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Thomas Clarke Irvine
Thomas Clarke Irvine
10th Generation Upham and Richardson
(5th Irvine Generation in America)
TOM - only child of Charlotte Hopkins and Adrian Irvine, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, 3 Oct., 1925, in old Maternity Hospital on Cedar Ave., ushered into this world by Dr. Floyd Mowry. Awaiting his arrival his parents had selected the name of John Clarke, but a last minute change to Thomas seemed the more euphonious - not because of any knowledge or wish to perpetuate the given name of distant progenitors. The name Clarke was chosen because of the handed down belief that somewhere buried in the past there existed a family relationship to the famous-in-history George Rogers Clark - he of the daring and rugged explorations thru the Northwest Territory known as the Lewis-Clark Expedition. During this search no such relationship has come to light - and it was the younger brother, William, who explored with Lewis.
Just under 5 years the family moved to Hubbard, Ohio, 70 miles southeast of Cleveland. Without exerting himself Tom was but a fair student, possessed of scant yen for competitive sports. Graduated from Hubbard High 1943. During the Senior year Tom had formed an attachment to a little girl - then in her Junior year - which was to blossom into the full stature of a soul mating - Nancy was to become his partner and loving wife, the mother of his only son.
For an adolescent Tom had traveled rather extensively. Several trips had been made to Muncie, Ind., Terre Haute, Mobile - to visit his grandparents, to Hammond, Ind., Atlanta, Claxton, Ga., and to Waltham, Mass., to visit his many cousins. From the latter base he reversed the ground of much historic interest in early Colonial times - and the bailiwick of his Richardson forebears, and on to Portland, Me., the scenes of his Upham ancestors. In the next few years, from forces beyond his control, these travels were to be dwarfed by an extensive military service itinerary - his posterity can consider itself fortunate in possessing the details to follow.
Since World War II had been in progress since 8 Dec., 1941 - Tom had but a scant 4 months after high school graduation before being eligible for the Draft. Display of a budding interest in photography prompted him to enroll in the Deforest Radio School of Chicago which offered a combined training course in photography and radio - to perhaps fit himself for some measure of specialized assignment. This interest was fanned into fruition as a somewhat disguised manner of introducing him to life away from home surroundings - as preparation for whatever might be in store. Ten weeks was supposed to give a ground working knowledge in radionics, and would provide him with a Federal Communications License, 2nd Class. (It was not until months later, when he was overseas, that the reason became known for his reluctance to list this radio course as one of his accomplishments when registering for the Draft. He had ducked the final examinations - no license was forthcoming! His prime interest was photography - the Prospectus and Representative confirmed the fact. Having avoided physics in high school - having no interest in electricity - it was too big a bite to learn its general laws in addition to their peculiar application to radio - especially for one seeing his prime interest being slighted.)
Inducted into Service 20 Dec., 1943, at Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio he remembered many distasteful experiences. Confusion of poorly fitting uniforms, the dirt, rain, cold, bossiness of noncoms, Christmas Day exercises of standing in the rain for 2 hours, dismissal, wet clothing, homesick, his happy remembrance that the Mulletts were living in Columbus, calling there and being urged to have a bath and dry his clothes and partake of their dinner, the screening process - whereat 3 tires were made to convince him he should try for aviation (jokingly reported that he stuck to saying" I would like to fly if I could keep one foot on the ground"), final assignment to Basic Training at Fort Benning, Ga., to become a part of H. & S. Co., 1255th Combat Engineers and shipped to Columbia, S. C. for more specific training. 10th Oct., 1944 at Camp Kilmer, N.J.; embarked on Dominion Monarch (later sunk in English Channel) for European Service on 23 Oct., 44.
Crowding and disaster drills broke the monotony of the crossing to Southern England where, near Bridgetown, they trained in building Bailey bridges.
In a final burst of energy the Germans had burst thru the American Lines to produce what history knows as The Battle of the Bulge - extra troops were urgently needed - the Engineers were hastily converted into a fighting unit from 31 Dec. to 7 Jan. formed a part of the 333rd Eng. SS Regiment at Brix, Normandy, France. But let him tell it :-
"Lived in old German Barracks, traded cigarettes for dicer and beer. A false alarm sent them hunting German Para-troopers on Sunday.
"Countances, Normandy - 7-11 Jan 45 - as 156th Inf. Reg. lived in bombed out hospital with radio section, swiped canned cheese, marmalade, and bread from kitchen for evening feast.
"St. Mare dEglise, Omaha Beach, 11-15 Jan. 1st Continental Edition of Stars and Stripes printed here D day plus 3. Lived in wooden barracks with radio section. Ankle-deep mud. Winterized vehicles. Nude picture on chateau walls. Very cold but not freezing. Pup tents in back for P.W.s.
"Across France to Rambouillet 16th Jan. Lived in French Military School, showered in Q.M.apt. Heavy snow, very cold. Changed tire in my room.
"Bech, Luxembourg - 18 Jan to 3 Feb., in 87th and 76th Inf. Div. 3rd Army. Lived in good farmhouse (Bn Hdqrs). Slept in radio workshop on table and sink. One shower. Found carbine, much snow, drove very much.
"Wilwerlitz, Lux., 4-5 Feb. 6th Cavalry Gp. Lived in farmhouse, bunked in milk shed. Radio section swiped M-Is and B.A.R. from 18th Airborne Engs. Fired mine on hill. Moved across town next day. Poland swiped 2 M-Is and German rifle. Changed tire before we moved.
"Goeblesmuhle, Lux., 507 Feb. Town deep in valley. Lived in C.P. (RR station). Pistol practice. Drove blackout to Gp Hq nightly, 7 miles, 3 hrs., bad road. Tried lights once, shrapnel came in close, dowsed lighrs. Many dead animals, knocked out Tiger Tank on road out of valley. At Brandenburg tank rolled down a 200 yd. slope and burned. Many prisoners taken there. Kraut cemetery here and at Brandenburg.
"Tandel, Lux., 7-15 Feb. Lived in farmhouse, slept in small stone floored room with Long. Pistol practice. Vito found pistol at front (1st). With burp gun drove to Bradenburg nightly, not too bad. Had enough sleep. Flat tire morning of the battle on way to vianden. Capt. Jordan went with Col. Stapler, I returned and repaired tire. Was just putting it back on when the first casualties came in (8:30). Hickersons face all black, burned by such mine blast. Smith just a lump in back end of jeep - one leg blown off, lost other when he was lifted from the jeep (died on way to hospital). Bearley, lying across back of 2nd jeep, leg hanging over side, foot missing at ankle (lost other foot at hospital). I went to front at 1 PM with Capt. Jordan. Many dead animals, no civilians, 3 dead Krauts at turn in road, one dead GI (Griffen, Co. A). Was I scared! Hit the ground several times, nothing too close. Had flat at front and fixed it there (Capt. in fox hole). WOW!
"Aachen, Germ. 15-28 Feb., in 1105th Eng. C Gp of First Army. Beautiful day. Everybody happy. Duren fell 25th Feb. Lived in large house at outskirts of town, roomed with Plovsky. Went on pass to Liege, Belgium, had wonderful bath. Drove to 1105th Gp Hq at Korneli Munster daily, blackout halfway. Krieger looted large reflex camera. Left extra M-I in room when we moved.
"Eschweiller, Germ., 28 Feb-5 March. Lived with Long in large farm house, small room on 4th floor. 2 showers while there. with Moore worked on Opel convertible, never fixed it though. Kraut plane lying in pieces in cabbage field, 2 dead Krauts. What an odor! Knocked out tank at Elsdort, 2 miles away. Many Buzz Bombs went over, one exploding in a field 1/2 mile down the road. American plane crashed in woods, pilot safe. Co. A was in Bergheim. Gp Hq was in Durendrove there daily. S/Sgt. Short made 2nd Lt.
Horrem, Germ., 20-28 Mch. Lived with Long in cellar of good house. Found dark room and enlarger. Drove 10 miles to Gp Hq daily. Bridge job at Modrath. Jordan made Major.
"Bonn, Germ., 28 Mch-1 Apr. Lived in Professors large house on the Rhine. Good room, alone. Became Bn photographer. Searched all houses in the block, found trunk full of tablecloths which I tore into quarters for towels for darkroom. Gatres found photo shop - got paper, chemicals, timer, trays, ferrotype fins, films, and plates. wonderful! Finding a wine cellar we all celebrated.
Flammersfeld, Germ., 1-3 Apr. Crossed Rhine near KoenigsWinter. C.P. in Nazi office, with Long lived next door. Took my 1st successful pictures there, of C. P.
"Dillenberg, Germ., 3-14 Apr., 18th Airborne Corps. 4th April Gotha was captured. Given camera. Lived on 3rd floor in C.P. with Long. Very nice house belonged to Nazi Dr. Blitz. First darkroom in bathroom. Liberated enlarging lens and trays there, print dryer from Seigen. (Modesty forbids - Lt. Col. John G. Staplers Farewell Report says : "Battalion converted to Infantry duty, replacing an almost decimated 4th Infantry Div. who, a few days before, had failed an attempt to take Seigen. The converted an green troops advanced and took the town despite heavy casualties and the stiff resistance of a reinforced German Company".)
"Buschutten, Germ., 14-20 Apr. C.P. in mansion of Pres of Achenbach & Sohns Factory. Large washroom was bunk and darkroom. Scrounged thru factory, found lens (f. 8 30 cm C.Z. Tessar - worth $200). Ed Stone blew safe - got 9x12 cm Linhof Standard, f. 3 1/2 C.Z. Tessar, Compur. Wilson made Capt. Had battle decorations awarded on parade.
"Rottenberg, Germ., 20-21 Apr. Lived in Nazi office, motor pool in field. Went to Marburg on sign-posting trip with Capt. Wilson, Cooper, Garton.
"Gotha, Germ., 21 Apr.-15 June. 1110th Gp in 9th Army, 3 weeks after capture. Lived in C.P. in darkroom, a large kitchen. Made hundreds of pictures of Vainden briege. Several trips with Mac and Garton to take Pix. To Erfurt police station with Capt. Wilson and Lt. (Beaver) Taylor to get 6-8 good cameras, on to Weimer & Jena same day to get medical supplies for Bn school. 3 more trips 2 day bivouac near Zella Mahlis and Neiningen, Thuringia. S/Sgt Hampton made 2nd Lt. Motor pool in factory. VE Day was 8 May, 45. (From Lt. Col. Stapler - "in 8 days completed a 310 ft. bridge on Autobahn, largest by 1st Army Engineers>")
"Ober Ranstadt, Germ., -17 June - 1 July. Lived in good house, darkroom across the street in C.O.s cellar. To Geissen for a week of wurvey with S-2. Lived with S-2. Lived with FA Outfit, darkroom in cellar of kasserne. H & S and Co. A had a gun fight with Q.M. Outfit. Three 1255th men shot, 3 negroes shot. We moved next day. B Co. and P.W. cages at Darmstadt.
"Treysa, Germ., 1-31 July. Lived in hospital, darkroom in Ladies Room. Lots of recon. Went to Aix les Bains, France (as rest area prior to re-assignment to Far East Unit). Drove to Kassel on the way, was P-38 crash, pilot was mangled.
"Kassel-Brasselsberg, Germ., 31 July-7Sept. 1255th de-activated. Lived in C.P. darkroom on 2nd floor. lots of recon. Several pix taken on trips to Hercules and around Kassel. Motor pool moved to kaserne. Many pix of hospital.
"Left for London 5th Sept. - returned 25th Oct." (Lets reconstruct the interval. Much transpired. Directives had been issued to each over-seas unit to select a representative from their photographic corp and send him to a special school in London. It was Toms good fortune to be that selectee and he commenced his trek across troubled Germany, Luxembourg, and France and the Channel - optimistically toting his 2 duffle bags of clothing and liberated treasures. Trains were irregular, crowded, and slow - partway he just "Grabbed a hold and held on". The Channel craft were as inhospitable but he arrived in London after 8 days of fatigue, hunger, thirst, and constipation - registered at the school - and was surprised to be informed that the directive to the school from Washington was to de-activate itself, disperse its personnel. But he felt ill, or was so dog-tired this discouragement sickened him. Checked his bags and reported to the hospital - was running a fever and was hospitalized at once.
The next 3-4 weeks were passed in recovery from what was officially diagnosed as mononucleosis - a relatively harmless the prolonged portrayal of fever, malaise, and many small kernals distributed about the neck and armpits. It is to be wondered if this was the real trouble for he reports that his treatment consisted of temperature taking once or twice daily, plus what seemed to him as an abnormal interest on the part of the hospital personnel, during rounds, which centered around what could be heard over his heart area. In turn each would listen, then in subdued tones converse tensely, nod heads, and depart for the next bed. The sole specific instruction he recalled receiving was from a nurse. After a week he felt well enough to move about so this guardian angel several times warned him with "If you dont stay in that bed Im going to break your leg.".
Once attending doctor quizzed him thoroughly on previous illnesses and confessed he had a serious murmur in his heart. This finding, with the low grade fever, lent suspicion to the probability that his real difficulty was a smoldering low-grade endocardities. Considering the length of his service the probabilities were that he would be invalided Stateside. But - his fever subsiding he was transferred to another hospital for classification - was unceremoniously ordered to return to his Unit.
An interesting note is that during his 12th year Tom was a victim of the 4th Ex-anthem or Dukes Disease (sometimes diagnosed as mild scarlet fever - the rash is sukilar the only of 24-36 jrs. instead of 4 days - an accompanying tong involvement is absent), complicated by tonsillitis. A slight murmur at the mitral area was found 3 months later, was followed some 6 months, made no progress and was unaccompanied by other symptoms - and was forgotten. At Draft screening examination time Dr. Paul Williams called the murmur to my attention - it seemed innocuously feeble - it was listed among findings and he was passed along to the final examination center in Cleveland. Passed there, again at Ft. Hays, at Ft. Benning, at Ft. Gaines, at Camp Kilmer. Such examinations are for the purpose of excluding from a Service Unit anyone who might handicap that Unit because of some physical defect that might render that individual prone to replacement after having been trained as a cog in the Unit.
Back to London with Tom. A chance acquaintance of the day of his arrival at the school searched him out - went for the checked duffle bags - (was a 24 hr. depot and the bags had been forwarded to Liverpool) - (and months after his discharge arrived in Hubbard containing a couple pair of socks, shorts, undershirt, work belt without buckle, and 4-5 Iron Crosses - his prized pictures of his itinerary about, Germany, his liberated lenses, cameras, Luger - all had been appropriated along the way) - and informed him the school had closed its doors. All of which was a scant interest to incarcerated Tom, but after a month he was discharged, loafed about London, made a stowaway hop to Paris and somehow got back to Kassel to traded cigarettes. Hid among his buddies until his educational leave expired.)
"Kassel, Germ., 26 Oct-10 Nov. Lived with cadre of 1255th at firehouse. 138th Engres. were in Brasselberg. No work, drove for pleasure. Saw Louis Owen.
"Kassel-Brasselberg, Germ., 11 Nov-1 March 1946. H & S Co. 343rd Engr GS Regt. moved to Kassel from Mainz-Kassel. Was non-com., Co. Clerk, M/R clerk, mail clerk. Conut call at hospital every morning. 115th Med. B.C. club.
"Hof Geismar, Germ., 1-6 March. Lived in kaserne with McClymonds, Kreiger, and Jarvi. Red Cross was only place to go.
"Bremerhofen, Germ., 9-11 Mch. Embarkation depot.
"Eufala Victory - nice vouage but a slow but. 12-23 Mch.
"Camp Kilmer, N.J. 24-26 Mc.
"Camp Atterbury, Ind. 26-28 Mch. Examining physician advised hospitalization for disability evaluation of heart condition. Anxious to be home - "I talked him out of it". Discharged 1430, 28 March, 1946."
After 27 months and 8 days of service - in training and functioning in a combat engineering unit, as radio communications man and during advances assigned to reconnaissance to scour the in between areas of mechanized advances and as dispatch bearer, Tom looked back on much straining excitement and boredom. A month of dawdling at home was followed by employment as teller for Hubbard Banking Co. - after declining to accompany his parents on a proposed trailer trip to the Far West. Tom felt he had traveled enough - and a paying job would hasten fulfillment of his burning ambition to be married.
NANCY AGNES BARNETT, daughter of Marion Elizabeth Thomas and Harry Franklin Barnett, was born 9 July 1926, in Petroleum, Ohio. The family soon moved to Hubbard to be nearer her fathers work in the office of Petroleum Iron Works. Nancy attended Hubbard schools, graduated in 1944 with scholastic honors, was "Queen of the Senior Prom", and then accepted employ at McDowell Bank in Sharon, Pa. in Transit Dept.
The marriage ceremonies were at Trinity Methodist Church, Youngstown, Ohio, 26th Oct., 1946, Rev. Norman Parr officiating. After 10 days of a honeymoon trip to Williamsburg, Va. and touring Great Smokey Mountains of Virginia the couple settled to an apartment east of Sharon, Pa., each continuing at their bank jobs.
By June 47 Toms dissatisfaction with his bank job fanned a desire to utilize his service connected educational privileges - he enrolled in a Dallas Photographic School, bought a trailer, sold and stored household things and departed by way of Mobile, AL to renew acquaintances and introduce his Nancy to her new relatives.
During the 18 months of half-day photographic study the trailer was home. Nancy right away worked for the National City Bank and after a spell of free dawdling afternoons away Tom found part time work in a neighborhood bank. These occupations hindered getting acquainted with their new surroundings and acquaintances. After the schooling was done a move away from trailer parks was made - taking an interest in a rental home at 2423 Anson Road. Quitting his bank job because of dissatisfaction with ever changing personnel time out was taken to redecorate the apartment. No work turning up in photography - Tom wouldnt take a clerks job for he thought his experience and training warranted actual picture work - and rather ashamed to be living off Little Nan he searched and found employ with a Highland Park Bank - substituting for a vacationing book keeper. Nancy meantime had received several advances for efficient work and by now also was in book keeping. Hours were shortened and the youngsters began to enjoy a bit of recreation.
In March 1950 Nancys father suffered a severe and terminal cerebral hemorrhage - on returning from Hubbard a search was on for larger quarters that would permit her mother to make her home in Dallas. By June 50 such a home was found on 2327 Langdon Ave., walled with Red River stone, and a slate roof. Returning from a vacation trip back to Hubbard Mrs. Barnett came along with them, the home was purchased despite its nearness to the fast developing Love Field Airport. In Nov. 1954 while Nancy was in St. Pauls Hospital for the birth of a child Tom and his mother-in-law made the move to still larger quarters in a home at 3203 St. Johns Dry., Highland Park - and Nancy came home to new surrounding with her 4 lb. 11 oz baby, Raymond Franklin.
For several years Toms bank activities were varied. The book keeping fill in job was followed by becoming teller, then head teller among 14, then Asst Mgr. in mortgage and loan dept. Between 1950 and 55 3 bouts with pneumonia caused new damage (or caused the old to flare) to heart valves. These absences interfered with progressive advancement into the positions of responsibility to which his seniority and experience justly entitled him. The 3rd attack in the fall of 55 proved so slow in resolving and so provoking of the old endocarditic that Dr. Krakusian referred him to Veterans Hospital. Three months here in the spring of 56 - marked with an unusual amount of buck-passing and misdirection - being released as fit to return to work while still running a temperature and showing too an irregularly racing heart rate. A collapse was temporarily controlled with antibiotics (which had tragically been withheld while hospitalized) and in another month he returned to the bank to be assigned to a sorting and organizing job of papers and supplies that inadequate space and careless handling had allowed to accumulate - work needed to be done in anticipation of the banks move to larger quarters.
During 1956 various evidences of circulatory failure appeared and repeated short hospitalizations were necessary. In Feb. 1957 he was in fair condition and it was thought best to perform a commissurotomy (open the heart - probe by finger and separate the adherent leaflets of the mitral valve - which had reduced the valve orifice to 1/8th inch from its normal size of 1 3/4 inches.) Results were moderately successful - in that obstruction t o ejection was relieved, but the con-comitant leakage or regurgitation was markedly worsened because of scar tissue lessening the flexibility and closure efficiency of the leaflets. Like a worn pump Toms heart had to work harder and harder to deliver less and less circulatory volume to the tissues. On his return to the bank in the summer of 57 his assignment in the new bank was to New Accounts Dept.
Throughout all these forced absences his employers - in hopes he would eventually be able to assume his just responsibilities in the organization - had most considerately and graciously kept him on the payroll on full salary. One who hasnt experienced such consideration can but guess the magnitude of morals building influence this attitude worked on Toms waning energies.
Until November 1960 Tom was able to perform mild exertions - dunking in the Community Pool, puttering in work-shanty and yard, 2 easy-state sight-seeing motor trips to visit his parents in California. Then appeared what seemed like a drippy cold - he laid up a few days with benefit - but on a due functional check-up the discovery was made that his trouble was a flare-up in the old endocarditic - it was still smoldering away, slowly adding more damage to an already seemingly maximum damaged heart. There followed 13 months of bed rest and heavy medication - wit 3 hospitalizations for more intense dehydration therapy - before it was deemed safe to perform to intricate investigations incidental to considering the advisability of open heart surgery for adaptation and instillation of artificial plastic valves. This work was done 4 Dec., 1961 in Parkland Hospital, under the direction of Dr. Carlton Chapman, Chief of the Dallas Heart Foundation, revealing such a magnitude of mitral area damage - with the here-to-fore only suspected complication of maximum leakage at the aortic valve - that in Dr. Chapmans opinion modern heart surgery was totally inadequate to so much as attempt repair. A second group of prominent chest surgeons reviewed the findings and offered the suggestion that the the risks of survival were extremely poor there remained but a short time before Dame Nature would run her full course.
Toms decision to assume this risk was neatly summed up in fashion typical of him - saying simply and clearly "Im not afraid to die, Im afraid to live this way." He entered Baylor Hospital 3 Jan., 1962 to be readied for surgery 17th Jan. It was all to be of no avail - the ravages of long smoldering infection, resulting in scaring, adhesions, calcification of leaflets, hypertrophy and dilatation had so exhausted heart muscle vitality and potential to accommodate to its labors that full dropsy developed - and our boy slipped from his apprehensions and anxieties, and from us, into the Great Beyond at 5:10 A.M., 14th Jan., 1962.
Post-mortem revealed over-powering evidence conditions were far beyond present day possibilities of relief.
Services were conducted by Rev. Don Benton at Sparkman Mortuary, 2:30 P.M., Tuesday 16th Jan. Interred in Hillcrest Memorial Park, Garden of the Cross, Lot 360.
Our boy - so appreciative of the thoughts and feelings of others, with such a keen sense of humor, courageous beyond words to the very end - is but a joyous memory - - -
"Throughout all Eternity,
Or til the Human Race is Run,
He rests here facing East -
From whence Mans Hopes are Born Again
With Every Rising Sun."
Oct. 1963. Nancy continues to occupy the St. Johns Dry. home, (3203), with son Raymond and her mother. Being near to her Toms resting place seems good medicine. She plans to return to bank employ when Ray is older. Not to Preston State Bank - memories there are too too poignant. she is a brave but lonesome little mother.
Raymond Franklin Irvine, born Dallas, Texas, 11 Nov., 1954.