The people's voice of reason

Honoring Our Heroes

Winfred Lowe

Winfred Lowe served in WWII in the Infantry Branch of the U. S. Army at Europe for 22 months where he was on the front line carrying an M1 rifle starting out in France and then to Germany and to Salzburg, Austria. Winfred completed high school after WWII, and he worked at a retail tractor dealer, Cotton Ford Tractor Company at Andalusia for 36 years. His wife, Mary Hudson, and he had three daughters. Winfred’s patriotism is still strong as evidenced by his words, “I was proud to serve my country, and I would do it again rather than let those people come here and do to us like they did to people in Europe. “ On February 2, 2019, Winfred will celebrate his 93rd birthday.

Richard A. Forster

Richard Forster served 20 years in the United States Air Force during WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After serving in WWII, he served in the Air Force Reserve, was activated but not deployed during the Korean War and served one tour at Vietnam.

After retirement from the U. S. Air Force, he worked at a variety of jobs including operating a men’s clothing store and a child’s clothing store, serving as Director of the AL Department of Conservation and Resources and as a fund-raiser for non-profit organizations. When reflecting upon his military service, Richard stated, “I have no patience for those who are not patriotic to their country. We need greater emphasis in patriotism in our society, and the best way to teach and instill patriotism is in our schools.”

Richard was born February 6, 1928, at Buffalo, New York, and he had two brothers who served in the U.S. Army and three sisters with one serving in the Army. He and his wife, Doris Stark, had two sons and two daughters.

Richard Edward Bennett

Richard Edward Bennett served three years in the United States Army 1943-1946 during WWII. He completed basic training at Abilene Army Air Base, Texas, and he completed surgical technician training at the Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center at Aurora, California, with

further medical training at the Army’s hospital at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He was deployed to a military hospital set up on a large estate at Shewsbury, England, where he served taking care of wounded from the D Day landing. He was then sent to Germany with the 8th Infantry Battalion as WWII in Europe ended, and he was sent back to the U.S.A. just as the war with Japan ended. Richard was discharged in 1946.

Richard was born January 16,1924, at Waukegan, Illinois, where he completed education in grades 1-12. Richard was married twice and divorced. He had six children with two daughters and four sons as well as six grandchildren and one great-grand child. He became a chiropractor and maintained a practice for 41 years. Having developed a friendship with the associate pastor of his church who had moved to Montgomery, Alabama and after visiting his friend there, he moved there too. Since retirement, Richard worked with a florist delivering flowers. He is an active member of the Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church of Montgomery where he engages in exercise programs for senior adults and participates in the men’s ministry and his Sunday school class. He enjoys playing dominoes and working with jigsaw puzzles. Richard maintains that he likes to be active. He believes that God has been with him all of his life in the right place at the right time.

This Dick Bennett article and two pictures are submitted by Dr. Martha Poole Simmons. He has given permission for the articles and pictures to be printed in the AL Gazette.

Esther Varon

Esther Varon and her family escaped Jewish persecution and annihilation in Odessa, Russia, a port city on the Black Sea, and emigrated legally to the United States where they became productive American citizens. The family fled the area because Jewish men were being conscripted and sent to the front and being killed in the fight for control of the country between the armies of the White Russians and the Bolsheviks. Their escape from growing anti-Semitism was literally a matter of life and death.

Esther’s father and mother, David and Frances, rode the Tran Siberian Railroad across Asia to Vladivostok and settled at Harbin, Manchuria, where Esther and her sister, Edith were born. David who was well educated and spoke English and German fluently worked with an American import-export company. In 1933-34, the Japanese took over Manchuria, invaded China and closed trading with the United States. It became imperative for the family to leave Manchuria with the hope of legally emigrating to the United States.

Esther’s aunt who had married an American sailor lived at San Diego and helped Esther’s father to immigrate to the United States. Because Esther was 11 and one-half years old, she could travel using half-fare. Esther came with her father to San Diego. Esther’s mother and sister fled to Manila and were left there during WWII which was occupied by the Japanese. When General MacArthur liberated the Philippines, her mother and sister came to San Diego where they were reunited with Esther and her father.

At San Diego after graduating from high school, Esther attended a business school. She met her husband, Morris Varon, at the Jewish USO at the Jewish Temple. He was a United States Marine whose hometown was Montgomery, AL, where they were married. The couple opened a small restaurant and then a swanky one, Varon’s, on Woodley Road near Huntingdon College. The business thrived becoming not only a restaurant but also a deli, a gourmet wine and cheese shop, a café and a catering business. After it closed, he opened a luncheonette on McDonough Street, and Esther went to work as a revenue examiner with the City of Montgomery for nine years retiring in 1994.

Esther has five children, three daughters and two sons, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, all of whom have become well educated and successful. She has lived with her daughter, Susie, and her husband, Bruce, for twenty-three years. Before coming to live at Lake Jordan, she lived at Brandon, FL, for 12 years where she was active in the Newcomers and Homemakers Clubs. She enjoys traveling and playing bridge, and she creates exquisite jewelry.

Esther who will celebrate her 90th birthday January 5, 2019, is thankful for the love and support of her children which have made it possible for her to be where she is now. The Biblical Esther for whom Esther Fuchsman Varon was named means “star.” Both of these Esthers were part of a minor race held in low esteem but grew up to be courageous. God had a plan for the Biblical Esther and for Esther Varon. We can learn from how God works with ordinary people who submit to His way.

This article and pictures are submitted for publication in the AL Gazette by Dr. Martha Poole Simmons. Esther Varon has given permission for publication.


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