Monday, May 27, 2013

Thank you, Howard Albert Conner.

Memorial Day is to honor those who have died in war.  I’m lucky that many of my ancestors seem to have either missed serving or survived.  But in the past couple of years I have learned about my grandfather’s cousin, Howard Albert Conner, who died in World War II in a plane crash in Panama. 

Howard was born on August 23, 1918 in Huron County, South Dakota, just six months younger than my grandfather.  While he was in high school in Huron, South Dakota, he worked at the theater and in the shoe store. 

There is a write-up about Howard in the South Dakota World War II Memorial site.  The site is, “…dedicated to the tens of thousands of South Dakota men and women who contributed to the victory in World War II. Today, we know them as our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.”

It is my goal in this post to make sure that even though Howard has no descendents of his own to remember him, he has many of us, both in and out of the Conner family,  who remember and thank him.  He was and always will be important.

Front (left to right): Harriet Conner, Fern Conner (Grampa’s sisters)
Middle (left to right): Pierre Conner (GRAMPA!), Howard Conner
Back (left to right): Lucille Conner, Irene Conner (Howard’s sisters)

Left to right: Pierre Conner, Howard Conner

Left to right: William Conner (grandfather to Pierre Conner), Howard Conner, Lucille Conner, Hattie Price (grandmother to Pierre Conner)

In Memory of
2nd Lieutenant
Howard Albert Conner
Huron, South Dakota
Beadle County
August 23, 1918 – March 26, 1944
Killed in Plane Crash near Cape Pacora, Republic of Panama
Howard Albert Conner was born August 23, 1918 in Huron, South Dakota.  Howard was the third child of Albert and Mary Jane Conner.  Howard had two sisters, Mrs. Marvin R. Murphy and Mrs. Loran R. Blackford.  Howard grew up in Huron, South Dakota, attending Huron High School, graduating  in 1937.  While he was in school, he worked at the Huron theatre and as a clerk at Tunnell’s Shoe Store for one year.

He entered the Army in February 1941 taking his training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota and transferred to Fort Lewis, Washington and in August 1942 to Camp Gerber, Oklahoma.  He served with a tank destroyer battalion until January 1943 when he transferred to the Army Air Force.  On November 3, 1943, he graduated at Aloe Army Air Field, Victoria, Texas receiving a commission as a second lieutenant.  From there he went to Panama where he completed a transitional course at Sixth Air Force Fighter Command School.  He was assigned to a fighter squadron in the Caribbean area.

2nd Lieutenant Howard Conner perished in the Republic of Panama on March 26, 1944.  His plane crashed near Cape Pacora, Republic of Panama, which is in the Panama Canal Zone.  He is buried at the Riverside Cemetery, Huron, South Dakota.  His name is also inscribed on a granite obelisk in front of the Huron Public Library. This memorial remembers “those who served and those who died.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Brandi Levtzow, 9th Grade, Redfield High School, Redfield, South Dakota, May 17, 2002. Among the sources of information for this entry were an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment and newspaper clippings.

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