#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Service

When I first saw Amy Johnson Crow’s prompt for week 19 of her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, I thought of my dad. The prompt is “service.”

William David Hahn served 28 years and 11 months in the United States Navy. I don’t remember ever hearing until a few months ago that he had been in the Junior R.O.T.C. at Tate High School in Escambia County, Florida. I did know that after graduation he served two years in the Navy. After he got out, he married my mom, and he worked at St. Regis Paper Mill for about five years.

Bill and Zenova Hahn

Bill Hahn and Zenova Cook Hahn. This is either just before he sailed on the USS Tweedy or when the ship returned after the Cuban Missile Crisis. (1962 or 1963)

Mom said he decided he didn’t want to work in a factory for the rest of his life and talked to her about re-enlisting, which she was fine with, and in 1962, off they went.

I’ll include the Cliffs Notes version of his career from his obituary, which my dad helped write before he died:





Aboard the icebreaker USS Atka, he sailed to Antarctica to pave the way for Operation Deep Freeze and served aboard the USS Tweedy during the Cuban Blockade. Other assignments included ammunition ship USS Diamondhead, sub tender USS Canopus, and three submarines, USS James Madison, USS Finback, and USS Woodrow Wilson. Overseas duty stations included U.S. Naval Station Rota Spain and Holy Loch, Scotland. He also served in Norfolk, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; and Sand Point NAS in Seattle, sailing six of the seven seas along the way. Bill retired in 1982, after his final tour of duty at the Naval Coastal Systems Center in Panama City.

He also served his family. We went camping and did a lot of traveling beyond what the Navy required. We bought a camper and my parents joined the Good Sam Club. They were very active in local chapters in Charleston and Pensacola, and at one time, daddy was the Assistant State Director for Florida.

Bill & Zenova in front of their camper.

Bill and Zenova in front of their camper.

After retiring, he and my mom made crafts and traveled around the country selling them. I remember many nights of him working late in the workshop cutting things out that my mom would stain the next day and quite often paint on the road. My mom said when they finally settled down, daddy would call his parents every day to check on them. (She was making an example of him to me.)

After selling well at the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana, they bought property in Mansfield. Daddy did a lot of work on their tiny cabin and became such a fixture in the small community that he was elected President of the Mansfield Village Association.

Always serving.

They couldn’t always afford to buy everything I wanted, but daddy built me a high-rise bed in our home in Pensacola, and a desk when I wanted one for my typewriter and very first computer (a VIC-20). He built a set of very fine kitchen cabinets for his mother.

Bill Hahn and Family

(L-R) Tony Hahn; Betty Hahn Carter; Sidney Hahn; Malzie Silcox Hahn; Steve Hahn; Bill Hahn; Mickey Hahn; Charles Theodore Hahn (barely visible)











A few months before I got married, my parents joined Ensley United Methodist Church in Escambia County. He served there, too. He did repairs and upgrades to the building, and helped build a semi-permanent life-sized model of Bethlehem for an annual Christmas event, and he served on the board of trustees.

Daddy died in 2007. I’m sure he’s in Heaven, still serving, doing whatever needs doing up there.


About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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