Thanks so much. There is a good chance that is him, since he is known to have died prior to May 9, 1981. That census record appears, at first glance, to be consistent with the 1930 census record indicating he was probably born in New York c. 1901.
Knowing his siblings is a good lead. It's funny, as many times as I searched for William V. O'Connor on Newspapers.com, I never came up with anything useful postwar because his name was so common. Can you tell me what search parameters you used? Was adding Msgr. the key?
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I just searched for "William V. O'Connor" 1945-1981 in New York (since your link stated he had died prior to May 1981) and sorted the hits chronologically backward (most recent first).
I think it's very likely that this is him. Next of kin is Hugh O'Connor, just like in the census record. It seems fairly certain this is the Msgr. William V. O'Connor who died in 1981 in the obituary you found. Given his common name, the one missing link is proof that he is also the 32nd Station Hospital chaplain! If only he didn't come from New York!
I think this must indeed be the man I'm looking for. The smoking gun is in the right hand margin: "5/25/42 Ft. Riley, Kansas." I had previously noted in my article that there was a record of a Chaplain William V. O'Connor at Fort Riley, Kansas. July 1, 1942 article in the Elmira Star-Gazette and a September 10, 1942 newspaper article in The Morning Chronicle mentioned him.
This conclusively rules out the Fort Riley chaplain being the Connecticut Chaplain O'Connor, so unless there is a third Chaplain William V. O'Connor, I'd say this is the guy! (In deference to this remote possibility, I have rated the match likelihood as "almost certain.")
I have given the article an overhaul with new information from the unit's records as well as the biographical information provided by your lead (including a shout out to you!): https://32ndstationhospital.com/2019/03/06/laboratory-chaplain-dietetic-and-physical-therapy-officers-of-the-32nd-statio… Thanks again!
Here is some information on Capt O'Connor on the National Guard Officer rosters. Looks Like he had quit the Service Career. Retiring in 1975. The Dec date is his second enlistment into the National Guard. Looking at the registry you can see is active duty service.
Name: William V O'Connor Birth Date: 28 Feb 1915 Birth Place: Connecticut Military Date: 3 Dec 1948 Publication Date: 1953 Title: National Guard Register, Army
This is direct from VA BIRLS Death File:
Name: William Oconnor Gender: Male Birth Date: 28 Feb 1915 Death Date: 7 Apr 1984 SSN: 044161570 Branch 1: ARMY Enlistment Date 1: 3 Dec 1948 Release Date 1: 28 Feb 1975
Hope this helps,
Elliot: I'm afraid it doesn't help very much. The information you found is actually for a different Chaplain William V. O'Connor (from Connecticut, not New York). Note that the service numbers don't match. I mentioned him in my article, the link to which is posted above:
Complicating my research effort is the fact that there was another Chaplain William V. O’Connor (originally from Connecticut) who served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II; it appears this William V. Connor stayed in the military and was a colonel by 1972. One of the Chaplain O’Connors was a chaplain at Fort Riley, Kansas as of July 1, 1942 and attended a chaplains school at Harvard University in September 1942, but it is uncertain which one. An archivist from the Jesuit Archives & Research Center indicated that according to the 1946 Catholic Directory, both ended up in the Archdiocese of New York after the war! She also stated that the 1950 Catholic Directory listed one as still being a U.S. Army chaplain and assigned to the Hartford Diocese (presumably the O’Connor from Connecticut), while the other (presumably the 32nd Station Hospital’s) was still at the Archdiocese of New York (Yonkers, specifically).
That's great...got to be her. And best of all, it would seem that she married right after getting back, so it may prove possible to follow her story a little further now. I thought my research skills were pretty good (I even identified a soldier referred to in a series of letters only as Jack, albeit with a plethora of additional clues including his date of birth and type of unit), but the speed with which you solved a pair of mysteries that had stumped me for hours was a humbling experience...certainly a reminder that I shouldn't be so slow to ask for help!
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I was able to locate some information for you.
I searched Newspapers.com for:
Place: New York
Search terms:“302 Garfield” Brady
This brought up an obituary for Mary A. Brady. It mentions that she was the wife of John J. Brady and mother of Anna Cronan and Mary L. Howard. She lived at 302 Garfield Place. (There may be more information but I don’t have an active subscription so could only see the sample.)
Here is the info for the mother on Find A Grave.
Using this info, I could then locate the family in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census. I checked the 1940 census at the end of the Enumeration District to see if the enumerator came back and added 302 Garfield Place—no luck, though they did add 304.
1930 Census – Mary L. is listed as Louise and is 18 years old
1920 Census—Mary L. is 8 years old and born in New York
1910 Census—the family before Mary L. was born
I tried to find Bradys in the 1938-1941 Brooklyn Telephone Directories on Internet Archive, but had no luck. For some reason the books seem to be consistently missing the page with the last name Brady on it. Interesting phenomenon. (The Bradys may have not had a telephone anyway.) Ancestry.com doesn’t have City Directories for Brooklyn past 1933. I thought it might show Mary L. as a nurse.
This Newspapers.com article is probably Mary L. as well –she is an R.N. in a list for Mary Immaculate Hospital
So, Mary was born around 1912 and, at least for a time, she had the last name of Howard. Hope this helps.
My grandmother was similar to Mary L. Brady in that she was a registered nurse, also born in 1912, joined the Army Nurse Corps, and returned to the U.S. in 1945.
I greatly admire your research into the 32nd Station Hospital and website. You have done an amazing job! My grandfather and grandmother both served with the 33rd Station Hospital during WWII and I know how you have to dig to find information on Station Hospitals. (I would love it if there was a comparable place to share my photos of the 33rd Sta Hosp.)
That's great, thanks. Ironically, in a previous search I had come up with a Mary Louise Brady born in Brooklyn around 1912, probably the same woman you found. But I wasn't able to find enough information to confirm it was her, in a place like New York City, I figured there were probably a hundred Mary L. Bradys. I also tried looking in the 1940 census and saw 302 was skipped, so I wondered if they accidentally missed it or whether the address wasn't valid at the time.
Certainly a humbling experience and a reminder that I need to ask for help when I'm stumped sooner!
You mentioned photos of the 33rd Station Hospital. You might find a receptive audience on a couple of Facebook groups, WW2 Medical Research Centre (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ww2usmrc, the companion forum to the very useful website, which unfortunately hasn't had any content added in a number of years) and Army Nurse Corps in WWII https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArmyNurseCorpsinWWII
At the risk of pushing my luck, would you care to tackle another challenge that has me stumped, 32nd Station Hospital dietician Mary L. Gill? I was able to trace her from growing up in Illinois to college in Florida, then Vicksburg MS just after the war, then nothing. An Ancestry family tree indicated gave a date of birth (unknown what the source was) and stated she got married in 1948 to an unidentified man. Of course, these trees can be full of inaccurate information. And none of the trees had a date of death.
The person who made the family tree never responded to my message. None of the Ancestry Gill was selected as president of the Mississippi Dietetic Association in 1947. About 18 months ago, I reached out to the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the present day name), who promised to check their records for information about her...and then ghosted me. Taking a page from your approach, I looked for her mother's obituary in the hopes of learning the married name, but the only one I found for someone with the mother's name listed only a son survivor.
Here's what I found about her:
If you look at the picture of 1st LT Mary L. Gill from your website. You can notice from the pic of her smoking that she has either a wedding ring which would indicate that she possibly was married overseas or was married before shipping out.
That's a really good observation. I've noticed that women in the Army Nurse Corps often served under their maiden names even if they were married, oddly enough.
It seems I spoke too soon about not finding anything about her with the obituary for her mother. I noticed that someone else had clipped the story and reached out to him. He pointed me to this woman. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11867006/mary-l.-wood
The information seems to check out.
I am more than happy to help!
I will cut right to the main result. Using the information you provided, I found:
Mary Lois Gill
Born 27 June 1907 in Fountain Green, Hancock, Illinois to parents John and Ellen Stacy Gill
Probably married John Noah Wood, possibly on 17 Sept 1948
Died August 15, 1985
Last Residence Fort Smith, Sebastian, Arkansas
Buried Ft. Richardson National Cemetery, Arkansas with rank of Captain
I took a circuitous route to piece this conclusion together-- it took a bunch of little things to corroborate one fact that would then corroborate the next. I utilized census records, death records, newspapers, etc. for Mary as well as her parents and brothers. Locations and information intertwined correctly. I didn’t include them all here, just some of the more pertinent items to Mary. I know you already have some of these. (Let me know if you desire what I didn’t include.)
A sort of timeline:
1907 Birth record – Mary Lois Gill
Born 27 June 1907 in Fountain Green, Hancock, Illinois
Parents John and Ellen Stacy Gill
(The Ancestry.com tree looks to be made by a descendent of her brother Charles D. It has the correct birth date for Mary.)
Note: if you access this directly from the FamilySearch search page, it will give you the correct information and link to image 1019 of 1807. The correct image actually found on image 1014 (the link below is correct).
1910 Census – Whole Family – Fountain Green, Hancock, Illinois
Parents, Mary, brothers John Stacy and Charles D.
1920 Census -- ?? (couldn’t locate the family)
1930 Census – Parents and son John Stacy – Deland, Volusia, FL
This location helped me link newspapers articles to the correct Mary to this location and family
1930 Census – Mary ?? (couldn’t locate)
Should be at Florida State College but couldn’t locate her there or elsewhere. Found a Mary C Gil, correct age and at FSC, but her birth place as well as that of her parents are off. This is not her (I found this woman with her parents in 1935 FL Census).
1931 – Received B.S. in Home Economics from Florida State College, then worked at FSC
see 1941 newspaper article
? -- Student dietitian at the University hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan
see 1941 newspaper article
1934-Mar-6 Tallahassee Democrat (Tallahassee, Florida)
Nursery school nutritionist
1931 graduate with BS in home economics
1935 Florida Census – Mary – Duval County Hospital, Duval, FL
2 listings—one where she worked, one where she lived
(I use the Ancestry Library edition so cannot link you directly to the images, only the search results.)
1936-Jul-21 The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida)
Florida State College graduate
Currently a dietician at Duval County Hospital, Jacksonville
Named to position at FSC as assistant dietician of college dining hall
1937-Jul-25 Tallahassee Democrat (Tallahassee, Florida)
Assistant dietician at Florida State College
Elected President of Sigma Kappa sorority alumna local chapter
1940 Census – Mary ??
She should be near FSU. Cannot locate her. (Why does she keep hiding on these censuses? Haha!)
1941-Jan-15 Tallahassee Democrat (Tallahassee, Florida) **My favorite article
Accepted position of chief dietician at Touro infirmary, New Orleans.
Took over duties Jan 6 and has 3 assistants on her staff
Received Bachelor of Science in Home Economics form FSC in 1931
Served on staff the summer of her graduation
Student dietitian at the University hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Nutritionist at nursery school in Tallahassee for eight months in 1934
Therapeutic dietitian at Duval County Hospital for two years
Been on college dietitian staff here for four and half years
Member of American Dietetic Association, Florida Dietetic Association, Sigma Kappa sorority, and State College alumnae association
1942-Apr-26 The Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tennessee)
At her New Orleans home, Mary hosted a wedding reception for a coworker at Touro infirmary
After above date to 1945ish Military (according to your website)
1946-May-14 Bronze Star article you have. Vicksburg, Mississippi
1946-Nov-02 Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi)
Chosen as 1946-1947 president for Mississippi Dietetic Association
1947-Nov-19 The Greenwood Commonwealth (Greenwood, Mississippi)
Another MS Dietetic Assoc. president chosen to fulfill Mary’s unexpired term. Mary, formerly of Vicksburg Hospital, resigned the post.
1948-Sept-17 John Noah Wood and Mary Lois Gill marriage??
Could find no direct documentation for this. A FamilySearch family tree mentions husband John N. Wood and a marriage date of 17 Sept 1948. Has a birthdate for Mary of March 1908, but links to the correct birth record included above. (Tree possibly done by a child of Mary.)
1948-Oct-7 Death Certificate for mother —Sylva, Jackson, NC
States normal residence DeLand, FL. Other locations and information match.
1953 or 1954 Missouri
See SSDI below
(Her brother Charles is mentioned in the Jefferson City Missouri Post-Tribune on 27 Sep 1956. I don’t know if this has any connection to where Mary was.)
1983-Oct-10 Possible death of husband
There is a John Noah Wood buried at Fort Smith, Arkansas National Cemetery. I don’t know if this is the correct man.
? to 1985 -- Fort Smith, Sebastian, Arkansas, USA
See SSDI below
Mary Wood in the U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
Social Security Number:
27 Jun 1907
72904, Fort Smith, Sebastian, Arkansas, USA
1985 Buried (Fittingly, I found this record last of all)
Nationwide Gravesite Locator
WOOD, MARY L
CPT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF BIRTH: 06/27/1907
DATE OF DEATH: 08/14/1985
BURIED AT: SECTION I SITE 2
- FT. RICHARDSON NATIONAL CEMETERY
- P. O. BOX 5-498 BUILDING 58-512, DAVIS HIGHWAY FORT RICHARDSON, AK 99505
You saw the obituary for Mary’s mother Ellen. I don’t know why it didn’t mention Mary. If the marriage date for Mary and John Wood is correct, Ellen would have died only a few weeks later.
The death notice I located for her father didn’t mention family members. I didn’t locate one for Mary, her brothers, or her husband, so no tie-in there.
This may be more info than you need. Even so, there is a large gap there that I didn’t find anything to fill. At least it gives you a rough timeline, if you need it.
If you want to close the gap, a few ideas:
--Vicksburg, Mississippi city directories
--Fort Smith, Arkansas city directories
--Since very active with Florida State College alumni and her sorority, maybe she kept up with one or the other. I don’t know if they would share info.
--Wait for the 1950 Census in 2 years
--Wait for more newspapers to be put online or contact a Fort Smith area library/newspaper to see if you can find an obituary.
I found a piece of information and a possible contact for you but for privacy reasons I do not want to post it here. Is it okay if I send it through your 32nd Station Hospital contact page?
This is great. After my first post about Mary L. Gill, I did find a lead by contacting someone who clipped her mother's obituary, which revealed her husband and Find-a-Grave entry. Unfortunately, that post (response to Elliot's above) was only approved my moderators about ten minutes before your response was published! All the same, I'm glad you took a crack at it, because you found more newspaper articles like the New Orleans one, that I completely missed. She certainly moved around to a bunch of different states.
Feel free to contact me via the 32nd Station Hospital contact form. Thanks.
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Dear Mr. Silverman,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
In regards to your original question, you can request an Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) with just service numbers and names. OMPFs and individual medical reports for officers of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after June 1917 and prior to 1958 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. For each person you are researching, please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you can omit it or provide estimates (such as writing World War II for dates of service). We suggest that you also attach any information you have about units they served in. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.
In regards to the chaplain, there is also the record series Monthly Reports and Personnel Records, 1920 - 1950 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (Record Group 247) that contains personnel files of chaplains. For more information about these records, please email the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL. Also, the NPRC is currently only servicing emergency requests associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans, VA Home loan guarantees, and employment opportunities. If this is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. We apologize for any inconvenience.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
Thanks for the leads. I will definitely reach out about the chaplain records. It is also good to know that I can request records even without a date of birth. Wish I had known before the pandemic! This kind of research certainly takes patience.