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WWII veteran Harold Fabricius turns 90

Northern Wyoming Daily News - 8/17/2017

WORLAND - Sunday, World War II veteran and longtime Worland resident Harold Fabricius celebrated his 90th birthday feeling strong.

"I feel good and get along very well," Fabricius stated.

Fabricius was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, to Jacob and Christine Fabricius and joined one brother and three sisters.

At the age of 17 he decided to join the military, serving from 1944 ? 1947 as a Navy Seabee, based on half a dozen different islands in the South Pacific, while his brother served in the European Theater. "I went into the service at the age of 17, at that time you could go in the service at that age, I don't know if that still holds true or not, of course that was with parents' consent. I knew that I would probably be drafted so I wanted to pick the branch of service that I wanted to go into," Fabricius said.

According to the navy.mil website, "In December 1941, with an eye on the developing storm clouds across both oceans, Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the Navy'sBureau of Yards and Docks, recommended establishing Naval Construction Battalions. With the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entrance into the war, he was given the go-ahead. The earliest Seabees were recruited from the civilian construction trades and were placed under the leadership of the Navy'sCivil Engineer Corps. Because of the emphasis on experience and skill rather than on physical standards, the average age of Seabees during the early days of the war was 37.

"More than 325,000 men served with the Seabees in World War II, fighting and building on six continents and more than 300 islands. In the Pacific, where most of the construction work was needed, the Seabees landed soon after the Marines and built major airstrips, bridges, roads, warehouses, hospitals, gasoline storage tanks and housing."

After the war, Fabricius moved to Worland to work with the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resource Division. "It was a good job, I suppose that it was fulfilling and so forth. Total time, service time and the time with U.S.G.S I had 38 years," Fabricius said.

In the early 1950s, Fabricius met his wife Irene through the St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Worland, of which they were both members and he is still a member of to this day. Irene passed away in 2002. Together the couple had five children, two boys and three girls. Their children gave them nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Having lived in Worland for so many years Fabricius has seen Worland rise and fall with the economy. "There have been so many changes, I guess. It's been a bust and boom economy for many years and right now we are probably at a very low point in the economy. The effects of the economy have really affected this city which is obvious in the main street and also the amount of homes for sale in town. But, Worland has always been resilient so we will come back. When I came here in '49 it was booming, and of course, that boom left and there have been different booms that have benefited the city which have left their effects and so forth," Fabricius said. "It's been a good life here in Worland, I've appreciated being able to live here in Worland," he added.

When asked what he felt was the reason for his longevity he said, "My mother had longevity in her life [lived to be 101]. When you look how hard they had to work and so forth, we never really wanted for everything as far as food or any want in life but I attributed it to the good genes passed on through the family."

 
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