EDMOND — This Sunday Edmond’s United Methodist Church will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of World War I, which is now known as Veteran’s Day. The great-grandson of a former Edmond resident and World War I veteran has been invited to speak to the men of Edmond Saturday at an 8 a.m. men’s breakfast.
More than 16 million people died in WWI, including Sergeant Fred D. Lee, the great-grandfather of Rev. Tom Carver who will be speaking to the United Methodist Men’s group as well as any other Edmond men who would like to join in the activities..
Carver is the senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Bettendorf, Iowa.
“Rev. Tom Carver will be speaking to United Methodist Men about his great-grandfather, Fred D. Lee, who died in World War I,” said Don Vaught, associate pastor, Edmond First United Methodist Church.
Lee and his wife Juanita were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1889 which is known today as Edmond’s First United Methodist Church, Vaught said. Their daughter and Carver’s grandmother, Mona Katherine, was also a member of Edmond’s First United Methodist Church.
“Sergeant Fred D. Lee, Company B, 342nd Machine Gun Battalion, American Expeditionary Forces, had a long title, but unfortunately his story is much shorter,” Vaught said.
Carver said both his great-grandfather, Fred Lee, and grandmother were young when Lee proposed to Juanita Angerman. They were married in August 1917.
“In October 1917 Fred was drafted into the Army,” Carver said. “Juanita became pregnant and their child, daughter Mona Katherine, was born in May 1918.”
Fred never got to see his daughter as he had been deployed to France before her birth.
LETTERS UNITE THEM
Lee wrote letters home and the letters were passed down to each generation.
Carver said his son, Dan Carver who lives in Carlisle, Iowa, is now in possession of the letters, and for the past several months Dan has been emailing the content of Fred Lee's letters to family members 100 years to the day after which they were written.
“It has been fascinating to read them,” Tom Carver said.
Fred wrote numerous letters to his wife and daughter in the succeeding months that described his life in combat and his devotion to the two of them.
“One of the things that has touched me is how he would close many of his letters by encouraging his wife to, “Be brave. She was. They both were,” Tom said.
“Fred was a sergeant in Company B of the 342nd Machine Gun Battalion. He was involved in two of the major offensives in France during the final months of the war,” Tom said. “He was wounded by a German Artillery shell on Nov. 1, 1918, and died Nov. 12, the day after the war ended.
“He sent a letter to his wife and daughter on Nov. 9, 1918, but before that letter was received, his wife Juanita was informed of Fred’s death on Nov. 12, 1918,” Carver said.
WIFE IS DEVOTED
“Juanita went on to live to be 100 years old,” Tom said. “She raised her daughter as a single mother and was a school teacher and school principal in Edmond.
“I believe that she was also inducted into Edmond's Hall of Fame. Juanita was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.”
Tom said his grandmother, Mona Katherine, traveled the world and always brought souvenirs back to her family. She was active in the First United Methodist Church of Edmond also.
Juanita's daughter, Mona Katherine Lee, would later marry John Burton Moore (a former mayor of Edmond). They had three children, Mona Lee, John Burton, and Fredrena.
11TH HOUR, 11TH DAY, 11TH MONTH
“Armistice Day is celebrated every year on Nov. 11 to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiégne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning — the ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ of 1918,” Tom added.
“I will be traveling to Edmond this weekend in order to place a wreath on my great-grandparents’ graves in Gracelawn Cemetery and play taps at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” he said.
Tom will be accompanied by Dr. Christine Pappas, a professor at East Central University in Ada, the daughter of Fredrena.
The men of Edmond are welcome to attend the UMM breakfast Saturday and hear Rev. Tom Carver’s compelling story in the CAC at 8 a.m., Vaught said. “We invite you to enjoy fun, fellowship and a delicious breakfast together.”