Date of Interview
Pat Ethier was born 30 March 1923 in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1941 she graduated from St. Paul Monroe High School, and then went to work as an optics engraver for Buckbee Mears Co. In July 1943 Pat volunteered for service in the US Navy WAVES and, after Basic Training at Hunter College in New York City, went to Lakewood, New Jersey, to be trained as an aerographer, or weather observer. This school ended in December 1943, and Pat was then stationed at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego, California, where she remained until being discharged in May 1945 as an aerographers mate second class. In January 1945, while still a WAVE, Pat married Orville Ethier of St. Paul, then serving with the US Navy in California. Pat lived briefly in Florida, while Orv was stationed there at Mayport Naval Air Station, but by the end of 1945 Orv had been discharged and the couple had returned to St. Paul, where they remained. Pat raised two children and was a homemaker until 1964, when she took a job at the St. Paul Public Library. She also graduated from Metro State University, St. Paul, in 1973, but remained at the library until retiring in 1986. During this interview, Pat talks clearly and at some length about the varied experiences of a woman in uniform, and about challenges (especially the shortage of housing) with the transition from wartime to peacetime economy after 1945. Pat Ethier died on 11 July 2008.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without the written permission of Concordia University Library or Thomas Saylor, Department of History, Concordia University, St. Paul.
Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Pat Ethier" (2001). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 109.