By Liz Bowen
For the Siskiyou Daily News
Nov. 6, 2014
ETNA – World War II veteran Ormond “Ed” Quigley served on an U.S. aircraft carrier earning two battle stars fighting in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1945. This Sat., Nov. 8th, the Navy veteran will be honored as Grand Marshal for the Etna Veterans’ Parade. It starts at 11 a.m.
Ed was born to Alma and Charles Quigley in their Etna home on Fredricks Street in 1925 – one of seven sons and one daughter. His grandfather, James Quigley, was also born in Scott Valley on the family ranch up McConhaughy Gulch. So Ed is a third-generation Scott Valley native. He attended Etna Elementary School in the old two-story building, near the present-day elementary school.
Charles Quigley served as Etna Town Constable, worked for the Barnum Livery Stable and also the Etna Meat and Ice. But unfortunately, father Charles died when Ed was nine and life changed for the Quigley family. Ed and his brother, Bill, then began milking the 18 cows that his dad had milked along with his other jobs. It was a morning and night job with Ed also delivering to neighbors the glass, corked-bottles of milk in a wagon.
He remembers the name of the local bar was “Bucket of Blood” and Rose Sovey ran a restaurant and hotel on Main Street. Ed played six-man football in high school, but by age 17 he was driving a logging truck from nearby Whiskey Butte to the saw mill near Lover’s Lane on the outskirts of Etna. And, nope, he didn’t have a driver’s license for the job.
Men in Scott Valley were already scarce as the able-bodied males were already off to war fighting Germany in Europe. Teens stepped-up and went to work as materials were needed for the economy and war effort. Ed said he soon received his Driver’s License from Judge Cory and CHP Capt. Dailey with help in organizing the process from W.D. Miller’s superintendent Orin Lewis. Soon after that, Ed recalls teaching a younger friend, Vernon Gilmore, to drive logging truck. They worked for W.D. Miller. Oh, and Ed recalls his home received electricity in 1936.
By November of 1942, Ed felt he needed to join the war effort, so he enlisted in the Navy and was sent for Naval Training in Farragut, Idaho. In February 1943, the Scott Valley native was on board giant aircraft carrier “The Shipley Bay CVE 85” headed for Saipan, the Philippines and Iwo Jima with fighter and bomber planes on board. Ed served as an Electronic Technician’s Mate 3rd Class and he recalls the biggest fear were Japanese suicide bombers.
Yet, it was a typhoon that almost did the ship in as 80-foot waves smashed into the front of the ship rolling the flight deck back over the ship. The operator of the ship quickly turned and began going with the storm instead against it saving the day and the crew.
As the war effort drew to an end with battles won in the Pacific, the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan in Aug. of 1945 and General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Allied Army battling across Europe into Germany in spring of 1945, Ed was honorably discharged in 1946 and Scott Valley was his destination. Once again, he began driving truck for W. D. Miller in the woods and then worked as a cat skinner – skidding the felled logs to the landing. It was while logging that he received injury to his left eye, when a tree limb slammed into his face. A doctor at the U.C. hospital in San Francisco was able to save it after a lengthy 18 day stay. But his sight was greatly diminished.
When attending a basketball game in Fort Jones in 1946, Ed renewed his acquaintance with Harriet Roff and on July 18, 1947 they were married. Son, Ron, was born first with daughter, Kathy, following. The family lived in Etna and then Finley Camp over in Salmon River country, while Ed continued to work for timber companies. Then he operated a service station in Etna; and while working maintenance at Etna High School he received a phone call from Cal Trans and was hired to work out of the Etna Yard. After 20 years, Ed was able to retire.
Unfortunately, at age 89, Ed is legally blind as his good eye ended-up with macular degenerative disease. But, he can see shadows and images, so he still mows the lawn in front of their Etna home.
For the ride in the Etna Veterans Parade, Ed and Harriet will be joined by son, Ron, who is a Vietnam veteran, daughter Kathy Durett, granddaughter Darci Chesnick, with great grandsons Jace, Travis and Tristan. Be sure to wave and say “thank you” to our grand marshal and all veterans and soldiers during, and after, the Etna Veterans’ Day Parade.
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