Robert "Bob" LeMasters is celebrating his 92nd birthday today.
He was born on Dec. 21, 1920 to Harvey and Mable LeMasters. He had an older sister, Florence, who was 10 years his senior.
Bob attended St. Louis public schools. Although he was excused one day to participate in volunteer public service, he was docked a day absent from school, preventing him from earning a perfect attendance award for his 12 years something that still bothers him after all these years.
With the threat of U.S. involvement in World War II, Bob joined the Navy, where he attained the rank of first gunner's mate on the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Portland. The ship and crew were stationed at Pearl Harbor. They were two days out of port when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He and his shipmates saw action at the battles of Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz Islands, Marshall Islands and more.
A highlight of his time in service was spent in Australia, while his torpedo-damaged ship underwent repairs.
Bob's naval service ended with a pulmonary infection, leading to a stint in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital.
It was while in Philadelphia he me and eventually married "the love of his life," Elizabeth "Betty" Sourber. They were married on Groundhog's Day in 1946 and moved back to her hometown of Tamaqua, where Bob joined his father-in-law in the family business Sourber's Jewelry Store. He assumed ownership of the business around 1970.
Bob says he is proud of his long service and many friends he made as a member of the Tamaqua Lion's Club.
Betty and Bob raised three sons, two of whom pursued professional degrees. To assist in paying their tuition, they worked at the gift shop at Heisler's Dairy Bar as well as working in the jewelry store.
Betty passed away in 2008, after 62 years of marriage.
Bob has four grandchildren: Tommy, Meredith, Kelly and Billy. He has three great-grandchildren: Jane, Stella and Adelynn.