Mavis Vanderpool Kohler of Oak Ridge died peacefully Sunday morning, September 6. She was 99 and a veteran of World War II.
She was predeceased 10 years ago by her husband of 62 years, Peter Bogart Kohler, and earlier by her parents, Laura Hall Vanderpool and John Vanderpool.
Born in the small mountain town of McDowell, Kentucky, she was one of six children. Although her parents had only grade-school educations, she was graduated from Pikeville College (now University of Pikeville) with a teaching degree. She vividly remembered the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, sitting in her dorm room listening to the President’s speech on the radio. She returned home to McDowell and Floyd County, where she took a one-year teaching job in a two-room schoolhouse; she served as principal and taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grades.
With her two older brothers enlisting in service, she also answered the call to duty and became among the first group of women to enlist in the U.S. Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Leaving eastern Kentucky for the first time in her life, she boarded a train and reported to Hunter College in New York City for basic training. Following basic and advanced training, she served as a Pharmacists Mate in the Medical Corps and was based in Washington, D.C., working in U.S. Navy clinics and hospitals.[Read more…]