Many students served nation in World War II

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Ray Tincher Submitted

By Ray Tincher | For The Times-Post

In the Lapel High School Yearbook for 1944, Marvin Holloway authored a poem, which really spells out their moments in time. The poem ends as follows:
“Hail! Senior year of ’44, Hail! Classmates who have gone to war! We’ve all received our education; we hope to serve a better nation. Each one will stand firm at his station, To profit from his graduation.”
Between 1942 and 1945, there were 36 local students serving their country in the military service.
Sadly, four of those students paid the supreme sacrifice. Those were Carl Jarrett, Marion Jones, Andrew Critser and Emmett Whetsel.

Column continues below 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 their graduation. They were Thomas Richardson, Francis Davis, and William Bixler.
A plaque at the high school after the war lists the names of 122 men from the Lapel area who were serving or had served their country since 1919.
Forty-six seniors made up the Lapel High School Class of 1944. Seven of those classmates attended all 12 years together.
They were: John Schuyler, Neal Renner, Norman Woodward, Virginia Sylvester, Martha Spegal, Virginia Bennett and Beulah Wood.
On Dec. 8, 1943, the Class of ’44 presented to the audience its comical play “Professor, How Could You?” Neal Renner played the professor; 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 hit, and the audience expressed its gratitude.
The LHS varsity basketball team for 1944 was comprised of 10 players: leading scorer Kenny Woodward, with George Males, Red Halsey, Jim Layton, Bob Land, Bud Reddick, Ted Williams, Lefty Woodward, Jim Troutman, and “Burkie” Burke in support.
Talk about a slow game — in the first game of the season, Fortville beat Lapel 17 to 14.
However, it must have gotten Lapel’s attention, because the team won the next 12 games.
Lapel finished the season running up the highest score of the year, posting 68 points against Markleville’s 50.
Lapel won both games of the invitational, beating Pendleton and Markleville. Then in the sectional, Lapel had to be feeling good about its chances. In the first game, it beat St. Mary’s 61 to 35. Next, it faced the Anderson Indians and lost 32 to 58, ending its chances in the famous Indiana basketball tournament.
One player who should have been on the team was Charles Baker. He was a regular forward the previous year but was drafted into the U.S. Navy in the summer. He was fast and a consistent ball handler, and the prevailing thought was he would have been a high scorer.
Also, Max McClain was called up for military service on Feb. 18, 1944. He would have been a significant help to the basketball team in the post-season; Max was the tallest boy on the team. During the sectional, he was taking “boot training” at Great Lakes Naval Training Station.
The Class of ’44 submitted several “Prophecies for 1954,” which were interesting.
Calvin Edrington would be chief of police in Fishersburg. Wanda Edrington would be playing with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Lenora Jane Edwards would be featured vocalist with the Grand Symphony Orchestra. Her next appearance would be in the Fishersburg Opera House. Emma Lou Green would own Woolworth Ten-Cent Store. Phillip Halsey would be a new “heart-throb.” Mary Helen Hildreth would become a missionary at the North Pole. Robert Hoppes bought General Motors. Virginia Sylvester would become a famous dress designer. Gene Wise, after taking a Charles Atlas course, had become a human Superman. And Neal Renner had become the self-appointed mayor of Fishersburg.
Ray Tincher attended Ball State University and retired from Indiana Department of Correction in 1997. He worked at IDOC for 30 years, serving in a variety of roles, from correctional officer to warden. At retirement, he received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Gov. Frank O’Bannon. He wrote several training manuals as part of his employment and is a published author: “Inmate #13225 John Herbert Dillinger (2007).” He and his wife, Marilyn, live in Lapel.