My daughter, Donna Kay Vanover, was born in 1948 in Cane Branch, Ky.
I had reenlisted at 19 years old in Dec. 1947 after two years of prior service, one active and one in the Reserves. I was going to become a father at any time, and did not have a job. We were living with my parents and I had to learn a trade. I thought the Air Force would give me that chance.
I came home on a threeday pass to see my daughter for the first time a couple of months after she was born. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life as my new daughter. I was making very little money in the military and could not afford to have my family with me at that time.
The Air Force had an opening in the printing career field, and I put in for it and was assigned ‘on the job training’ at Lackland Air Base in Texas. At last my family and I were together for awhile. In my new career I was moved around a lot to new bases, and was on TDY (temporary duty) a lot.
My wife and daughter spent a lot of time with my parents in Jenkins. Most of the four years at Sampson Air Base, N.Y., my family was with me.
Donna Kay’s first school was a Catholic school in Kaimki, Honolulu, Hawaii, when I was assigned to Hickam Field as NCOIC of printing for the Far East in 1955. We then moved on base at Hickam Field as I was ‘key personnel’ in my new job. I was the only staff sergeant living in base quarters. At that time, Hawaii was overseas duty before it became a state, and I was getting overseas pay.
In 1956 our headquarters moved stateside to Park Air Base, Calif., and we lived in Pleasonton, Calif., and Donna started school there.
In 1957 my headquarters moved to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to take over the command of the base where I would be in charge of all printing on the West Coast and the Far East. We were living in Benicia, Calif., and Donna started school there.
I made master sergeant and was one of the first NCOs to move into the new base quarters. Donna went to school on base the rest of her grade school years.
When she started high school, all students were bused to Vacaville, Calif., about seven miles from the base. During this time Travis was building a new school on base, just three blocks from our quarters.
Donna started school at the new Vanden High School when it was finished. She was the editor of the school paper, and was an excellent student in her junior and senior years.
One of her classmates was Priscilla Presley for a time until Elvis took her to Tennessee to live with him. After my daughter finished high school, I got her a job with the base computer department, a job she always wanted.
Her new boss worked for me at one time. Her new job was only a couple of blocks from my print shop. She married a young airman, Richard Alderete, and after his four years of enlistment were up, they moved to southern California where they both had jobs. During this time the rest of my family was in Germany, where Donna came to visit us once with our first grandson.
When I was assigned to the Pentagon, Donna visited us often and we would drive to Payne Gap to visit my parents.
After I retired from the military in Dec. 1972 and started my new job in California, Donna and her family moved back to Fairfield to be near us. She got a job working for the school district in the computer department. Her husband was working for Delta Airlines in Sacramento, Calif., and my wife Estelle baby-sat our two grandsons while they worked.
The oldest, David, went to college and is now an engineer for the state of California, and his brother Steven went to Bible college and is now a pastor and music director for a church in Washington state.
Donna’s husband was transferred to Salt Lake City, Utah, and they live there now. His last job before retirement was going on planes and dealing with unruly passengers. He now works part time for H&R Block as a CPA.
Donna works for Rolls Royce’s computer department in Park City, Utah, and will retire this year. She has worked for over 40 years.