Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
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Capt. George Howard Kirker
Aero Mechanics Training School
March 16, 1880 - October 21, 1918


     In this age of specialization we are apt to look awry at a
man of versitality and breadth of interest.  The man who is an
expert, efficient in one thing to the extent of regarding with
a certain contempt other life interests, is not only common, but
is generally conceded to be a success in life, and therefore one
who is to be emulated and copied.  The deeper the groove, and
narrower the sphere of activity, the more is the modern man of
affairs admired as a specialist.  It is all the more worthy of
note that the popular idol of America, Theodore Roosevelt, was
cosmopolitan in his interests.  He was a statesman, naturalist,
cowboy, historian, interested in the jungles of Africa as well
as in the teeming, throbbing life of New York City.

     George Howard Kirker took an interest in a variety of men and
things.  He belonged to the Reed Lodge of Masons, he was a member
of the Evansville Elks Lodge and the Evansville Press Club.  He was
a member of the Minneapolis Athletic Club, and always took a great
interest in athletics wherever he was located, being a member of the
Cincinnati Athletic Club, several Y.M.C.A. gymnasiums and, the
Evansville Turners.  His athletic interests included marksmanship,
and he enjoyed every kind of outdoor sport, especially swimming and
tennis.  In Cincinnati he was a member of the Central Christian
Church, and when he lived in Evansville he attended the Grace Memorial
Church.  Intellectually, as well as socially and religiously, he
created for himself a wide sphere of activity.  "He was a great
student, and the last few years before his death, while in Detroit,
he took up the study of law, advanced accounting, and higher
literature."

     This man, who developed his different capacities which make for
all-round life, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 16, 1880.  He
attended the public school at Elmwood Place, Ohio, and the Wyoming,
Ohio High School.  For his higher education he attended the Ohio
Mechanics Institute at Cincinnati, besides taking many courses in
various Y.M.C.A.'s and correspondence schools.

For a period of two years, 1902-1904, he was a non-commissioned
officer in the Ohio National Guard of Cincinnati.  He was employed
by the Putnam Hooker Co., and was transferred by them to the
Lincoln Cotton Mill Co. of Evansville, in 1904.  Here he was a
bookkeeper and assistant treasurer until December 9, 1916, when he
resigned to accept a position as accountant with the Ford Motor Co.,
in Detroit.

     His advance in Detroit was rapid, but when war was declared he
felt the call to duty, and offered his services to the government.
He was accepted and sent to Camp Upton, Long Island, N.Y., as Field
Auditor in the Construction Division, March 4, 1918.   In May he was
sent to Washington, D.C.  While stationed there he received his
captain's commission, July 19, 1918, in Quartermaster's Corps.  On
September 18, he was ordered to St. Paul, Minn., where he organized
and had complete charge of the construction and finance departments
of the Aero Mechanics' Training School.  He was quite happy in his new
work, and in one letter he said, "Everything will be in line running
order in just a few days now.  I have good, responsible men at the
head of all my departments.  One-half a million is to be placed to my
credit in the Treasury Department at Washington, and all the work
must be done within these months before the 40 degrees below sets on.

     On October 17 he was stricken with the influenza-pneumonia and
passed away at the Aviation Hospital (which he had just completed)
on October 21, 1918.  Four days later he was buried with military
honors at Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.

     His sister, Mrs. Star E. Wyman of Los Angeles, Cal.,
characterized him:
          "He was a good and noble son, and filled well his
          father's place left vacant by sudden death in 1907.
          He was very glad to be in the service of his country.
          Wherever he went he made many friends, all of whom
          regarded him as a prince among men and greatly mourn
          his loss.  He was always very kind, conscientious,
          zealous, upright and untiring in his efforts to please,
          and in the line of duty."
_____

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp. 91-92

cdmyers@wowway.com
October 25, 1998