cleveland High School in Reseda, California in June of 1966. As this photo and others posted here attest, the Grier sisters were both very striking young women.
  • James 'Gordon' Otterstrom--Mid 1950s (45 KB)
    Father of James Steven Otterstrom. "He was known as Gordon to his parents and siblings, but to the rest of the world he was Jim, or in my case, dad. My father had juvenile onset diabetes and took 3 insulin shots every day to control it. Dad worked many different jobs in his life including; municipal bus driver in Santa Monica, California; operator of Pacific Electric's Red Car Trolleys; proprietor of a small egg ranch in the San Fernando Valley; bakery delivery driver for 'Golden Crust Bakery'; manager of gas stations and drug stores. Life was a series of extreme up & downs for my dad--many problems were of his own creation--yet he had innumerable passions; fishing, boating, and so many different crafts & hobbies at which he was quite proficient; bamboo 'ocean fishing pole' design & construction, leather tooling, gardening, jewelry making, lapidary work, woodworking, stamp collecting, model railroading, and speedboat racing come to mind. And yes, he was known to be tempermental, somewhat extravagant at the expense of his family, and a womanizer--which eventually cost him his marriage. But my father was also energetic, outgoing, & friendly. I admired him, as more often than not, he included me in what he was doing, and his creativity inspired me... Dad died from diabetic related problems when I was 15--in February of 1961--he was 36 years old." Jim
  • Brothers Gordon & Barney Otterstrom circa 1929 (66 KB)
    James S. Otterstrom's father James 'Gordon' Otterstrom poses here with his older brother Barney for this late 1920s portrait.
  • Leo & Gladys Grier--Early 1980s (80 KB)
    A nice portrait of Peggy's dad and step-mother taken when they still lived in Northridge, Calif.
  • Lois & Claude Hampson Dancing--Early 1980s (39 KB)
    James S. Otterstrom's mother Lois (Byrne), and step-father Claude Hampson, are pictured here--in an extremely rare moment--dancing! The occasion is the wedding of their daughter Lori to Carlton Palmer in the early 1980s.
  • Lois M. Hampson (Byrne) early 1990s (45 KB)
    A nice studio portrait of James S. Otterstrom's mother Lois. Taken in the early 1990s.
  • Lori Hampson--Senior Portrait (53 KB)
    Lori Hampson, daughter of Claude & Lois Hampson (Byrne), and half-sister of James S. Otterstrom. Lori looks every bit a Byrne girl in this lovely high school portrait. "She's the only sibling I never lived at home with but we still became quite close."
  • Otterstrom Kids-Christmas-Mid 1950s-Shirley Ave. (51 KB)
    Left to right; John Ernest, grooving on his 'book' full of Lifesaver Candies; James Steven, grumpy about getting a football for Christmas; Linda Maxene, blissing out in her new P.J.s; Kerry Gordon, hamming it up. Our uncle James Lee Byrne was in the Air Force at this time, stationed in Japan. He sent us these cool embroidered Japanese pajamas making this Christmas one to remember. We lived on Shirley Avenue in Reseda, Calif. photo-James Gordon Otterstrom
  • Otterstrom Family-circa 1948 (34 KB)
    Background left to right; Ernest Bernard, and son Barney. Foreground left to right; Janet-riding Mary, David (rear), Ronnie, & Jimmy (front)-riding James 'Gordon', and Lois. "Here I am, sharing the moment with my parents, cousins, aunts, uncle, & grandfather. I always thought I was such a sweet kid---must've been the terrible two's or something." Jim
Contact the Author


Home | Help | About Us | Site Index | Terms of Service | PRIVACY
The content shown on this page has been submitted by a customer, and is not subject to verification by Neither nor its affiliates are responsible for the accuracy of any information contained on this page. The opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and not the opinions of
© 2011