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George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 5

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding my dad, George Edwin Farrar, one of the original waist gunners of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.


Continued from George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

This part will cover George Edwin Farrar’s post-WWII life.

Post-World War II

Following George Edwin Farrar’s honorable discharge and release from military service in San Antonio, Texas on 29 October 1945, he began a new career in a new part of the country as a civilian.

Ed’s father, Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr., was in ill health and bedridden by time Ed returned to States in July 1945. Ed’s sister, Beverly, who was eight years old at the time, remembered a special visit to the Farrar home from the parents of the pilot, John Oliver “Jay” Buslee, of Ed’s B-17 crew.

The Buslee’s may have visited after Ed was discharged in October or at an earlier date while he was home on furlough soon after his return to the States. Regardless of the time frame, the Buslee’s traveled from Chicago to meet with Ed (whom they knew as George), the only survivor on their son’s B-17 in the mid-air collision over Magdeburg, Germany on 28 September 1944.

Ed had written to the Buslee’s from France and they in turn, wrote to Ed’s mother, Raleigh Mae Farrar, on 4 June 1944 about wanting to visit when he returned home.

The Buslee’s wrote again on 15 July 1945, mentioning a visit in the “near future.” The July 15th letter was the last letter from the Buslee’s that was in the war letters Ed’s mother saved, making it likely that the visit was in the summer of 1945 shortly after Ed’s return, but the visit could have been later, in the Fall, after his military discharge.

Jay Buslee’s parents were eager to learn everything they could about the mid-air collision that killed their son. John and Olga Buslee traveled to Atlanta to hear the news in person. Ed’s sister Beverly remembered Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, Ed, and her mother Raleigh Mae talking in the living room during their visit. Ed’s father Carroll was too ill to join the group.

John Buslee offered Ed a job as a salesman for his business. John Buslee was the “Buslee” in Neumann, Buslee & Wolfe, Inc., self-described as “Merchants, Importers, and Manufacturers” of essential oils, based in the Bauer Building on West Huron Street in Chicago, Illinois.

Ed did not want to leave home so soon, but he accepted the offer and the opportunity to restart his life. Ed moved to Chicago and into the Buslee home as Jay’s parents would not hear of him living anywhere else. John Buslee taught Ed sales skills and gave him the chance to make a good living in post-war America.

George Edwin Farrar became a traveling salesman of essential oils for Neumann, Buslee & Wolfe, traveling his territory by train and bus. The extent of the area his sales territory covered is unknown, but letters reveal he worked in Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He wrote a letter home on 29 March 1946 from Oklahoma City in which he mentioned revisiting Ardmore, where he was a gunnery instructor in the war.

Ed missed his family and home in Atlanta, but the Buslee’s provided him with a good home, a good job, and a good life in Chicago.

In July 1946, the Henson’s traveled to Chicago to visit with Ed Farrar and the Buslee’s. Bill and Minnie Henson were the parents of William Alvin Henson II, the Sammons crew navigator who was on board the Buslee crew B-17 on 28 September 1944. Jeanne was their daughter. They, along with Ed and the Buslee’s, visited Barney’s Market Club on 10 July.

At Barney’s Market Club on July 10, 1946
Left side of table: John Buslee, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Gertrude (unknown relationship)
Right side of table: Bill Henson, Minnie Henson, Jeanne Henson, Ed Farrar, Olga Buslee. (Photo courtesy of John Dale Kielhofer).

and earlier, on 6 July, visited The College Inn.

The College Inn in Chicago, Illinois on July 6, 1946
Left to right: Ed Farrar, Minnie Henson, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Jeanne Henson. (Photo courtesy of John Dale Kielhofer).

Ed Farrar worked for Mr. Buslee and lived in Mr. and Mrs. Buslee’s home from late-1945 to mid-1949. In mid-1948, Ed’s brother Carroll Jr., and his brother’s wife Millie, formerly of Enid, Oklahoma, introduced Ed to Millie’s friend, Bernice Jane Chase of Enid. Bernice, known as Bernie, was a native of the farming community of Meno, Oklahoma, about twenty miles from Enid.

Bernice Chase was the middle daughter of Louis Albert Chase and Mary Selina Allen Chase, born on 2 June 1920. She had two sisters, an older one named Bethel, and a younger one named Beatrice. Mary called her three girls her “three little B’s.” Bernie’s father Louis and grandfather Cornelius Judson Allen both homesteaded on land in Meno acquired during the Oklahoma Land Rush. Their land in Meno was used to raise wheat crops, and later, oil wells and oil pumps marked the landscape.

Bernice Chase and her sisters lost their mother in 1928 to pneumonia and their father was left to raise them alone in a farm house with no electricity on the wheat farm. Bernice was eight years when her mother died. Her father never remarried. Electricity finally came to the Chase farm when Bernice was in high school. After high school and some college, Bernice moved into Enid to live and work.

I will write more about Bernice Chase Farrar, my mother, in future posts.

Bernie and Ed met in June 1948. Their courtship was mainly through letters as Ed was a traveling salesman who could visit only on occasions when he was working in the area.

Their letters and courtship photos would have to do between visits,

Bernice Jane Chase
“To Ed with all my love, Bernie”

and

George Edwin Farrar

George Edwin Farrar married Bernice Jane Chase a year after they met, on 30 June 1949 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a small ceremony with just Ed and Bernie standing in front of the Justice of the Peace. No family. No photos. Even though I don’t have a wedding photo, I do have a photo from early in their marriage.

Bernie and Ed Farrar

After his marriage to Bernice Chase in June 1949, Ed left Chicago and they both moved to his parents’ Atlanta home until Ed took a job with Oakite Products, Inc. on 26 September 1949. That day, Ed was in New York City for his final interview and was hired and began his training with the company that same day.

Ed Farrar’s First Oakite Company Photo (1949)

With his training complete, on November 14, 1949, he was assigned to the Columbia-Spartanburg, South Carolina territory as an Oakite Products salesman. Little did he know that a witness to his 28 September 1944 mid-air collision over Magdeburg, the late Wallace Storey, lived in Spartanburg after the war.

Ed and Bernie moved to Greenville, South Carolina and rented an apartment in a beautiful large stone home at 20 Arden Street. Bernie took a job doing office work with an insurance company as Ed began his Oakite career.

The recently-released 1950 Federal Census records George E and Bernice J Farrar residing in the Arden Street home in that year. George/Ed was 28 years old and Bernice was 29.

The 1950 census record incorrectly identifies my parents’ states of birth as South Carolina. His correct place of birth was Georgia and hers was Oklahoma. Just a reminder that not all information recorded in the census is correct information.

Also recorded,

  • Ed worked 45 hours the previous week as a salesman for a cleaning products plant
  • Bernice worked 40 hours the previous week as an accountant and office clerk for a life insurance company.

Notes recorded on their page of the census indicate that the census taker had stopped by previously, but found no one at home. The note did provide some interesting information about the house, however.

House unit 416, upstairs apartment, in large house, did not find any one home on first call and thought house had only 3 apartments. Return call, found 1 more.

Ed and Bernie photographed their Greenville home,

Home in Greenville, South Carolina where Ed and Bernice Farrar lived after they got married

and I photographed it sixty years later when I visited Greenville.

Home in Greenville, SC where Ed and Bernie rented an apartment in 1949, photographed in 2010

The Greenville home reminds me very much of the Keeper’s Lodge at Grafton Underwood. The lodge sits just outside a gate separating it from George Edwin Farrar’s 544th Bomb Squadron living area on the 384th Bomb Group base.

Bert Denney at the Keeper’s Lodge in Grafton Park Woods, home of the Denney family for nearly 50 years (Photo courtesy of Richard Denney)

On 13 November 1950, Ed Farrar was notified by Oakite Products that he was reassigned to Atlanta, Georgia as of 1 December. Ed and Bernie Farrar moved to Atlanta to continue their lives in Ed’s hometown where they both remained until their deaths.

George Edwin Farrar wearing his Air Force ring

George Edwin Farrar never forgot his lost crewmates of the 28 September 1944 mission to Magdeburg. He wore a memorial to them in the form of an Air Force ring for the rest of his life.

Dad’s United States Air Force Ring

Ed Farrar became a top salesman for Oakite Products and late in his Oakite career, won the top corporate honor for Oakite Products, the D.C. Ball Award for Distinguished Oakite Service.

In the sales year of 1979, he was in the #4 sales spot nationally in the company. In March 1982, he set a new one month sales record for Oakite, the “highest sales volume ever recorded in one month by an Oakiter.”

Ed and Bernie’s first home was on Conway Road in Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia. In 1957, they moved to Arrowhead Trail in Atlanta, also in DeKalb County.

Ed and Bernie wanted to start a family upon their return to Atlanta, but it took longer than expected. I was born in the late 1950’s and my sister in the early 1960’s. We were born ten to fifteen years behind the children of most WWII veterans, in the later years of the baby boom.

George Edwin Farrar at home on Arrowhead Trail

Ed Farrar continued to work for Oakite Products until his death at the age of 61 on 5 November 1982 from cardiac arrest. Bernie continued to live in the Arrowhead Trail home until her death at the age of 83 on 12 March 2004. They are buried side by side at Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Tucker, DeKalb County, Georgia.

I will write more about both my dad’s and mother’s lives in future posts, but for now I conclude this update.

Notes

Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia

Previous posts, George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Previous post, letter, The Buslees Want to Visit

Previous post, letter, Faithful Correspondent

Previous post, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee Visit

Previous post, Revisiting Ardmore

Previous post, Ed Meets Bernie

Previous post, Ed and Bernie Marry

Previous post, Ed and Bernie Start Their New Life Together

Previous post, Wallace A. Storey

Previous post, September 28, 1944 – Wallace Storey

Short story and previous post, The Replacements

George Edwin Farrar’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Find a Grave, George Edwin Farrar

Find a Grave, Bernice Jane Farrar

Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2023


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