Edgar Perry York

1919 - 2007

Coast Guard

Their Story

Edgar Perry York was born in Davenport, IA, to Robert and Vera York on November 8, 1919.1 According to 1920 United States Census data, he had three older siblings: Bernadine, Gordon, and Robert.2 His father worked as a machinist and his mother worked as a cook during his life. However, York’s father is absent in the 1930 US Census data. It is unknown if he died or left the family.3 York went to Davenport schools, one of which being Taylor School when he was 11 years old.4 His family went to Zion Lutheran Church where York was also the Vice President for the Zion Forest Rangers Boys’ Club, at least for the year of 1934.5 In 1937, when he was 18, he was arrested and put in jail for 10 days for failing to pay a fine for disorderly conduct. He and some friends were suspiciously looking through parked vehicles.6 According to newspapers, he may also have been involved in 4-H.7

York registered for the draft on July 1, 1941, when he was 21 years old.8 His actual enlistment date is disputed between different sources, but he was sworn into service with the Coast Guard on November 27, 1942.9 Again according to newspaper records, he entered the Navy on January 24, 1943. During his naval service, was stationed in Puerto Rico for a few months. Like his enlistment date, his discharge date is also disputed but we can assume that it was between 1945 and 1946.

Before his military service, York married Rosabelle Bain on June 13, 1942.10 However, after the War, she filed for divorce in 1945 due to claims of cruelty from York.11 This divorce was granted on February 13, 1946.12 Interestingly, he married again to Clara Wood on February 22, 1947.13 She divorced him in July of 1951 again on the basis of cruelty.14 According to a newspaper from 1952, he applied for a marriage license with Ruth Gellerstaedt.15 It is unknown if they married officially.

During these tumultuous years with marriages and divorces, York worked at the Hoover Company from the time he was discharged to 1947. He then began working as a material handler at the Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric Company.16 York retired from this job in the 1960’s. He also married Evelyn Scherer on August 24, 1967. From this marriage, he gained three stepchildren: Richard, Carol, and Barbara. Evelyn worked as a florist at Teske Garden Center.17 In 1971, they became members of the Rock Island Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, which is an organization affiliated with the Masons.18

Edgar York died on March 11, 2007, and at the time of his death, he had 9 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.19 His legacy has some stains with accusations of cruelty from two marriages. However, we can still honor his service during World War II. Whether he was drafted or if he enlisted, he served the United States at one of its most challenging periods in history, and that is worthy of respect.


1 Edgar Perry York’s memorial page – Honor Veterans Legacies at VLM (va.gov); Iowa, U.S., World War II Bonus Case Files, 1947-1954 – Ancestry.com; Ancestry.com – 1940 United States Federal Census; Ancestry.com – Iowa, U.S., State Census Collection, 1836-1925

2 Ancestry.com – 1920 United States Federal Census

3 Ancestry.com – 1930 United States Federal Census

4 17 Mar 1931, 15 – Quad-City Times at Newspapers.com; 03 Feb 1944, 10 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

5 17 Jan 1934, 4 – Quad-City Times at Newspapers.com

6 27 Sep 1937, 17 – Quad-City Times at Newspapers.com

7 13 Aug 1940, 21 – Iowa City Press-Citizen at Newspapers.com

8 U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 – Ancestry.com; 18 Jul 1941, 13 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

9 29 Nov 1942, 4 – Quad-City Times at Newspapers.com

10 16 Jun 1942, 8 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

11 14 May 1945, 4 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

12 13 Feb 1946, 6 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

13 22 Feb 1947, 6 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

14 13 Jul 1951, 11 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

15 02 Feb 1952, 14 – The Rock Island Argus at Newspapers.com

16 09 Aug 1958, 2 – Quad-City Times at Newspapers.com

17 Evelyn D York (1920-2018) – Find a Grave Memorial

18 08 Feb 1971, 10 – The Rock Island Argus at Newspapers.com

19 Edgar Perry York (1919-2007) – Find a Grave Memorial; Edgar Perry York – Facts (ancestry.com)