About this blog

As the author of this blog, Karen L Garner Martin Messick, I am the daughter of an American soldier, Wilbur (Bill) C. Garner, Sr. and Women's Royal English Navy service woman (British Wren) Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins, who met and married during World War II. They lived and loved for over 50 years before Mother passed in 2000. When she did I helped Dad with every day chores when I could. One day I was helping him clear things out and I lifted a plastic bag out of the seat of Mom's piano stool, asking Dad, "Whats in this bag?" to which he replied, "Just some of Mary's old letters." Mary, his older sister, was still alive at the time, residing in an assisted living facility, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I put the letters back in the piano seat thinking he did not want me to open the letters.
When Dad passed two years later, I inherited Mary's letters.
When I began to read them, I found they were mostly letters from Dad to Mary while he was in World War II ("The War"). I could not put them down. I wished I had opened them the day I first saw them so that Dad and I could have had conversations about them, but that was not to be...so as I read through these "Letters to Mary" I began to get a glimpse into Dad's young years when he met Mom and his time as a soldier. I have researched events during World War II to enhance my understanding of what was happening in the war as each letter came to broaden my understanding of what he might have been experiencing. I knew he landed on the beaches of Normandy, France D-Day plus 1 as he recounted his memory of that day to me when he was dying from Leukemia. It was horrifying. There were also letters from a companion Mary had met while in Minneapolis, he had been deployed overseas. I have entwined them chronologically with Dad's letters as it gives a greater dimension to the war itself. I intend to editorialize as necessary to explain personal relationships and situations as the story unfolds through the "Letters to Mary." I welcome any questions, comments and feedback. As the "Greatest Generation" fades away, I felt compelled to share these letters and story in hopes of continuing the legacy they left for the world. Let us never forget the untold years and lives that were sacrificed for freedom!
If you have stumbled upon this blog I have added a blog archive at the bottom of the blog page. Continue to scroll down to access the Blog Archive. The posts are chronologically listed and to follow the story it is best to start with the first post in December 2013.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Souil William Garner life after "The War"

Souil William Garner
Souil the first child in the Souil Wade and Phoebe Emma Garner family, was often referred to in Bill's (Wilbur C Garner) "Letters to Mary." Souil's service during WWII was represented by one of the four Blue Star's on his Mothers Service Flag, which hung in her window.

Souil took basic training with the U.S. Army Air Force at Miami Beach, Florida and attended Army Finance School at Fort Benjamen Harrison, Indianappolis, Indiana. In January 1944 he was assigned to the Finance Office at Buckingham Army Airfield, Fort Myers, Florida, and served there until June 1945, at which time he was assigned to the Finance Office at Fort Dix, Trenton, New Jersey, from which point he received an Honorable Discharge on September 10, 1945.

Souil returned to Baltimore where he and his wife Harriett Kimpton Garner set up residency. He spent his post war career at The Maryland Casualty Company until he retired.
Harriett, during the war, served as a volunteer worker with the American Red Cross as a Gray Lady, sewing and knitting in the Production Department. She was also a volunteer worker with Civil Defense helping care for children in convalescent homes.

Harriett Kimpton Garner and Souil William Garner Clifton Park Baltimore 1955
7000 Brompton Road 1959 Souil and Harriet's marital home.
Harriet became a homemaker and was active in her church. Harriet and Souil had no children. Because they had no children and because Souil had a rewarding position at The Maryland Casualty Company, they could travel for vacations. They drove west through Colorado and New Mexico and enjoyed spending time on the road in Florida. They made their home in the neighborhood of Woodmoor in Baltimore, Md. at 7000 Brompton Road and lived there for the rest of their lives.
Harriett Kimpton Garner, Phoebe Emma Biggs Garner and Souil Wade Garner enjoying a road trip on the
Blue Ridge Parkway Ravens Roost 1959
Harriet passed away at the age of 79 in 1985 and Souil passed away at the age of 82 in 1988. They both were laid to rest alongside each other in the Garner family burial plot in the Druid Ridge Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.
August 1966 Blue Ridge Parkway
                                                       Wilbur (Bill) C Garner, Souil's brother as Executor of Souil's will, dissolved their marital home and estate.

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