Harold Lester Fiala, Jr.

1924 - 1992


Their Story

Harold Lester Fiala, Jr. was born on September 7, 1924, in Garwin, Iowa, to Harold Sr. and Edna Fiala.[1] Harold Jr was a talented athlete growing up in Waterloo. He followed his father’s example of military service (Harold Sr. served in WWI) by answering the call to serve his country during World War II.

At Waterloo West high school, Harold was a three-sport athlete.[2] He earned multiple varsity letters participating in football, basketball, and track, while carrying high scholastic “A” average grades. In a Waterloo Daily Courier newspaper poll, he was voted “Most Valuable” senior male athlete at Waterloo West.[3] Also in his senior year, Fiala registered for the military draft shortly after his 18th birthday, in 1942.[4]

After graduating from Waterloo West High School, Fiala attended University of Iowa where he continued to participate in athletics. His efforts in track earned him a varsity letter.[5]

In March 1944, Fiala was in Clinton, Mississippi for V-12 training.[6] The purpose of the V-12 program was to meet the demanding need of officers in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Graduates were commissioned as ensigns, the majority entered into active duty with the U.S. fleet.

By July 1945, Seaman First Class Fiala was serving aboard AVK-1 USS Kitty Hawk.[7] The USS Kitty Hawk was based from Pearl Harbor and carried military cargo to the Marshall Islands, the Mariana Islands, and the Philippines.[8] After receiving news of the end of hostilities in August 1945, the USS Kitty Hawk departed Pearl Harbor in November for the East Coast. She arrived in Bayonne, New Jersey in December; visited Norfolk, Virginia, and was decommissioned at New York in January 1946.[9] In March 1946, Fiala was released from duty[10] at the Great Lakes Naval Personnel Separation Center.[11]

Upon his discharge from service, Fiala returned to Waterloo, Iowa. He married Bernice “Bunny” Wildeboer in 1951.[12] The Fiala’s had four children (whom Harold coached in various youth sports) and nine grandchildren. Harold retired in 1985 from his job as a truck driver. He was an avid fisherman and golfer and loved to cook. Fiala passed away on September 27, 1992[13] and was laid to rest at the National Cemetery at Rock Island Arsenal on October 1, 1992.[14] His wife “Bunny” pass away on April 28, 2004 and was laid to rest next to Harold at Rock Island National Cemetery.



[1] Ancestry

[2] Waterloo Daily Courier

[3] Waterloo Daily Courier

[4] Ancestry

[5] University of Iowa Yearbook Archives

[6] LaPorte City Progress-Review

[7] US Navy Muster Rolls

[8] US Navy Archives

[9] US Navy Archives

[10] Des Moines Tribune

[11] Waterloo Daily Courier

[12] Waterloo Daily Courier

[13] Waterloo Daily Courier

[14] Ancestry