The Albuquerque Journal recently published the obituary of former Santo Tomás internee Joan Casad Ellison. Joan was born in Manila on 22 November 1929. She and her mother, Haidee Louise Casad, were interned in STIC for the duration of the War and were repatriated on the S.S. John Lykes, leaving Manila on 28 March 1945 and arriving San Pedro, California, on 2 May 1945. She married William Woods Ellison in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in September 1950.
Joan’s step-father, Thomas Harold Casad, was a civilian employee of the U.S. Adjutant General’s Corps before the War. He died in the sinking of the “hell ship” Arisan Maru on 24 October 1944.
The Oregonian, of Portland, Oregon, recently published an obituary for Rose Marie Helen Wolff Reilly, a former Santo Tomás internee. Rose Marie was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England in 1936. Her father was James Philips Wolff, a Nestlé Milk Products employee who was born in Hendon, England, in 1909. Her mother was Marie Frances Dumas Wolff, who was born in Los Baños in 1912. Rose Marie’s siblings were Victoria Margaret Wolff (born 1938) and John Frederick Wolff (born 1941), both born in Rizal. The entire family was interned in Santo Tomás for the duration of the War.
After liberation, the family was repatriated on the S.S. John Lykes leaving Manila on 28 March 1945 and arriving San Pedro, California, on 2 May 1945. After the War, the family traveled to many countries, following father James’ work.
Rose Marie married Lt. William H. Reilly in Toronto, Canada, in 1957. Together they had eight children.
Courtesy of The Daily Advocate (Greenville, Ohio): “Bob Clingen (of the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville) went to be with the Lord on Tuesday morning, May 17, 2022. He was a good husband to his wife, Sheryl of 56 years and father to daughters, Liz & Catherine.
He was born on October 20, 1941 to Rev. Herbert & Ida Ruth Clementine (Fraser) Clingen in the Philippines where his parents were missionaries. He was captured with his family and became a Prisoner of War by the Japanese for 25 months in the Los Baños Internment Camp during WWII. They were rescued by General Douglas MacArthur and his troops when Bob (3-years-old) saw the paratroopers coming from the sky, he told his Dad he thought those were Angels!”
Bob’s sister, Elizabeth Ruth Clingen, was born about a week after liberation. All four Clingens were repatriated on the S.S. Mormacsea, leaving Manila on April 10, 1945, arriving in San Francisco on May 6, 1945.
I am very sorry to report that Roy Fisher “Mike” Doolan died in Berkeley, California, on 1 August 2021. Roy was born in Manila in 1936 and was interned with his parents at Santo Tomas Internment Camp from 1942 to 1945. His daughter, Lark Doolan, wrote his obituary for Berkeleyside.org. It was also published online in the East Bay Express via Legacy.com.
Roy was very active in ex-POW organizations. After retiring, he wrote about his War experiences in the book My Life in a Japanese Prison Camp During World War II, which is still available on Amazon. The book contains some articles written by his father, Roy Gibson Doolan.
Photo courtesy of Lark Doolan.
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The Santa Barbara Independent recently announced the passing of Elizabeth “Betty” Watt. Elizabeth “Betty” Juhan was born in Baguio in 1941, just before the War. Betty and her family were interned in Baguio, and later at Old Bilibid Prison. After liberation, Betty’s family, including her new brother, Herman, who was born on 29 March 1945, was repatriated on the S.S. Cape Mears, arriving in San Francisco, California, on 12 May 1945. The Juhan family is mentioned in Rob Colquhoun’s account of the voyage.
After graduating from Venice High School, in California, Betty married her high school sweetheart, Conrad C. Watt Jr., in 1962.
Betty died in Santa Barbara, California, on 20 June 2021.
I am very sorry to report that Dr. Mary Jane Vance recently passed away. The following obituary appeared on the Herald Banner website:
Dr. Mary Jane Hodges Vance, May 22, 1934 – January 4, 2021
The long-time Greenville educator, consultant, author and speaker joined the choir of angels peacefully at home on January 4th, 2021. Born in Manila, Philippines on May 22, 1934, to American and Spanish parents, Jesse A. and Mary Gamero Hodges, Mary Jane lived an extraordinary life and left an indelible impact on many.
She survived Japan’s Occupation during WWII and sailed enemy waters on the USS Uruguay as the first atom bombs dropped. As a repatriated American citizen, she and the surviving members of her family arrived in San Francisco on August 13, 1945 only to experience the worst riot ever in that city on V-J Day. Her long family journey to the U.S. finally ended in Hunt County, the birthplace of her father.
She and her siblings had been without the ability to attend school for 3 years during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during WWII. Eager to enroll in school here in her new country, she quickly caught up on her missed schooling and even skipped a few grades to complete her high school diploma from Quinlan High School (Quinlan, TX). She excelled academically and graduated with honors for her undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce). During her college years she became a member of many organizations including the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa and then sorority Tooanoowee, which later became Gamma Phi Beta.
Courtesy of the Express-News, 26 July 2020: Elizabeth Lautzenhiser Irvine died peacefully on July 16, 2020 in Nacogdoches, Texas, at the age of 93.
Elizabeth, known as Liz, was born July 5, 1927 to Roscoe and Mamie (Norton) Lautzenhiser in Baguio, Philippine Islands, where her parents were teachers. They lived most of the time in Manila, until the outbreak of WWII in 1941 at which time they were imprisoned by Japanese forces in Santo Tomas Internment Camp for the next three years. After the war ended, she and her parents moved to the United States. Liz attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In August of 1949, she married Walter Irvine (who, after spotting her playing in a women’s softball league and telling his friends “that’s the woman I am going to marry,” proceeded to start visiting the Whitman Library where she worked and, according to her, he checked out way more books than he ever read!) Together they raised four children while Walter’s career took the family to Seattle, Portland, Houston and San Antonio, and finally to Nacogdoches after his retirement.
Liz participated in numerous activities: troop leader, camp counselor and adult sponsor on many national/international trips with the Girl Scouts; docent at the Houston zoo; teaching swimming and life-saving classes for both the Red Cross and the San Antonio Police Department; PTA member and board member; several outreach programs with the Presbyterian church; San Antonio Citizens Police Academy; square dance club; canoeing club; camping outdoors; and travelling all over the world. Continue reading →
“George Mark Fisher Sr., age 100, longtime resident, of Walkersville, MD, passed away July 11, 2020, at Montevue Assisted Living in Frederick MD. Born in Bedford, PA, on June 21, 1920, he was the son of John M. Fisher and Edith G. Fisher. He was a graduate of Bedford High School, Bedford PA. George joined the United States Army May 1, 1941 and served 21 years as a career enlisted soldier. He was a combat veteran of World War II serving in the Pacific Theater with Co. “B” 44th Tank Battalion and later in the aftermath of the Korean War.
George received numerous awards, decorations and citations for his exemplary service including the Purple Heart. He was honored to have participated in the Philippine operation known as “The Flying Column” that resulted in the rescue of 3800 allied civilians held prisoner in the Japanese internment camp for three years at Santo Tomas, Manila. His tank “Georgia Peach” and its crew were among the first arrivals to rescue these civilians. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he worked 15 years in civil service at East Coast Relay Fort Detrick and Flair Armory 558 Signal Co. US Army Reserve Unit Frederick MD.”