ACK Allen Brady Fincher,
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ACK Allen Brady Fincher
Wills Point, a town of about 2,000 circa 50 miles east of Dallas, was part of the life of Allen Brady Fincher and three other men killed on the U.S.S. Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941.
A fifth man who attended high school in Wills Point survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Brady Fincher was a salesman at a store and lodged at a home in Wills Point in April 1940. He joined the Marines on Aug. 15 and became an assistant cook on the Arizona.
He was born Oct. 29, 1918 in Van Zandt County, which includes Wills Point, and lived in the area until he enlisted. He graduated from nearby Grand Saline High School in 1938, where he belonged to the Future Farmers of America and played basketball.
As for many residents of northeast Texas, the 1930s were difficult for Mr. Fincher’s family. The 1930 Census lists “farm laborer” as his job even though at the time he was 11. His 17-year-old sister Hazel was described the same way. Both also attended school. Their father, Allen Benjimin, was a farmer and their mother, Clara Belle Stough Fincher, a homemaker. There were two younger children.
Mr. Fincher was honored at a memorial service in March 1942 at the courthouse in Canton, the county seat. It included scripture readings by two Methodist pastors and a speech by a judge. A “selected choir from all sections of the county sang,” a newspaper account said, and Taps was played.
There is no proof that Mr. Fincher knew the other Wills Point men before they went aboard the Arizona, but it seems likely. They were of similar age and had similar sports interests. Also, the population of the entire county was just 31,000. All five men were born between 1914 and 1920. Four of the five, including Mr. Fincher, played basketball. Two graduated from Wills Point High School the same year Mr. Fincher graduated 20 miles away at Grand Saline.
Other Wills Point men who died were Dee Cumpie “June” Ayers and his step-brother, Horace Van “Benjy” Wood. Their cousin, Brooxey J. Johnston Jr., survived. Harvey Linville Havins, who also died, was born in Wills Point but moved away at about the age of 21.
Sources: Particular thanks to Larry Turner of Wills Point, who has spent considerable time researching the local men on the Arizona. Other sources include: Grand Saline High School yearbook; the Canton Herald; census records; and the Handbook of Texas Online; U.S. Veterans Administration. Marine photograph. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.