Lester Fremont Eldredge was born February 7, 1909 in Old Lyme, Connecticut, to Willard Holt Eldredge and his wife Olive May (Lougee) Eldredge. The second-born son, he joined his brother Howard Willard – two years older. A sister who lived only a short time – Hazel Irene in 1910, the three more brothers – Walter in January 1912, Lewis in September 1912 and Charles in 1914.
He grew up between New London and Waterford Connecticut, marrying Mildred Roach in New London, CT in 1930, some time before April as the census lists them as married then.
A son joined them in June of 1930 – Lester Fremont Jr., followed by Louis Willard in 1932, Mildred Helen in 1933, twins Jean & Jane in 1934, Howard Lee in 1936, my father, Charles Sherwood in 1938, Hazel Agnes in 1940 and Dorothy May in 1942.
In 1940 he is listed as a ‘roofer’ and he and Mildred and eight of their children all live with his parents and his brother Charles in East Lyme, New London, CT.
In 1942 at some point after Dorothy’s birth, Mildred was removed from the home for “drunkenness & abuse”. The children were put in Connecticut State Foster care some time between 1942 and 1944.
On July 13, 1944, Lester enlisted in the Army to serve in World War II. Honorably discharged in December 1951.
Army Discharge Papers
While in the Army, he was gifted with the tradition of the Domain of the Golden Dragon for crossing the 180 Meridian.
He then enlisted in the Air Force – over and over again. His final discharge was in 1974.
He completed Quartermaster School in 1959.
He got his elementary school diploma while stationed in Wyoming in 1960, then his GED a few months after.
After he divorced Mildred – he married someone and it lasted six months – I haven’t found that marriage yet, but Mom & Dad knew about it.
He married Polly – I don’t have her maiden name – but her SSDI says she was born 15 June 1904 in California. She died in Onondaga, NY of a heart attack in September 1969. I remember Polly vaguely – mostly that she made beautiful Barbie doll clothes for my dolls by using newspaper patterns.
Lester married Anna Lee Hoggat on May 16, 1970 in Carson City, NV. Nana Anna was a beautiful lady who stayed with him until his death October 10, 1991 in Sutter, California.
My dad was the first of Lester’s children to graduate from college. I was very lucky to have Grampa Les attend my first college graduation in 1990 when I got my Associates Degree from Newbury College.
He was also very involved in the Masons – a member of the Shriners. I believe he received his 33rd degree in the Masonic Temple.
I never met Mildred, but I did get to know Grampa Les as a man who was proud of his children and grandchildren and found love with a good woman after many years of struggle.