Page was last updated on January 12, 2002
Harold Eugene Canevit was born December 26, 1921 in Canton, Illinois, the oldest son of
Winey and Iona
Harold kept a pretty busy life. He married Mary Lee Byrne, the daughter of Paul Byrne and Marjorie Vittum on June 1, 1941. They had three children together: David Eugene; Sheri Lee; and Robin Dee. They also adopted a son, Mike, who was born in Korea.
Harold was an Army veteran who retired from the service on August 31, 1963 as a Sergeant Major. He was a veteran of World War II and Korea. He was an Infantryman during WWII, and later re-classified to be an engineer during the Korean War. Although he did not like to talk much about his service during WWII (where he was in the European Theater), he did tell me several stories about the Korean War. The one that struck him the most as peculiar was a time during the Korean War where he was in charge of building a bridge over the Yalu river, which is basically going into Chinese territory. Apparently this was at a time when Gen. McArthur was still the Commander of the Allied Forces there. My Grandfather's unit came under attack, and he quickly unloaded his .45 pistol, realizing that he had nothing else to defend himself with. For a moment, he said he regretted being an engineer, because as an infantryman he would have been better equipped for the attack. The attack was repelled, the bridge was built, and the war continued. Harold served again in Korea after the war as a first sergeant of an engineer company for the 1st Cavalry Division.
After retirement from the Army, Harold worked for Dairy Queen as a supervisor for several stores in the Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama area. My mother was once an employee for him. As a child, Harold often took my brother and me to the stores, allowing us to sample a few dilly bars or peanut buster parfaits. It was a dream come true for the grandchildren!
Eventually, Harold retired from Dairy Queen, apparently set to begin a life of fishing in retirement. That did not suit him for long, and he later became employed by the Georgia Department of Corrections as a correctional officer. His wife, Mary, continued employment with Sears, working in the Accounting Department, and she would retire from there.
Harold went through several hobbies as I recall. For a time he had a ham radio base and would attempt to talk to people all over the world. He could play a variety of musical instruments which my father attributed to Harold's mother, Iona (she taught music). He was an avid fisherman, who attempted to teach my brother and me how to catch bass (the result was usually us catching a few sunfish).
Harold was an avid sports fan who introduced me to the world of baseball through the Atlanta Braves. Family outings during the Summer usually at some point had us heading to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Harold and I often spent many hours talking about the Braves (past and present) and the Atlanta Falcons.
In 1987, Mary had a heart attack, which weakened her somewhat. Harold decided that the house on Whippoorwill Lane in Columbus was too big for the two of them, and they re-located to Buena Vista, Georgia, where my father owns a plot of land. They had a large mobile home built there. One of the important features about the new home was the fact that it had a satellite dish. This was exceptional, as Harold could never miss another Braves game! He continued to rely on hobbies to pass the days, as well as the land.
Early in 1992, Harold was diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite treatments, he died on September 27, 1992 in his sleep in Buena Vista. Mary is currently living with her daughter, Sheri and son-in-law Gene Bragg in Columbus, Georgia. A family re-union was held to celebrate her 80th birthday in June 2001.
On May 5, 2001 as I was preparing to attend my graduation from college, my father gave me a ring that once belonged to my grandfather (Harold Eugene). Along with the ring came a story about where my grandfather obtained it. Apparently while serving in the middle east as a UN observer, Harold received orders to return to the U.S. On his way to the airport, and "Arab" friend gave Harold the ring because Harold once saved his life. It was supposedly the one thing the Arab had that was valuable. Harold kept it, and it passed down to his son, David, after his death.
Children of Harold Eugene and Mary Canavit
David Eugene Canevit - He married Mary "Jackie" Kiggins. They had two sons, David Scott and Craig Eugene.
Sheri Lee (Canevit) Bragg - She had one daughter, Laura Lee Greer, and one son, David Eugene Esposito. She is currently married to Gene Bragg.
Robin Dee (Canevit) Knight - She married Jay Knight. They had two children, JD and Marissa.
Mike Canevit - He married Gloria Alonzo and they had two sons, Paul Harold and Chris Godoy. He later married Patricia Ann Masters, and they had two children, David Michael and Regina Ann.
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