Daffer, Harry B.
Daffer, Harry B.
July 18, 1919 — October 7, 2018
Harry B. Daffer, Sr. was born July 18th 1919 to Charles F. Daffer and Sophia Gilbertson in Pleasant Dale, Nebraska. He was the 13th of 13 children born to that union. His oldest siblings had entered adulthood and moved away before he was born and many summers of his childhood were spent at his brothers’ farms in north western Kansas and in Texas. During those summers he learned to herd cattle on horseback and spent time catching mustangs in eastern Colorado with his brothers. He also learned to trap animals which helped him earn extra money for his parents as he grew into his teens during the great depression.
Harry graduated high school at semester break in Dec. 1936 at the age of 16. He was awarded an academic scholarship to Creighton University and also had earned a place as an alternate to the U.S. naval academy from Nebraska. Being the middle of the depression his family couldn't afford to send him to Creighton, even with a scholarship and as it turned out the #1 man selected to Annapolis was able to go. As a consequence Harry left home in Jan. of 1937 and hitchhiked to Kansas City, having only several dollars to his name he slept in Union Station in the passenger waiting room until he would be rousted and turned out. He resolved to stay 5 days in the city and if he couldn't find work he would travel on to his brothers ranch in Texas. On the 5th day he was hired by a sign shop where he lived in a storeroom as well. He learned the sign writing trade there, which served him throughout his life. He worked at that shop through the fall of 1938. In late November he got a call one night from a girl he had met, she ask him to go to a DE Mo Lay dance with another couple on the coming Friday night. He went and that's when he met the gal of his dreams Rose Mae White, who happened to be the other guys date. Later that night they both took their dates home and met up. They dated a couple of weeks until on Dec 24th when they decided to elope. Her father learned of the plot when she didn't return home that night and intercepted them on their way to a justice of the peace in Olathe. Harry thought he was in grave trouble when her dad walked up to the car, but all he said was " if you kids want to get married so bad why don't you come home and do it right" They were married on December 27th 1938. The marriage lasted until 1999 when Rose passed away!
There was 4 children born of that union Nicholi Jo, Susan Elaine, Harry B II, and Terrell F. He also has 14 grand children, 24 great grandkids and 18 great great grandkids!
In May of 1944 Harry was drafted into the Navy and after boot camp he was assigned to the USS Gilmer and was trained to be a member of the underwater demolition teams (frogmen) as they were called in the days before the seal teams they later became. As a member of those teams he helped in the landings at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and was one of the first Americans on Japanese soil when he was assigned to go into Nagasake to search for American POWs, that was 2 weeks after the atom bomb was dropped on that city. During the Okinawa invasion his ship was attacked and hit by a kamikaze. It hit a gun station a mere 35 ft away, killing a shipmate and wounding several others! He said that his gunnery mate manning the 20MM gun with him yelled for him to dig a foxhole in the deck as the plane was about to hit and explode, he said that when he came to on the deck he raised his head and found a piece of the plane on the deck beside his head. He kept that piece for all his life. He had many stories from the war, both tragic and humorous and was very proud to have served our nation in WW2.
After the war Harry came home and took over his father-in-laws painting company which he had gone to work for after marrying Rose Mae in 1938. It turned into the DafferPainting Co in 1950 and he ran the company until retiring in 1989.
During those years of raising his family Harry was involved in many community activities. He was a founding member of VFW post #8100 in Grandview, Mo. He also joined the booster club and was very active in school activities. He was a boy scout leader when Harry, his son went through scouts to the rank of Eagle and became a member of the tribe of Mic o Say along with his son.
In 1965 he joined the Mo. civil air patrol and became the commander of KC squadron one, from there he worked his way to the rank of Lt. Col. received his pilots license and became the state emergency services officer in charge of air search and rescue in the state of Mo. He held that post until 1991.
In the years since he greatly enjoyed spending time with his big family and sharing his many, many stories gathered throughout his life.
Service: 1PM, Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Park Lawn Funeral Home
Visitation: 12-1PM, Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Park Lawn Funeral Home
Burial in Longview Cemetery