Gold Star Mother

Have you encountered a ‘Gold Star Mother’ in your genealogy research. Even though I’ve researched women who lost sons in battle I’ve come across my first mention of a ‘Gold Star Mother’ in an obituary.

Blanche Eva Lighter
The Rev. Lee Webb, pastor of the Grace Baptist Church, will officiate at funeral services to be conducted in the chapel of the Brusie Funeral Home Saturday at 2 p.m. for Mrs. Blanche Eva Lighter, who died at her home on Tuesday morning.
Memorial services, under the auspices of the Chico Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers, will be conducted in the chapel of the Brusie Funeral Home Friday at 7 p.m.
Interment will take place in Pine Creek Cemetery by the side of her late husband, Ray Lighter.

“Blance Eva Lighter,” The Chico Enterprise-Record (Chico, California), 8 November 1962, page 3; digital image, ( : viewed online 27 May 2021).

For Eva Lighter to be a Gold Star Mother, one of her children had to have died while serving in the military. 1930 census records for the family indicated that Eva and her husband, Ray, had three sons: Howard, Bruce and Aaron.

1930 U.S. Census, Orange County, California, population schedule, Newport Beach Township, Orange County, California, ED 30-51, Sheet 12A Image 23 of 61, family 334, Ray Lighter; digital images, ( : viewed online 27 May 2021); NARA microfilm publication T626.

Since I have death dates after 1980 for Howard Lighter and Bruce Lighter, that left Aaron Lighter as the possible person who died while serving our country. A quick search of Find a Grave, shows two records for Aaron Ralston Lighter.

The entry for Pine Creek cemetery includes a picture of a tombstone for Aaron Lighter.

While the entry for the manila American Cemetery and Memorial has links to his parents and a brother.

Knowing that Aaron Lighter was killed in action in1945, a search of newspapers for more details about his death turned up several articles. An article in the Chico Record indicates that Aaron Lighter died when the ship he was on was struck by a suicide Japanese bomber.

Aaron Ralston Lighter Killed in Mindoro Explosion Navy Says
Aaron Ralston Lighter, of Chico, seaman first class of the U.S. Naval Reserve, lost his life in January of this year during a suicide attack on his ship, the U.S.S. Lewis L. Dycke, by a Japanese plane, a navy department message to his mother revealed yesterday.
The Lewis L. Dycke was anchored in Mindoro Harbor of the Philippines, on January 4, when the attack occurred, the communication revealed.
The ship, cargoed with bombs and fuses, exploded in a manner “so violent that it caused the ship to disintegrate completely,” H. B. Atkinson, commander, USNR, wrote to Mrs. Ray Lighter of Route 2, Box 235A, here.
The ship sane immediately, and left no trace of survivors, according to the communication.

“Aaron Ralston Lighter Killed in Mindoro Explosion Navy Says,” Chico Record (Chico, California), 8 December 1945, page 8; digital image, ( : viewed online 27 May 2021).

The story of the U.S.S. Lewis L. Dyche can be found on Wikipedia.

Thus, the death of Aaron Ralston Lighter aboard the U.S.S. Lewis L. Dyche in Mindora Bay made his mother, Eva Northern Lighter a Gold Star Mother.

Thank God We Don’t Need Your Kid!

By a Marine in the South Pacific

You say he can’t stand the Army
The life is too tough for him,
Do you think he is any better
Than some other mother’s Tom or Jim?
You have raised him like a girl
He don’t smoke or drink, is your brag,
If all the boys were like him
What would become of Our FLAG?

Then you say let the roughnecks do the fighting
They are used to the beans and stew,
I’m glad I am classed with the roughnecks
Who fight for the red, white and blue
You say his girl can’t stand it
To see him go with the rest,
Don’t you think she would be glad
When she felt a Jap’s breath on her breast?

Think of the women of Belgium
Of the hardships they have to bear,
Do you think you want that to happen
To your sweet daughter so fair,
You can thank GOD for the Stars in OLD GLORY
Are not blurred with that kind of stain
Because there are millions of roughnecks
with real red blood in their veins.

They go and drill in bad weather
And come in with a grin on their face,
While your darling sits in the parlor
And lets another man take his place,
Maybe we do smoke and gamble
But we fight as our forefathers did,
So warm the milk for his bottle —

Found on Guadacanal, Solomon Is.
November 8, 1942

Published in the 29 April 1943 issue of the Corning Gazette, Corning, Kansas. Digital copy available on

Home on Leave

For years, the Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas) has had a column pulling historical tidbits from 20 and 30 years ago. On 28 May 1964, the ‘20 Years Ago‘ column reported on sailors home from leave from the war.

1944-Emporia-Gazette-Sailors-HomeThe Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas)
28 May 1964, Thu
Page 4

Twenty Years Ago

Eleven men, seamen 2-c in the U.S. Navy, were in Emporia on 12-day leaves from Training Center at Great Lakes, Ill. The men were Floyd Felt, Walter Dunn, Ormond Parker, William Yearout, Russell Seacat, Paul Hankenson, Wallace Daniels, Cleo Smalling, William Nickel, William Eubank and Lee Brown. has the digitized version of this issue of The Emporia Gazette.

PFC Lovell Mentzer

While searching the Yates Center News for an article stating that Cleo B. Peake was awarded the purple heart, I discovered another cousin killed during World War II: PFC Lovell Mentzer.

Notice of the death of Private First Class Lovell J. Mentzer first appeared in the May 3, 1945 issue of the Yates Center News on Page 1.

1945-May3-YatesCenterNews-Death-LovellMentzer350PFC Lovell Mentzer

Killed in Germany
Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Mentzer received the information Tuesday from the War Department that their son, Private First Class Lovell J. Mentzer had died in Germany.
Nineteen-year-old Lovell had seen ten and one-half months service in the European theatre. Graduating from Yates Center high school with the class of ’44 he was inducted in the army and trained for an infantryman. In the latter part of last November he was sent over seas and was with the Seventh Army
Private Mentzer has five brothers in the service, Technician Fourth Grade Keith in south Pacific, Corporal Talmadge (Tye) in England, T/5 Burdette with the AAF at Coffeyville, T/5 Edward at the home on furlough, Lt. Austin (j.G.), Corpus Christi, Tex

On June 14, 1945, the Yates Center News had a notice of the memorial service on page 1.

1945-Jun14-MemorialService-Mentzer-Lovell350Memorial Services for Lovell Mentzer
Memorial services for PFC Lovell J. Mentzer will be held Sunday afternoon June 17 at 2:30 o’clock at the Methodist church. Rev. O. W. Dewey, pastor of the church, and the American Legion will conduct the services.
PFC Mentzer lost his life while in combat duty in Germany in April. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Mentzer.
Ask War Dads to Attend
Officials of the local War Dad chapter request that as many of the War Dad members who can, to attend the memorial services for Pfc. Mentzer.

A June issue of the 1945 Yates Center News included the obituary. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and did not get the obituary transcribed and the quality of my picture is too poor to transcribe the obituary from the image. Check back later and I will get the obituary transcribed.