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Betty Wrigley - Family Memories

Betty Ann Fuetsch Wrigley grew up in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri but at the age of fifteen in 1943 she followed her aunt to Bremerton, Washington. Once there she worked in the Puget Sound Navy Yard as a shipfitter’s helper from 1943 to 1946, having to lie about her age in order to work there. After the war, Betty returned briefly to St. Louis, then married Arvil William Wrigley on April 19, 1947 and moved to Collinsville, Illinois. She had a long career with the Illinois Bell Telephone Company, raised twins Robert and Kathryn, traveled throughout the United States on memorable vacations, which she always described in her notebooks, and devoted years to volunteering in her community.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt-Audio

Catching Hot Rivets

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Betty’s childhood and early life in St. Louis

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Betty’s wartime experiences at the Bremerton WA shipyards

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

More WW II experiences at Bremerton’s Puget Sound Navy Yard

Interview Session 04 (Audio)

Betty’s marriage in 1947 and post-war life in Collinsville, IL

Videos



Photos

Caption:
Betty Fuetsch and her cousin, Harold Goebel, ready to leave St. Louis, MO for Bremerton,WA in 1943.

Where:
St. Louis, MO.

When:
1943

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty Fuetsch, outside her Bremerton residence, dressed for work on the USS California, 1943.

Where:
Bremerton,WA

When:
1943

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty Fuetsch, outside her Bremerton residence, dressed for work on the USS California, 1943.

Where:
Bremerton,WA

When:
1943

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty’s 18th birthday portrait, taken at Beem’s Photographers, Bremerton, WA while Betty worked there in the shipyard, 1944.

Where:
Bremerton,WA

When:
1944

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

Caption:
Eleanor Goebel, Betty’s cousin’s wife, ran a photo shop in Bremerton, WA. Betty took her photo in a booth there on her 18th birthday.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty, on far right, with Harry Goebel and his family at their war workers’ housing residence in Monett, Sheridan Park, Bremerton, Washington circa 1944.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty Fuetsch dated sailor Bruce S. Campbell while he was in Bremerton waiting on ship repairs. Sadly, Campbell died when the USS Monaghan went down during Typhoon Cobra in the south Pacific on December 18, 1944.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
December 18, 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty climbs a tree – having fun on a day off in Belfair, Washington in 1945.

Where:
Belfair, Washington

When:
1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty Fuetsch on VJ Day (August 14, 1945) in front of a Bremerton, Washington photo shop owned by her cousin’s wife, Eleanor Goebel.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
August 14, 1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty Fuetsch, second from left on the couch, celebrated her 18th birthday on June 29, 1945 with family and two sailors whose ships were being repaired at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. She lived in government housing provided for war workers.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
June 29, 1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty made a point to see the damaged USS Bunker Hill when it arrived for repairs. She recalls brief day trips to work on it. The photo is from an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 28, 1945.

Where:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bremerton, WA.

When:
June 28, 1945

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

Caption:
Japanese suicide planes inflicted severe damage to the USS Bunker Hill, noted Betty in her log book. The photo appeared in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article on June 28, 1945.

Where:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bremerton, WA.

When:
June 28, 1945

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

Caption:
Betty Fuestch walked through this gate to enter the Pugent Sound Navy Yard, where she worked as a shipfitter’s helper from 1943-1945. “Thousands Attend First PSNY ‘Open House’ Since 1939” read the article from The Navy Yard Salute on July 6, 1945.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
July 6, 1945

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

Caption:
When World War II ended, Betty knew she would be laid off soon. This pay stub indicates that she quickly found a job at the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company, where she was a long-distance operator.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
Oct. 15, 1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty Fuetsch’s W-2 form for 1945. She earned $2,286 that year, and the federal government took 16.9% of that in taxes.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo
Betty Fuetsch’s W-2 form for 1945. She earned $2,286 that year, and the federal government took 16.9% of that in taxes.


Caption:
Betty Fuetsch lived with her extended family in war worker’s housing in Bremerton, WA. Florence and Floyd Andrews, baby Darlene and Marguerite are pictured with her.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
Circa 1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
One of a series of ID badges that Betty Fuetsch used during her years as a shipfitter’s helper in Bremerton, WA during World War II. She learned the correct spelling of her last name years later.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty kept a log of vessels that came through the Puget Sound Navy Yard, noting whether and when she worked on them.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty was responsible for cigarette rationing for her work crew at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. She kept meticulous records in log book.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
Unknown

Caption:
Betty received invitations to ship’s dances held to celebrate the completion of repairs. She attended many of them.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption:
Betty received invitations to ship’s dances held to celebrate the completion of repairs. She attended many of them.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption:
Workers at the Puget Sound Navy Yard received thank you notes from the officers and men of each ship that was repaired. Betty kept this one from the USS California on which she worked for eleven months.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption:
Betty was among those at the Puget Sound Navy Yard who received notes from the ship’s officers, thanking them for restoring their ships to working order. She worked briefly on the USS Enterprise.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption:
Betty’s severance document from the Navy Department indicates her $7.60 per day wage and eligibility for other government jobs. She took a job at the local telephone company. The document incorrectly states a 1925 birth date; it is 1927.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.

When:
1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty kept a log of vessels that came through the Puget Sound Navy Yard, noting whether and when she worked on them.

Where:
Bremerton, WA.


When:
1943-1945

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo


Caption:
Betty and her mother, Coreda Whitney, stride down a St. Louis street in September 1946, shortly after Betty’s return from war work in Bremerton, Washington. A street photographer, Candid Pictures, captured the moment.

Where:
St. Louis, MO.

When:
September 1946

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

Caption:
Betty Fuestch and Arvil Wrigley outside Arvil’s family home in Collinsville, IL on April 19, 1947, their wedding day.

Where:
Collinsville, IL

When:
April 19, 1947

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty’s husband, Arvil “Sonny” Wrigley, holds Bob and Betty holds Kitty at their 1104 Cleveland, Collinsville, IL home. It was the twins’ first birthday in 1952.

Where:
Collinsville, IL

When:
1952

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Betty Wrigley was awarded “Volunteer of the Year” by the Collinsville Historical Museum on August 14, 2009.

Where:
Collinsville, IL

When:
August 14, 2009

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo



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