Woodbury County

Donald Iliff Guthridge



Donald Iliff Guthridge was born 18 August 1915, at home on the farm at Moville, Iowa, to Kate (Schmillen) and Laurence Guthridge. Donald graduated in 1933 from Moville High School and attended Iowa State College at Ames for two years in Forestry. He decided he wanted to farm and raise cattle, so came home to the family farm. He had one sister, Verla.

In 1941, he met Bernice Ann Becker at a dance. They married in June of 1942, at LeMars, Iowa.

Donald enlisted 1 August 1942 in the U.S. Navy and went to Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois for training. Bernice joined him in Chicago in October living with Jay and Jan Payne of Moville. He was sent to North Africa, 1 May 1943. His wife returned to the farm with his family.

When Donald first went for training, he got the mumps and couldn’t leave for two weeks.

Donald’s job was to keep the plane engines working. Flew to Italy numerous times to monitor invasion of Normandy. He saw entertainers, Bob Hope and Lena Horn while in the Navy.

He returned in October 1944 to Providence, Rhode Island, and was assured he would be stationed there, so made arrangements for his wife and baby to come. We took a train to New York and then to Providence. We traveled on a troop train and had to go off on a side spur when an officers train would come. We were there only three days and orders came. His group would be going to Okinawa so the baby and I went back to Iowa and for two months didn’t know where he was. Then got a call from San Diego, (Camp Pendleton), he and four others could be there and the rest had to go to Okinawa.

I went to see him, but couldn’t take our baby, nobody would rent to anyone with a family. Christmas was coming and I was torn between staying and going home to our baby, but the lady landlord relented and said to get her for the Holidays. I worked at Penny’s selling shoes to get money to go back and bring our daughter out for a few weeks. She won the heart of our landlord and we could all stay - even gave us a car to drive. We had another daughter born at Navy Hospital in San Diego.

Donald was entitled to wear the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, and the American Campaign Medal WWII.

Our landlady, Ella, offered Donald a manager’s position for her many apartments, but Donald chose to go back to Moville and farm.

We came home after the war and farmed with his folks. Had two more daughters and one son. They are Laurence, Sheryle, Doneen, Vicki, and Teresa. Now we have 14 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

Donald loved to dance and was a member of the American Legion, National Farmers, Meadows Country Club, and the Immaculate Conception Church.

Donald passed away 7 October 1982 during heart surgery. He is buried in Arlington cemetery at Moville.

Submitted by his wife, Bernice Guthridge.