NEWS FROM THE HUT by John Hamilton
This is going to be a “Flashback” series about veterans who have been part of the history of the HUT, Post 142 in Hominy, Oklahoma, and part of the history of the Hominy community. All veterans are special patriots and deserve to be honored, but the veterans who are no longer with us also deserve to be honored, and that is the purpose of this “Flashback” series for veterans that have passed into the Hominy Post 142 Post Everlasting Memorial in our hearts
Willian “Rex” Mantooth
William Rex Mantooth was born on January 7, 1918, in Newburg, Comanche County, Texas to James Columbus and Addie Bell (English) Mantooth. He had two siblings, Laura Fay, and James Ray Mantooth. The three children with their parents moved to Hominy, Oklahoma from Texas by covered wagon in 1922.
In 1924, at the age of 6, he started school. He had to walk about three miles to the Sunset School every day, though at about the age of 10, he started riding on horseback. He was able to complete the 5th grade; after which he stayed home to help his family on the farm. Their farm was not very big, only about 10 acres, however, they grew a variety of produce including: watermelon, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, corn, and peanuts. The family made their living selling these crops.
When Rex was 19 years old, in 1937, Rex went to a CCC Camp, (Civilian Conservation Corps) which was run by the US Army Reserves and was a work relief program for unemployed, unmarried men. Conservation and development of government lands, including state park development, tree planting, fence building and road construction was the focus of these camps. The first camp he attended in Dolores, Colorado. In 1938, he went to a different camp in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where he stayed for 18 months.
On November 4, 1941, Rex was inducted into the US Army and after attending Signal Corps Radar Operator School, he went to Panama and watched for enemy planes on radar and helped guard the Panama Canal. While he was in Panama, he had a pet monkey and parakeet. At night the monkey would bite holes in his fellow soldiers’ shaving cream and toothpaste tubes. When they tried to use them in the morning, the contents would go all over the place. Some of the men in the unit would get mad at the monkey and throw things at it. During his tenure in Central America, there were no major problems at the canal, and he was Honorably Discharged on October 28, 1945.
After leaving the Army in 1946, Rex started work for the Osage County Highway Department and also worked for the Oklahoma State Highway Department in another county. 1950-1961 he worked for the Hominy Street Department. After 1961, Rex began working in the carpentry field and built mostly cabinets and charged $6.00 an hour. He retired in 1980 at the age of 62.
Rex married his wife of 53 years; Edith Lucille Passmore on November 1, 1945. Rex lived with his wife until she went into the Hominy Nursing Home in the mid-1990s. He visited her daily, sometimes 2-3 times. Unfortunately, she passed away on March 9, 1999. Even after this terrible loss, he continued doing what he loved: arts and crafts. He drew, painted, and worked with wood. His wood sculptures included animals like buffalo and horses which he crafted and painted.
Rex was very active in the Blackwell-Frazier American Legion Post 142 in Hominy and served as its Chaplin. He also was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church in Hominy. He had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed the simple things; one of his favorites was just riding in his truck with his dog, Trixie. He will be greatly missed.
William “Rex” Mantooth, age 98 years, 3 months, and 16 days, passed away at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, April 23, 2016. He was a long time Hominy resident.
Gerald Houston “Jess” Ballard
Gerald Houston “Jess” Ballard was born in Ruby, Oklahoma on April 01, 1927, to Jack and Delva (McMains) Ballard. He attended Nowata High School and entered the United States Army Air Corps in 1945. He served in 247th AAF Base Unit, Squad A during WWII, and was in the Pacific Theater of Operations as well as state side. He received the WWII Victory Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal. On May 5, 1945. Jess married Betty Louise Bitters, and they moved to Hominy in 1956.
Jess owned and operated Ballard Bulldozer Service and was an Osage County Commissioner for twelve years He professed and ministered Jesus Christ and was a member of Antioch Christian Fellowship in Wynona, Oklahoma. Jess was an avid hunter and fisherman and taught three generations of Ballard’s how to hunt and fish. He loved to garden, was a proud supporter of the Hominy Bucks and in earlier years, really enjoyed reading military history. Jess was a member of Blackwell-Frazier American Legion Post 142 in Hominy and was a loving Pa-Pa to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and enjoyed life to it’s fullest his entire 90 years.
Until further notice, our regular Legion meeting will be the third Thursday of each month. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, October 21st at 7:00 PM. The next Sons of the American Legion (SAL) will be on Thursday, October 21st at 5:00 PM. The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings have been resumed at 8:00 AM. If you are a veteran, come by for our monthly meeting, and/or the Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings. Several of the Post 142 members meet on Wednesday’s at Daylight Donuts on OK-99 around 8:00 AM in Hominy for coffee and breakfast treats. If you have a good story, it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at the Post 142 website “americanlegion142.org” and Hominy Legion on Facebook.