18 local women served during World War II 

Published 6:51 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

A Danville woman, who served in the U.S.Navy, was among 18 young women from Boyle County who joined the armed forces during World War II.

Eleanor Wood Powell was also one of three members in her family to serve in the military during WW II.

Born July 16, 1922, in Danville, she was a daughter of Frank M. and Mary Elizabeth Steele Powell. She graduated from Danville High School in 1940. Later she was a supervisor at the Danville employment office.

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Eleanor enlisted in the Navy’s WAVES on Dec. 31, 1944, in Cincinnati. She joined her father Captain Frank M. Powell, who served in both world wars, and Lieutenant Bennington Steel Powell, who was in WW II.

She planned to continue her education in the field of medical technology and expected to advance rapidly because of her two-year background at University of Kentucky.

She completed the regular indoctrination period of 30 days at Hunter College in Bronx, New York, before being stationed in a Navy hospital base.

Eleanor attained the rank of Pharmacist’s Mate 3-C before she was discharged from service with the women’s branch of the Navy and returned home in June 1946.

She was first assigned to special duties at Naval Air Station, North Carolina, where she studied malarial control. She also spent time in a Jacksonville, Florida naval base.

Eleanor planned to resume her studies at UK as a laboratory technician and pursue courses to which her work with the WAVES led.

Eleanor and Louis Farmer were married in April 1946 in the local Catholic Rectory on Main Street. Louis was the son of Eleanor Farmer of Danville and Thomas A. Farmer of Somerset. He attended UK before joining the Army.

Eleanor was married a second time to Dan MacDonald.

Eleanor attended First Christian Church and sang in the choir for more than 70 years. She also volunteered for the American Red Cross bloodmobile and was a blood donor.

Eleanor died May 4, 2013, at the age of 90.




Boyle salutes 18 WAVES for military service


Editor’s note: The U.S.Naval Reserve (Women’s Reserve), known as WAVES (for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), was the women’s branch of the Naval Reserve during World War II. It was established July 21, 1942, by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 30. This authorized the Navy to accept women into the Naval Reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, effective for the duration of the war plus six months. The law was to release officers and men for sea duty and replace them with women in shore establishments.



Contributing writer

Eighteen Boyle County women were saluted in August 1944 for their service in the U. S. Navy WAVES during World War II.

Danville Navy mothers of the women hosted a celebration on the second anniversary for their service and “with the idea of helping bring World War II to a speedy close. Being so young, the end of the war vitally concerns them and their future living.”

“The local WAVES have the extreme satisfaction of knowing they contributed their youth, their time, energies and abilities toward meeting this, the greatest emergency in the history of the United States.

“From their participation in this war, a new type of womanhood will emerge. They will be more independent, more resourceful; they will also be more interested in helping to create better lives, and in safeguarding the peace they helped to win.

A second salute to the WAVES was also offered by Boyle County, Kentucky, Club No. 532 of the Navy Mothers Clubs.

Mrs. L.C. Dunn, mother of WAVE Virginia Dunn, and Lewis Dunn, also in the Navy, saluted both her children.

“You along with all the women in the service and our fighting men are responsible for keeping the wheels of industry rolling in America today, and preventing our witnessing ‘bombs bursting in air’ and destruction all around us,” said Mrs. J.L. Ewing, commander of the local Navy Mothers Club.

“We wish to commend each of you. On the home front we continue to work and pray that the enemy has ‘had his day’ and that ‘a new day may dawn for us all.’”

The WAVES recognized are: Virginia Dunn, Pauline Gladys Dexter, Stella Lamb Sparks, Sara Elizabeth Dean, Eleanor Wood Powell, Margaret Donkey Hogue, Goldie Lee Gilbert, Merle Rose Novel Katherine Wray, Hazel Elswick, Artie Vaughetta Smith, Elizabeth Lococo and Nellie Hogue Swigart, all of Danville; Hazel Frances Garner, Linin Kidd Howard, all of Boyle County; Naomi Frances Garrison, Junction City; Mildred Hill Barker, Perryville; and Gertrude Westerfield, Parksville.