My Great Grandpa Howard

By: Connor Keighran

Early life

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.

Middle Life

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.

Later Life

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.

World War II: A Soldier's Life


this is what it was like as a soldier of america to fight in world war 2.

Thanks to:

My Grandma for helping me get the info and helping me write the paragraphs,

and to my mom for helping supply the photos, and stories