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Mary Ann Koucky - World War II

Mary Ann Ladic was seven years old in 1941, and lived in Baguio, Philippines, where her father supervised a gold mine. In December, 1941 the entire family was taken prisoner by the Japanese . They spent the next three years as prisoners in a succession of camps, each with worse conditions and less food than the last. In February, 1945 the family was being held in Bilibid Prison in Manila when the American Army finally liberated the camp. Her liberators included a cousin who served with the 530th Engineer Company. The family returned to the U.S. and resumed a normal life. Mary Ann came of age in Taylorville, married when she was twenty, then decided to earn her bachelor's degree at age twenty-eight. She went on to a career in education and later as a stock broker, all while having nine children and earning several advanced degrees.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

Conditions At Bilibid Prison

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Childhood in Japanese internment camps in Philippines

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Liberation from Bilibid Prison and Mary Ann’s life in the U.S.

Videos



Photos

Caption

Anna McRave appears with her daughters Cecilia (Sister Marie Pierre) and Ann (Sister Robertus) circa 1920s in Chicago.

Where:

Chicago

When:

Circa 1920s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A photograph of Sanford Ladic, Mary Ann’s father, taken in California in 1936 when he was preparing to leave for the Philippines for a job as mine supervisor following his work on the Boulder Dam.

Where:

California

When:

1936

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Grandmother Ann McRave and mother Cecilia Ladic with Cecilia’s children, baby Marie and Mary Ann when the family lived in Hemit, California in 1937.

Where:

California

When:

1937

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

This was used as the passport photo for Cecilia and her daughters, with the photo taken sometime in 1937 while they lived in California. Working clockwise are mother Cecilia, Marie, Cecile and Mary Ann.

Where:

California

When:

1937

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A portrait of the Ladic family taken shortly after they moved to Paracale, Philippine Islands circa 1938. From left to right are Cecilia, Marie, Cecile, Mary Ann and Sanford.

Where:

Paracale, Philippine Islands

When:

Circa 1938

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

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Caption

Sanford and Cecilia Ladic beam with pride at their daughters in the backyard of their home in Baguio, Philippines in 1940. Sam supervised a gold mine in a nearby mind in northern Luzon Island.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

1940

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

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]

")

Caption

The Ladic girls and other children follow closely behind Sister Marcella of Baguio’s Mary Knoll Convent. They attended school at the Catholic convent. The sweaters they wore were later refashioned while in captivity.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

Circa 1940

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Cecile, Marie and Mary Ann, the Ladic sisters in their dress clothes, stand on the steps leading to the family home in Baguio, Philippines in early 1941. Their home was on the top of a steep hill.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

early 1941

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A pre-war birthday party 1941 is held in a neighbor’s back yard in Baguio. It illustrates the relatively privileged life the American community enjoyed in pre-war Philippines. The Ladic girls are dressed in while underneath the umbrella.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

1941

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The Ladic girls and their mother Cecilia (third from left on top row) attend a backyard party in Baguio in 1941. Mary Ann is holding a balloon and Marie is to her left.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

1941

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

These are the children who spend much of the war in the Baguio prison camp. In the back is a makeshift hospital. The Ladic girls are circled, with Mary Ann in the top row, second from the left, and Marie hugging her toy monkey.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

Circa 1941-1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.)

Caption

Former POW Annarae Tong met with Rokuro Tomibe, lieutenant in the Japanese Army during the war. He became commandant at the Baguio prison in February 1944. Tomibe’s more lenient and humanitarian policies endeared him to many the prisoners.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

February 1944

Ownership:

(May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.)

Caption

PFC Francis Callaghan, the Ladic’s cousin, made his way from the Pasig River to Bilibid Prison by himself in search of his relatives, dodging sniper fire and seeing scenes like this along the way. The photo was taken by Life Magazine photographer.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

Circa 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

This map of northern Luzon shows the location of Baguio, where Mary Ann’s father worked as a mine supervisor, and where the family spent most of its captivity, and Manila, where they ended the war in Bilibid Prison.

Where:

Northern Luzon, Philippines

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

The main gate for Bilibid prison, where Francis discovered his cousin Sanford Ladic on February 4, 1945, along with his three young daughters, who survived three years in captivity.

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

February 4, 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.)

Caption

The Ladic sisters shortly after their liberation in early February from the Bilibid Prison in Manila. The three were dressed in identical yellow dresses, the only clothing they had. From left to right are Marie, Cecile and Mary Ann. (Narrator’s photo)

Where:

Baguio, Philippines

When:

Early February, 1945

Ownership:

Unknown

Caption

The Ladics returned to the U.S. on the USS Admiral Capps, a troop ship, in the spring of 1945. Mary Ann, Marie and Cecile joined a soldier friend on deck. They were miserable for most of the trip, feeling queezy and cramped in bunks seven levels high.

Where:

USS Admiral Capps, a troop ship

When:

Spring of 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Shortly after their return to the U.S. in the June, 1945, Mary Ann and Marie appeared on the Chicago-based NBC radio show Quiz Kids. Cecile missed the show due to a bout of measles, which Mary Ann and Marie soon caught as well.

Where:

Chicago

When:

June, 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Brothers Billy and Francis Callaghan with the Ladic sisters shortly after their return to the United States in 1945. The Ladics lived for a short time with their Aunt Kitty in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Where:

Chicago

When:

1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann’s 6th grade picture, where she was enrolled at St. Mary School in Taylorville. The Sisters worked with Mary Ann and her sisters so they could catch up with the rest of the children.

Where:

Taylorville, Illinois

When:

Fall, 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.)

Caption

The Ladic family back in the United States in 1945. This picture accompanied a newspaper article about the family shortly after their return to the United States.

Where:

United States

When:

1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

This photo of Mary Ann’s cousin, Francis Callaghan, was included in his unit’s yearbook, the 530th Engineer Light Ponton Company, published immediately after the war. Francis found his relatives at the Bilibid Prison immediately after their liberation.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.)

Caption

Mary Ann’s 8th grade class at St. Mary School in Taylorville, IL, circa 1947. Mary Ann is in the top row, second from the right.

Where:

Taylorville, IL

When:

1947

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Mary Ann with her escort, Richard Bloxam on prom night in circa 1951. Betsy Wilson and R.I. Smith rounded out the foursome that night. Betsy and R.I. were married shortly after high school.

Where:

Taylorville, Illinois

When:

1951

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Mary Ann and this group of friends met at a friend’s home every Wednesday while in high school to talk about their day. Faux pearls were obviously the rage at that time. Rossie Robinson, Barbara Donovan, Betsy Wilson, Ginger Poor, Johanna Barnes, Susie Bryant, Mary Ann Ladic and

Where:

Taylorville, Illinois

When:

Circa 1948-1952

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann’s high school graduation photo. She graduated from Taylorville High School in 1952, with her sights set on Loyola University and nursing school.

Where:

Taylorville, Illinois

When:

1952

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Mary Ann attended Loyola University’s new nursing program after high school. She worked at St. Francis Hospital in the Evanston during her sophomore year in 1954.

Where:

Evanston, Illinois

When:

1954

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

By 1954 Mary Ann was dating George Hubbard, a Notre Dame student and an avid outdoorsman. Here she is, in Mount Pulaski learning how to hunt.

Where:

Mount Pulaski, Iliinois

When:

1954

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann holds up a trophy during a 1954 trip to Mount Pulaski where her fiancé, George Hubbard, hoped to teach her how to hunt.

Where:

Mount Pulaski, Iliinois

When:

1954

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

George, daughter Cecilia, her grandmother Cele (Cecilia), Tom, Sam (Sanford), and George IV and Mary Ann enjoying the day at Sam and Cele’s home in Decatur circa 1959.

Where:

Decatur, Illinois

When:

Circa 1959

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Tom, Cecilia, George, Anne, Sanford and baby Peggy get their picture taken on a bright and sunny Decatur day in 1965. George and Mary Ann eventually had nine children, many of whom were named after their ancestors. (Narrator’s photo)

Where:

Decatur, Illinois

When:

1965

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann’s nine children surprised her with a party when she graduated from Millikan University in 1972. She had started college in 1962, taking evening and weekend classes while raising a growing family.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1972

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann and George Hubbard, on the right, joined several other A.G. Edward employees during a winter trip to Europe, circa 1986. This picture was taken at a castle in Switzerland.

Where:

Switzerland

When:

Circa1986

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The Ladic sisters got together again in 2000 at a local restaurant in Chicago. From left to right are Cecile, Marie and Mary Ann. They helped celebrate Francis Callaghan’s birthday, the cousin who helped rescue them.

Where:

Chicago

When:

2000

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann Koucky celebrated her birthday with a profusion of flowers in her Merrill Lynch office in Decatur in 2004.

Where:

Decatur, Illinois

When:

2004

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The Hubbards gathered in St. Louis for the 2010 wedding of Anne Hubbard, George and Mary Ann’s 4th child, to Jim Herzog, Whitey Herzog’s son. “Only twenty-one of the Hubbards were missing,” said Mary Ann, who is second to the left of the groom.

Where:

St. Louis

When:

2010

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann with her cousins Francis and Louise Callaghan. It was Francis who found Mary Ann along with her sisters and father at Bilibid Prison, Manila on February 4, 1945. This photo was taken on a much happier day at the Callaghan home in LaGrange, IL.

Where:

LaGrange, Illinois

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Mary Ann holds the doll she made while in prison camp from some old dress material. The doll was the only toy she had while in camp. She kept it as a reminder of those days, and talked about it during her January, 2016 interview in Springfield.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

January, 2016

Ownership:

Property of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library



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