Many students served the nation during WWII
By Ray Tincher | For the Times-Post
In the Lapel High School Yearbook for 1944, Marvin Holloway wrote a poem, which really spells out their moments in time. The poem ends as follows:
“Salute! Grade 44, Hi! Classmates who went to war! We have all been educated; we hope to serve a better nation. Everyone will hold their own, To enjoy their graduation.
Between 1942 and 1945, there were 36 local students serving their country in military service.
Sadly, four of these students made the ultimate sacrifice. They were Carl Jarrett, Marion Jones, Andrew Critser and Emmett Whetsel.
The column continues under the photos.
Lapel American Legion Post 212 members named their post in honor of Emmett Whetsel. Whetsel was killed in action on March 10, 1943 on the North African front.
There were three students who were called to service before graduation. They were Thomas Richardson, Francis Davis and William Bixler.
A plaque in the high school after the war lists the names of 122 men from the Lapel region who had served or had served their country since 1919.
Forty-six seniors made up the Lapel High School class of 1944. Seven of these classmates attended the 12 years together.
They were: John Schuyler, Neal Renner, Norman Woodward, Virginia Sylvester, Martha Spegal, Virginia Bennett and Beulah Wood.
On December 8, 1943, the class of 44 presented to the audience their comedic play “Professor, How Could You?” Neal Renner played the teacher; Wilma Reddick played Vicky. The other cast members were Leora Edwards, Marvin Holloway, Robert Hosier, Martha Spegal, Betty Sisson, Norman Woodward, Emma Lou Green, Eugene Wise, Fred Renner, Darrah Partain, Virginia Sylvester and Marvis Smith.
The play was a success and the audience expressed their gratitude.
The LHS varsity basketball team for 1944 consisted of 10 players: top scorer Kenny Woodward, along with George Males, Red Halsey, Jim Layton, Bob Land, Bud Reddick, Ted Williams, Lefty Woodward, Jim Troutman and “Burkie “Burke in support.
Talk about slow play – in Game 1 of the season, Fortville beat Lapel 17-14.
However, this must have caught Lapel’s attention, as the team won the next 12 games.
Lapel finished the season with the best score of the year, posting 68 points against 50 for Markleville.
Lapel won both invitational matches, beating Pendleton and Markleville. Then, in the sectional, Lapel should feel good about his chances. In Game 1, he beat St. Mary’s 61-35. Then he faced the Anderson Indians and lost 32-58, ending his chances in the famous Indiana basketball tournament.
One player who should have been part of the squad was Charles Baker. He was a regular forward the year before, but was drafted into the US Navy over the summer. He was quick and a consistent ball handler, and the dominant thought was that he would have been a top scorer.
In addition, Max McClain was called up to military service on February 18, 1944. He was said to have been of great assistance to the basketball team in the playoffs; Max was the tallest boy on the team. During the section, he was undergoing “start-up training” at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.
The class of 44 submitted several “Prophecies for 1954” which were of interest.
Calvin Edrington is said to be the Fishersburg Police Chief. Wanda Edrington would perform with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Lenora Jane Edwards is reportedly the star singer of the Grand Symphony Orchestra. His next appearance would be at the Fishersburg Opera House. Emma Lou Green is said to be the owner of the Woolworth Ten-Cent store. Phillip Halsey would be a new “crush”. Mary Helen Hildreth will become a missionary to the North Pole. Robert Hoppes bought General Motors. Virginia Sylvester will become a famous seamstress. Gene Wise, after taking a Charles Atlas course, had become a human Superman. And Neal Renner had become the self-proclaimed mayor of Fishersburg.
Ray Tincher attended Ball State University and retired from the Indiana Corrections Department in 1997. He worked at IDOC for 30 years, in a variety of roles, from correctional officer to director. In retirement, he received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Governor Frank O’Bannon. He has written several training manuals in the course of his employment and is a published author: “Inmate # 13225 John Herbert Dillinger (2007)”. He and his wife, Marilyn, live in Lapel.