Joseph Part 4 – The Second of Three Remarkable People

The 1940 census shows that my grandparents moved from Philadelphia to Alexandria and purchased a house there.  I’m guessing that they moved there about 1937 when he worked for the Navy Department. It is the house that my aunt and dad talk about growing up in, the house on Old Dominion.  Which was a brand new house when they moved in and they lived there until some time in 1952.  It is still there, today.  My aunt told me that she was able to get a tour of it from the current owners a few years back.

House on Old Dominion

House on Old Dominion

During the time that Joseph worked for the Navy Department, he attended George Washington University and received his law degree (and in 1941 was certified as a member of the bar of the Court of Appeals in Washington DC).  This plus his earlier work at the Philadelphia Naval yard and The Navy Department made him a very desirable candidate for the US Maritime Commission.

He started working for the Maritime Commission late in 1937.    During the war he built Liberty ships. This is a good link to get a quick understanding of  Liberty ships with a few pictures.

Liberty Ships built by the United States Maritime Commission in World War II

The post mentions two Liberty ships which were turned into museums. I have had the opportunity to visit the SS Jeremiah O’Brien in San Francisco several times.  It’s a great trip for locals, school children and tourists but I would recommend dressing for outdoor (in San Francisco that means COLD) weather.

While my grandfather worked on Liberty ships my grandmother worked at the torpedo factory in Alexandria.  It has since been turned into an Arts Center and it is called, The Torpedo Factory. After a couple of years at the torpedo factory she began working for the Weather Bureau where she had the task of drawing doplar maps by hand.  My grandmother worked nights so my Aunt Joanne was given the responsibility for making sure that dinner got on the table each night.

Naval Torpedo Factory, Arlington

Naval Torpedo Factory, Arlington

Although I was not able to find documentation on my grandfather’s early years, other than a reference made in his hometown paper, I was able to find documentation for some of the positions he held while in the US Maritime.  He worked under Rear Admiral Emory S. Land, USN (ret.).

1947 Technical Department – Design – Director
1948 Technical Bureau – Cost Division – Chief (figuring costs to build the ships)
1949 – 1955 Office of Ship Construction and Repair – Division of Estimates –  Chief (setting up contracts with shipyards to build ships and doing inspections)

I continue to be truly amazed at how much education he acquired during his lifetime, especially since his first day of ANY kind of education came at the age of about nineteen or twenty years of age.

Click here to continue reading this series.

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