|Wilburn Glenwood "Hap" Vincent
b. 28 Jul 1919 Talladega, Talladega, Alabama, United States
m. 15 Oct 1940 Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama, United States
Doris Virginia Warren
d. 5 Jan 1993 Fairfield, Jefferson, Alabama, United States of accute myocardial infarction
3 Children: Rick, Larry, Ron
14 Grandchildren, 40+ great-grandchildren (as of 2013)
Military: U.S. Navy WWII (in both the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific)
Education: 2 years of college
Career: U.S. steel 1941~1976, supervisor
Hap Vincent was given the name "Wilburn" after his great-uncle Wilbourn Vincent who was killed by a falling tree limb while riding a horse. As a child, he was always happy, hence the nickname, "Hap." His career was as a steel worker but the most important thing in his life was his family. Hap began at U.S. Steel, then called the Tennessee, Coal, and Iron Company, during WWII. Because he was a steel worker, he was draft deferred until he led a wildcat strike. Such union activities were frowned upon during the war years. His draft deferment was cancelled.
Rather than be drafted into the Army, he chose to enlist in the U.S. Navy and served as regular Navy, a gunner's mate, in defense of the Merchant Marine. These were merchant ships used to transport war materials to Europe. They were affixed with deck guns to defend against German submarines. As such they were basically sitting ducks waiting for the first sub in their path to sink them. Many of these ships were sunk and the crew lost at sea.
Hap didn't have enough "points" to be discharged when VE Day was declared. He was sent to the Pacific. Upon his discharge after VJ Day, he returned to his job at U.S. steel as a millright. He was eventually promoted to foreman. Click HERE for a November 1966 photo of Hap and his fellow supervisors at U.S. Steel and HERE for the names of those in the photo. Hap is seated in the first row, 3rd from the Right.
He had few hobbies but loved to travel. He visited Europe, Hawaii, Canada, most of the U.S.A., and loved Mexico. He visited Mexico more than a dozen times during his lifetime. He made his first trip there in 1956 in 2 weeks from Alabama to Mexico City and back with his wife, sister, 3 children, luggage, and some groceries, packed in a 1955 Ford. He couldn't speak a word of Spanish but later became fluent in the language.
Here's a photo of both families on that vacation (HERE). Another vacation photo of Hap's sons, nephew, and niece with some native children (HERE). A final 1956 photo (HERE) of two of Hap's sons in front of the Pyramid of the Sun in the ancient Aztec city just outside Mexico City (thanks to cousin Judy for providing the photos).
Hap had a diligent work ethic. He helped build his father's log home when he was 17. Click HERE for a photo. He built his on home in 1950 from the ground up by cutting timber from 2 acres of land and exchanging it for seasoned lumber. He dug the footing, the septic tank, and field lines by hand with a pick and shovel in soil so hard you could see sparks fly with each stroke. All the construction was done by himself, with help from his brother-in-law, John Farris, except for the cabinetry which his brother Sam Vincent built.
At his death he left behind numerous family and friends who loved him dearly and remember him with fondness decades later. For more about Hap's life with his wife and children, click the link to his wife Doris Virginia Warren. June 29th, 2013, 3 of Hap's grandsons and a great-grandson visited the Vincent graves in Bessemer, Alabama. Click HERE for a photo. -Ron.V
Follow the hyperlinks on this page for Hap's wife Doris and other info on Hap's family.
For more photos of Hap Vincent, click the following links:
Family Pedigree written about 1943 by Hap Vincent
If you would like to hear Hap's voice CLICK HERE for an audio interview by me on New Year's Day, 1979.