Stacks of discount-price children's shoes lined the walls of a large closet at the Beardsley home in Carmel, Calif., in the 1960s and '70s - size after size in three types: oxfords for school, patent-leather dress-ups for church, and tennis shoes for play.
Frank Beardsley, a retired Navy chief warrant officer, had bought them in large quantity at a naval base store so that he would always be ready to refit his children's growing feet.
He had 20 children.
Rather, he and the former Helen North had 20 after merging two families in a second marriage for both widowed parents. Their union inspired a book and two movies - both titled Yours, Mine and Ours.
Mr. Beardsley died Dec. 11, his son Michael said.
Mr. Beardsley was a 45-year-old father of 10 when he married North, a mother of eight, on Sept. 9, 1961. Reporters and a large crowd flocked to the church in Carmel for the wedding and later to the courthouse in Salinas, Calif., at which each parent adopted the other's children. Within three years, the couple had two more children.