Harrisville man’s WWII letters inspire daughter to write his story

“Everything is fine with me ... A ‘Big Red’ soldier chronicles his survival in WWII” Provided photo

HARRISVILLE — Checking off an item on her bucket list, a daughter has recounted her father’s experience in World War II, utilizing letters he wrote home.

Harrisville Free Library, 8209 Main St., will host a book signing for the author, Trinda Hirshey Bishop, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Refreshments will be served.

Mrs. Bishop, the daughter of Ralph V. and Pearl Hirshey Farney, transcribed about 250 of her father’s letters written during his 36 months in the European Theater for the book “Everything is fine with me ... A ‘Big Red’ soldier chronicles his survival in WWII.”

“I had remembered these letters were always on the top shelves of various homes and I had always wondered what was in them,” said the author. “I was motivated to get them chronologically sorted, which eventually led to beginning to transcribe the letters in a loose format. You can say it was on my bucket list.”

Mr. Hirschey, 1937 Lowville Academy graduate, served from March 21, 1941, until his return home Sept. 17, 1945. He was in the Army’s First Infantry Division, 26th Regiment, and survived every battle he was in, including major ones in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy (Omaha Beach) and the Battle of the Bulge according to his daughter.

After the war he worked in the parts department at Farney Motors in Croghan and later moved to Harrisville and opened Hirschey’s Motor Sales in 1947, a Ford dealership, until his retirement.

Through Mr. Hirschey’s letters, the reader has a first-hand account of his service from boot camp to the battlefield. In addition the author tells of home life in Northern New York at the time, including the songs people liked to sing, community dances, farm life and cuisine.

Steve Marsh, an award-winning writer/editor and experienced novelist, added historical significance to the book.

“Steve was recommended to me because of his interest in WWII,” Mrs. Bishop said. “He embellished the historical information when Ralph couldn’t provide any detail as to where he was — just the date and ‘somewhere in France’ for example.”

As a daughter, Mrs. Bishop said it was agonizing to realize the “extreme difficulties (her father) endured ... to realize this horrific part of my father’s life that I never knew.” It was also a challenge, she said, to transcribe the “letters with his flowing handwriting.”

Mrs. Bishop, a 1965 Harrisville Central School graduate, attended First Mennonite Church, New Bremen, until leaving the area to continue her education at Goshen College followed by a graduate degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo. The former public schools teacher currently resides in Greenwood Village, Colo., with her husband of 49 years.

The book is available through Amazon and will be for sale at the book signing. Paperbacks are $19.99 and hardcovers are $29.99 Cash or checks will be accepted.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(1) comment

UnclePoncho

Also available as an E book on Amazon. Just purchased for an iPad.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.