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Donald Miles Swartz 1924-1942


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 12/30/2010 at 22:23:15

Donald Swartz is First War Casualty
Enlisted in Navy Sept. 11th
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Swartz Lost Overboard According to Telegram Received by Parents

Estherville and Emmet County felt the seriousness of the war more bitterly this week end when word was received Saturday evening by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Swartz that their son Donald Swartz, 17, had been lost overboard on January 11th. No details of the tragedy were available except that an extensive search had been made for the body but it had not been recovered. The telegram was received from the Navy department at Washington, D.C. and stated that a letter would follow.

Donald had been on convoy duty to Iceland on the North Atlantic Harbor returning to Boston Harbor on Christmas Eve. He left Boston Harbor with the ship again on New Years Day and it is tho’t that it was while he was on this trip that the tragedy took place. Hi parents had received no word from him since he embarked on New Years Day.

Plans are being made to hold a Memorial service for Swartz Sunday afternoon at the Presbyterian church. The Rev. Claude Fausnaugh will be assisted by the Rev. Fred D. Sawyer in conducting the service.

Enlisting in the United States Navy on September 11, the date of his 17th birthday, Donald came home on November 11th for a few days furlough. The date of the tragedy that cost him his life took place on January 11th so that the figure eleven played a prominent part in his short career with the United States Navy.

Donald was a member of this year’s senior class of the local high school and would have completed his high school work here this spring. He was a popular student with his instructors and with his fellow students, taking part in all school activities.

Besides his parents, Swartz is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Otto Schaper and Mrs. Lee Book, besides numerous other relatives and a host of friends. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, January 27, 1942)

Memorial Services on Sunday
For Donald Swartz, First Emmet County War Casualty – Will be Held at Presbyterian Church
A county wide memorial service for Donald Swartz, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ira M. Swartz of Estherville, will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 at the local Presbyterian church.

Donald was the first Emmet county war fatality, a telegram stating that he had been lost overboard on January 11, reaching his parents on Saturday evening.

Members of the Estherville Ministerial association will participate in the service Sunday. The following is the program as it was arranged by the committee in charge at a meeting Wednesday evening.

Presenting the colors by the Color Guard of the Maurice Doyle Post No. 91, American Legion.
Anthem “The Lord’s Prayer,” by the Presbyterian senior choir.
Scripture reading.
Selection “In the Garden” by the chorus choir of the Presbyterian church.
Reading of the obituary and prayer.
Selection “Near to the Heart of God,” by McAffee, by the Presbyterian chorus choir.
Memorial sermon by the Rev. Claude Fausnaugh, pastor of the Presbyterian church.
“America” by the combined choirs.
Retiring of the colors, Color Guard of the American Legion.

The American Legion, Legion Auxiliary, Service Star Legion and all patriotic organizations throughout the county will attend the services in groups.

The Presbyterian Sunday school of which Donald was a member will honor his memory Sunday morning with a twenty minute program at 10:00 a.m.

Donald Miles Swartz was born at Estherville, Sept. 11, 1924, and had lived in this community his entire life. He attended the Estherville schools with the exception of one year that his parents lived near Terril and he was enrolled in the Terril school. He took his examinations for the United States Navy on July 12, 1941 and enlisted on Sept. 11th, when he was 17 years old. He was sent to the Great Lakes training station to receive his basis training. Upon completing this training he returned to Estherville in November for a visit with his parents and other relatives. On his return he was sent to Boston and was making his second trip on convoy duty to Iceland on the North Atlantic Harbor when he met with the tragedy that cost him his life.

Donald was a member of the Presbyterian church and Sunday School, the Degree of Honor and when younger was active in Boy Scout work.

Besides his parents he is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Otto Schaper and Mrs. Lee Book, both of Estherville. One sister, Mrs. Myrtle Anderson passed away several years ago. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, January 29, 1942)

Letter Tells of Tragedy
Mr. and Mrs. Ira Swartz Are Given Details of Son’s Death
Mr. and Mrs. Ira Swartz have received a letter from commanding officer Lieut. Commander C. L. Weigle of the USS Sturtevant, giving details of the death of their son, Donald, who was swept overboard.

The letter said that his death occurred at 1:10 P.M. Jan. 11. That the ship was engaged in scheduled operations and that the weather conditions were very bad. The wind was blowing from 40 to 50 miles per hour and that waves from 30 to 40 feet high were sweeping the ocean.

Donald, was at the time of his death temporary mess cook. He was walking on deck when the ship rolled to the side and a huge wave washed the deck. The wave swept Donald off the ship, and before the ship could maneuver to rescue him, he had disappeared beneath the waves and was not seen again. The letter said the ocean was so bad that life boats could not be lowered and that it took the ship 15 minutes to return to the spot where he disappeared. Another ship and the USS Sturtevant searched the sea in the vicinity where he was last seen for over an hour but he could not be found.

It was believed that Donald was struck on the head by the propeller guard or numbed by the freezing temperature of the water, and that he was not conscious after the first few minutes.

The officer said that Donald was well liked by all the crew, and that he was a good seaman. He said that the entire crew and officers of the Sturtevant extended their deepest sympathy in the bereavement of the parents. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, February 19, 1942)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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