My Great Grandpa Howard
By: Connor Keighran
My great grandpa Howard was born in Redlands, California on July 26, 1924 to Walter F. and Lona Chace and had a brother Walter 2 years older than
himself. They were middle class people who worked hard and felt the difficult effects of the Depression in the early 1930s. Howard
was not a great student because he didn't like to sit still very much although he was very intelligent. His brother Walter was the
better student of the two. Howard wanted to drive cars and fly airplanes. A terrible tragedy happened when Howard was about 13
years old. His brother Walter went up to the San Bernardino mountains with his friend Ted who had a gun for some shooting, but
the gun went off by accident and Walter was shot in the lower back and bled to death before any help could come. It was very
hard on the family. Howard became an only child overnight.
Howard married his high school sweetheart, Betty Jo Cummings and joined the Marine Corps and fought in the Pacific against the
Japanese in World War II. He attained the rank of corporal and was awarded the purple heart for wounds he received. He fought on
the Pacific Islands of Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa and then the Second Division went on to occupy the second atomic bombed city of
Nagasaki. He returned home at the end of the war in 1945 and their daughter, Connie who was then about three years old at that time.
Howard then turned to making a living for his family and became a tile contractor. He flew several small airplanes for business and
pleasure but unfortunately crashed twice; he did survive, except the second crash did leave some slight scars on his face when his head
went through the windshield after hitting some power lines in Indio.
The latter part of his life was marked by a love of the sea and more interest in boats. He went through Coast Guard training and always
owned a boat which he enjoyed working on as a hobby. He and his wife, Betty Jo lived in Newport Beach for the last 40 years of their
lives. He was extremely creative, generous and loved both people and animals.
he passed away of lymphoma when he was 69 years old in Hoag Hospital when my grandmother was holding his hand, just the two of them, and she realized what a unique
person he was and how fortunate she was to have had him as a dad. After the autopsy the doctor told her on the telephone that there
were very high levels of radiation in my father's blood and she asked if it could have been because the atomic bomb had just been dropped when
his division went in to Nagasaki and the physician said yes, that could have caused the lymphoma. He did not fight death...he felt
he had lived a full and happy life by age 69. My grandmother think the war gave him that perspective, having seen so many fallen friends and comrades
around him and remembering that his brother only had 15 years on earth.
My great grandpa served and survived world war 2 and has this award card to show for it.
My Great Grandpa with my Grandma
My great grandpa first meeting my grandma for the first time
His military badge.
This was my great grandpa's badge for serving in the military.
Sitting in a field
This picture is pretty self explanatory and is just my great grandpa sitting in a field.
My great Grandpa and his friend
This is my great grandpa and his friend chilling outside.
This is my grandma mailing a letter to my great grandpa.
and to my mom for helping supply the photos, and stories