Lt. Joe Farish served in the field artillery of the First Infantry Division. He served in North Africa, Sicily, and England where he trained for the invasion of northern Europe. On D-Day he landed on Easy Red Omaha Beach for which he later received the Bronze Star. Joe participated in the Battle of the Bulge, and met the Russian Army in Czechoslovakia in May 1945.
Anne E’del Deacon Fenyvessy (1903-2006) served as a counter-intelligence officer in the Navy during World War II. In 1939, she received her law degree from Temple University, the only female in a class of 45. After the war, she studied art at the Norton Art Institute but returned to law in 1952. Appointed in 1956 as Lantana’s municipal court judge, she became Palm Beach County’s first female judge.
In 1942 Owen H. Gassaway Jr. (1924-2007) worked as an aircraft mechanic at Lantana Flying Service and he was an unofficial mechanic working on the aircraft of Coastal Patrol 3. He enlisted in the army and was assigned to the 565th Heavy Maintenance Tank Company and served in Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe. In 2008 the Lantana airport was renamed the Owen H. Gassaway, Jr. Airfield in his honor.
George Greenberg (1915-2007) worked in his father’s Pioneer Hardware store from age 16 but took time for college and law school. That education served him well during the war when he was assigned to an army research unit in Virginia. George was involved in developing the synthetic coffee, “Nescafe” and a neoprene synthetic rubber replacement for leather. George eventually took over the reins of Pioneer Linens.
West Palm Beach resident Lt. Harry Grosser Jr. joined the Army Air Corps in 1943. He was stationed in Italy where he flew a B-24 Liberator on long-rang bombing missions in Germany. During a raid on Blechhammer, Germany, his B-24 was seriously damaged from intensive flak. Flying alone and without escort, he was able to nurse his aircraft back to base. Grosser was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Richard D. Hill (1900-1984) commissioned as a captain in the Florida Defense Force, commanded Palm Beach County’s Co. E, 7th BN., an infantry unit of the FDF. A senior executive with Florida Power and Light Company, he remained in the FDF until it was deactivated in 1947. Dick Hill Park, located on Clematis Street, was named in his honor but it was later turned into a parking lot.
Willis Hitt (1897-1985) was a mayor of West Palm Beach for two terms (1941-1942 and 1946-1947) and served as a city commissioner from 1939-1947. Hitt owned and operated the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company in West Palm Beach until he retired in the 1960s. Hitt was commander of the Citizens Defense Corps and served in the Civil Air Patrol. He received the Air Medal in 1948 for his antisubmarine patrol service.
John Arthur Keil (1898-1965) a tourism public relations man, helped start the annual Sailfish Derby and brought the Philadelphia Athletics to West Palm Beach for spring training. Keil joined the 1st Air Squadron, FDF as an officer and later served as a pilot, observer, and intelligence officer for the CAP Coastal Patrol No. 3. Keil received the Air Medal meritorious achievement while participating in antisubmarine patrol missions during 1942-1943.
© Historical Society of Palm Beach County.