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 Frances Pearl Roark

Frances Pearl Roark

Birth
Woodbury County, Iowa, USA
Death 19 Jul 1987 (aged 85)
Lincoln County, Washington, USA
Burial Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 140271351 · View Source
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FRANCES PEARL ROARK (1901 - 1987)

Frances Pearl Roark was born on Sunday, August 25, 1901 to Martin Edward and Julia Agnes (Gothier) Roark, on the family farm near Lucky Valley, Woodbury County, Iowa. She moved with her family, at age 7, to a farm in Trenton Township, Brookings County, South Dakota circa 1908 and again, about age 10, to a farm in Clear Lake Township, Deuel County, South Dakota circa 1911 where she completed her education about 1916 and found work as a waitress in Clear Lake Village. In 1932, Pearl was working as a waitress in Huron, South Dakota, with her sisters, Ethel and Florence. Sometime later she was employed as a nanny with a family in Wisconsin. This family moved to Spokane, Washington and Pearl moved with them.

On Sunday, October 4, 1942 Pearl, at 42 years of age, enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) (Service Book, 1942). The WAAC had been authorized by law in May, 1942 and conducted their first Officer Candidate School in July, 1942 at the newly established WAAC Center at the old cavalry post of Fort Des Moines, Iowa. Following availability of the first WAAC officers, females were enlisted to replace men that could be better used on the battle lines. The WAAC was not officially a part of the Armed Forces, this didn't occur until 1944 when the WAAC was deactivated and the Women's Army Corps was activated as part of the US Army.

Pearl held the rank of Auxiliary in the WAAC, equivalent to a Private in the Regular Army, and her serial number was A-909-080. She described herself as being 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall, weighting 154 pounds, blue eyes and gray hair (Service Book, 1942). On Sunday, October 4, 1942, she was assigned to 4th Company, 3rd Training Regiment, 1st WAAC Training Center and Fort Des Moines, Iowa for four weeks of basic training. On Saturday, October 31, 1942 she graduated Basic Training and was assigned to the 27th Company, 3rd Training Regiment at Fort Des Moines, and a few days later reassigned to 21st Company of the same regiment for training in Cooks and Bakers School. Pearl graduated with a 1st cook diploma on Wednesday, December 23, 1942 (Service Book, 1942).

While in training, she resided in Barracks T-724 of the infamous "Boom Town" – obviously a complex of 2 story, wooden barracks buildings erected to meet the influx of WAAC trainees at Fort Des Moines. On January 7, 1943, Pearl was reassigned to the 14th Company, 2nd WAAC Training Regiment at Drake University in the nearby city of Des Moines, Iowa (Service Book, 1942). It is unknown if this assignment was for work or additional training. It is believed that Pearl was also assigned at Fort Riley, Kansas where she probably received her discharge. Upon discharge in 1944, Pearl returned to Spokane, Washington, found work as a secretary in a major drug company and lived in Spokane for the next 40 plus years.

Pearl was a staunch Roman Catholic throughout her lifetime, having been confirmed with her sister Mabel in Clear Lake, South Dakota circa 1913. She had a relationship with an unknown man for 15 years, but refused to marry him because he wasn't Catholic (Interview, 1988a and 1988h). He finally converted to Catholicism and she agreed to marry him, however, Pearl changed her mind at the last minute, believing that he wasn't sincere in his conversion and remained single all of her life (Interview, 1988a). Obviously regretting her decision later in life, she commented to a niece on the eve of her wedding, "Never let religion get in the way of love" (Interview, 1988a).

Pearl loved to travel, visiting Mexico, Canada and extensively in the United States. She remained in close contact with her siblings and many nieces. She had several close friends and maintained an active social circle. Following her retirement about 1966, she stepped up her travel activities using package tours and personal visits to see different places and relatives. She was described by WAAC friends and family members alike as a kind, loving, humble and generous person (Service Book, 1942; Interview, 1988a and 1988h).

Pearl was in a Davenport, Washington nursing home during her final years, cared for by her close friend and relative, Olga Viola (Grindvold) Kasner, when Pearl died on Sunday, July 19, 1987. Following her cremation, her ashes were placed in a crypt at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Spokane, Washington. Following Pearl's request, there was no obituary, funeral or memorial service. True to her fashion, Pearl wished to remain a private person even after death.
(Courtesy baldrich66032)



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  • Created by: Penny Lee
  • Added: 20 Dec 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 140271351
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Frances Pearl Roark (25 Aug 1901–19 Jul 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 140271351, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Penny Lee (contributor 46805564) .