Thursday, April 9, 2015

MARVIN DICKSON -- 1908-1943

My thanks to Chris, who used her genealogical investigative skills to find documents relating to Marvin Dickson’s life and death. (I just have to get my own membership and quit imposing on my friends.) His death certificate lists just a few basic facts, but even so it’s amazing how much I learned.

Marvin Ross Dickson was born December 4, 1908, to Ida Mabel and James Benjamin (“Ben”) Dickson. While his birthplace is listed as Orofino, it might still have been Gilbert.

He was married, the document affirms, but nothing else about his wife. However, their marriage certificate shows her name was Lillian Soniville, and they married in Centralia, WA, on June 4, 1932.

Marvin was enlisted in the Reserve Corps as a Student Instructor (evidently a civilian) with the Army Air Forces Central Instructor School, working out of Randolph Field in Texas. He died at 3:45 p.m. on August 14, 1943, as the result of an airplane crash. His name appears on a very long list of flyers who died that horrible year of the war.

And those are the facts – but just the facts. I’ll try to round Marvin out a bit with what general information I know.

Marvin, an only child, grew up on his parents’ homestead at Gilbert, Idaho, where he attended the “Dickson School,” the local one-room schoolhouse, through the eighth grade. Then, he was sent to town – either to Orofino or Lewiston – for his high school education, which he completed in 1926 or so. After that he attended the Normal School at Lewiston from which he graduated. (Thanks again to Chris who found this entry in the 1928 Normal School annual.) I think he would have been a good candidate for the teacher’s position at Kendrick because of his farm-boy background, academic standing, musical talent, and energetic attitude.

But – though Marvin had skills and abilities, he was young and not yet ready for the quiet life of a school teacher, and I wonder if he had the character for it. In those days, remember, school teachers were expected to be paragons of virtue. I would have thought that his stint in the penitentiary would have ended his career as a teacher, but the 1940 census shows Marvin and Lillian still in Centralia, where he was a teacher in the public schools. Perhaps it was possible for him to move away from his problems and prove himself.

Well, that attempt to defraud took some planning and effort. You just know it broke his parents' hearts and generally embarrassed the extended family. And then their hearts were broken again when Marvin was killed. But, we don't know -- hopefully he accomplished much better things. KW


Hallie said...

Oh, that is so sad that he died so very young. Did he have children? Maybe you already said and I need to re-read.

Kathy said...

No, Marvin and Lillian didn't have children. Yes, it is a sad story, but putting it in perspective, the war brought sadness and difficulties to people everywhere.

Chris researched Lillian, too. She moved to Spokane where she taught. Apparently she didn't remarry. She died in 1978 when she would have been about 70 and is buried at Normal Hill Cemetery in Lewiston.

Chris said...

It's been an interesting topic and you have more information than before, making Marvin and Lillian more real.