Y2c Lawrence James Mcfaddin

Unknown Sailor

Y2c Lawrence James Mcfaddin

Hadavig McFaddin’s only son, Lawrence James McFaddin Jr., was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. It was her birthday.

About a year later the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, homemaker joined the national Gold Star Mothers — an organization whose members lost at least one child in the war.

She helped organize the Cedar Rapids chapter and eventually became an officer of the national group.

“It takes a year or so even to start thinking about anything else,” she told a reporter for the local newspaper in 1945. “No one could blame a mother for being bitter at first, but we all feel that if you look for strength and comfort you will find it. It can be a long search, though.”

Her son was a yeoman and petty officer second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he died.

He was born in Chicago on June 27, 1919. His father, Lawrence James McFaddin Sr., was a broker for drug sales. His mother was known as Hadavig Faaborg before she married.

Their son graduated from McKinley High School in Cedar Rapids in 1937. He had been president of the junior class and participated in theater. He attended the University of Iowa and later Coe College before enlisting in the Navy on March 8, 1938.

He married Betty Everly of Wilmington, California in Yuma, Arizona on June 25, 1941 while the battleship was visiting its mainland home port at San Pedro, California. Yuma was a popular place to get married in those days because there was no waiting period, while in California it was three days. The Arizona visited the West Coast from June 17 to July 1, with no guarantee of when it might return. And as it turned out, it never did.

The Cedar Rapids chapter of Gold Star Mothers started with 20 members and by June 1945 had grown to 55. Some women had two or even three other sons in the military, in addition to the one who died.

“Two or three were just like hermits” when they first came to club meetings,” Mrs. McFaddin told Rina Dorheim of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “But little by little they became adjusted. You can’t feel too sorry for yourself when you know that all around you are those who have lived in that dark village too. You know you’re not alone and it seems to give you courage.”


Sources: Rina Dorheim of the Cedar Rapids Gazette; the Arizona Republic of Phoenix, Arizona; Census; Illinois birth certificate; Arizona marriage license; Iowa application for beneficiary compensation. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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