Charles Horton Yocum
MAJ in 23rd Headquarters Co
Born 1906 in NY, Died 1981
Other residence(s): East Orange, NJ; Bloomfield, NJ; Hasbrouck Heights, NJ; Westport, MA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: Engineer
College education before the war: Princeton 4 years
Charlie Yocum was born on July 13, 1906 in Deposit, NY, a village outside Binghamton, near the Pennsylvania border. He was an only child; his father, a chemist and a veteran of the Spanish-American War, had committed suicide a few months before Charlie was born. (His paternal grandfather had been a Congressman from Pennsylvania and later mayor of Johnston City, TN. The family had been in Pennsylvania since before the American Revolution.)
Charlie and his mother eventually moved in with his Irish grandmother in East Orange, NJ, and his mother found work as a railway clerk. He graduated from East Orange High School and went on to study at Princeton, where he was known as "Chuck." Sadly, his mother died during his freshman year there, leaving Charlie an orphan at 17.
Charlie was due to graduate from Princeton in 1926 but left school for an unknown reason that February. He eventually returned and finished up his coursework to receive his BS in physics in 1927. His yearbook drew attention to two qualities that must have been unusual at Princeton at the time: "He is a Catholic and a Democrat." It also said that he would "probably engage in the business of gas engine maintenance."
He found work as an engineer with Weston Electric Instrument Corp. in New York City, and in 1930 married Ann "Nan" Lawless. They would go on to have four children in the next nine years: Anne, Lucia, Charles Horton Jr., and Mary.
By 1940 the family was living in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. Charlie had joined the National Guard in 1937, and worked his way up to the rank of SGT by 1940. His National Guard unit, Essex Troop, was called to active duty and he enlisted on January 6, 1941 with the rank of 1LT. He was promoted to CPT of the 102nd Engineer Regiment in June of 1942 and achieved the rank of MAJ in 1943.
At some point he was assigned to the 23rd Headquarters Company as the Signal Officer. He was one of a group of seven officers from the Ghost Army who formed an advance party, flying to England on April 10, 1944.
He remained with the unit until it disbanded at Pine Camp in the fall of 1945. He had a 30 day leave at home in July/August, and arrived home for good in October, finally earning his discharge on January 4, 1946.
He returned to his work at Weston Electric and became active in Girl and Boy Scouting, in his Corpus Christi parish, and as a member of the Board of Education in Hasbrouck Heights. He resigned from the latter position when, in 1959, he took a job as chief engineer at Cornell Dubilier Electronics, a capacitor manufacturer based in New Bedford, MA. The Yocums' two oldest daughters had married in a double wedding in 1956; his youngest child was 20 years old; so Charlie and Nan may have moved to Westport, MA on their own in 1960. There he became active in the Knights of Columbus and won a Marian Medal for his service to his Catholic parish.
Charlie died on June 21, 1981 in Fall River, MA and is buried at Beech Grove Cemetery in Westport, MA.
1927 Princeton yearbook (see below)
1927 page from Princeton yearbook
1930 NJ marriage index
1942 article in the Bergen Evening Record (NJ) re his promotion to captain
1943 US Select Military Registers
1945 article in the Bergen Evening Record (NJ) re his military discharge
1945 Official History of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops by Fred Fox
1948 article in the Bergen Evening Record (NJ) about his Girl Scout work
1956 article in the Herald-News (Passaic, NJ) about his daughters' weddings
1959 article in the Herald-News (Passaic, NJ) re his career and volunteer work
1981 death notice in Hackensack Record (NJ)
1981 Find a Grave record
1981 VA death record
1981 Social Security death index
1981 Obituary from Princeton Alumni Association