Men in The Military…John Russell Spink

My grandfather was a mysterious man, and one of few words. My cousin sent me this photo, and he almost looks like he is smiling. I am sure all of us grandchildren saw him differently because the relationships he had with each of us was different. I never heard him utter more than a few words. He always sat in the same chair watching a game show. He always seemed annoyed, but I am sure there  were other sides of him I did not know.

He was born in October in 1907 in Elizabeth town, Kentucky. At some point his family uprooted their lives in Kentucky and headed to Indiana. By 1910 his family was living in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1917 United States declared war on Germany, and John was ten years old.

In 1925 the deadliest tornado in history struck the midwest, and John lived to tell the tale of the monster storm.

In 1930 he moved to Portsmouth, (Independent City) Virginia. He was still single at the time. In January 1930 he joined the U. S. Marines. He reenlisted in September of 1930.

In 1935 he may have married a woman named Mary Wiley. This is a bit of a mystery…there is a record of someone with the same name, marrying one, Mary Wiley in Marion County, Indianapolis Indiana. So, it is neither confirmed or denied.

March the 29the 1941 he reenlisted for World War II at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.

By 1945 he is listed in the telephone directory with wife Opaline, but they were married before that time. I have not been able to find the marriage certificate. By 1945 the two of them have had four children.

Over the years he worked to support five children. He worked in at a tar company, so that could not have been easy work. He worked the late shift, and slept during the day.