Aaron & Kathryn Lorraine (Smith) Bass
about ages 25 & 8
Photos courtesy of Beulah Mosley Smith
Mother: Beulah Mosley Smith
Kathryn Lorraine SMITH was born at Mt. Pleasant, Chester, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Joel Clemons and Beulah (Mosley) Smith Sr. . She married Aaron Charles BASS at Wayne, Delaware, Pennsylvania. He was born at Jackson, Madison, Tennessee, the son of Charlie Ulysses and Mayflower (Spencer) BASS.
Lucille was named "Kathryn" after her godmother, Kathryn White. She attended Cheney State in Pennsylvania, receiving a BS in Education. After graduation she learned of a position available in North Carolina at an educational center (grammar and high schools), founded by the famous George Eastman of Kodak fame. A teacherage (living accomodations) came with the job, which, according to Lorraine, made it sound "soooo" attractive.
She accepted a position sight unseen and traveled to Enfield, Halifax County, NC to teach the upper grades. She found a couple of clapboard houses, no water and chamber pots. It was too late to turn back she had spent all the money allocated for travel on a one way train ticket. She found that the male teachers lived downstairs and the ladies above. The shy lady teachers would put their chamber pots on a pillow so the men downstairs wouldn't hear.
Lorraine, suffered terribly from an auto accident she was involved in near Richmond, Va. at age 21 which fractured her skull and injuried her right side. She was unconscious for a month. When she awoke in the Hospital, she could speak only the French she had studied for 3 years in High School! Later, Lorraine, moved back to Pa where she spent the balance of her teaching career.
Aaron Bass was a private pilot prior to WW II, flying Piper Cub type light aircraft. His father was an electrical worker which influenced his son's choice of career. Aaron was trained at Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama and was a member of ROTC there. During World War II, he was called to active duty.
The usual expectation for a college-trained person was a commission to Lieutenant at the end of basic training. But Fort Benning, Ga., at that time, had too many ROTC graduates for the limited number of slots available to colored men. He had had a hint of what was to come and attempted to enlist in the Air Force before a decision was made about his commission. The Army shipped him to Texas a week prior to his interview with the Air Force. He was told the Army did him a "favor" by giving him Corporal's stripes, telling him to be happy as he wouldn't have any KP duties to perform!
Aaron retired after working as an aeronautical electrical engineer with U.S. Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, Bucks County, Pa. He specialized in aeronautical electronics, research and development, with emphasis on stress levels on electronics systems in Naval aircraft.
After spending 36 years with the Navy, 26 of it in the environmental lab, which he headed, he became a troubleshooter for private industry.
1. Aaron Charles BASS
2. Laurent Shawn BASS.
Sources and notes: Interview with Lorraine Smith Bass, 9/5/97, at her home at Lamott, Pa.
Birth and marriage dates deleted.
Lorraine Bass, 99, retired teacher; son says crash at 21 led to language oddity
Lorraine attended Cheney State in Pennsylvania, receiving a BS in Education. Shortly thereafter she learned of a position available in North Carolina at an educational center (grammar and high schools) founded by the famous George Eastman of Kodak fame. A teacherage (living accomodations) came with the job, which made it sound, she says, "soooo" attractive. She accepted a position from afar and traveled to Enfield, Halifax County, NC to teach the upper grades.
Arriving in N.C., Lorraine found a couple of clapboard houses, no water and chamber pots. It was too late to turn back--she had enough money for a one-way train ticket to N.C.
The male teachers lived downstairs and the ladies above. Lorraine says the girls would put their chamber pots on a pillow so the men downstairs wouldn't hear anything.
Lorraine suffered terribly from an auto accident she was involved in near Richmond, Va at age 21. She received a fractured skull and other injuries to her right side. She was unconscious for a month. When she awoke in the hospital, she could speak only French! She had studied it for 3 years in high school.
by Valerie Russ, Staff Writer
LORRAINE SMITH BASS, 99, a teacher, artist, pianist, and community activist in LaMott, Cheltenham Township, died Wednesday, Aug. 24, at a retirement home in Montgomery County, her family said.
Mrs. Bass was born on July 26, 1917, in Wayne, the first of two children of Joel C. Smith and Beulah Mosley Smith. She was predeceased by her brother, Joel C. Smith Jr.
Mrs. Bass graduated second in her high school class at age 16, said son Aaron Jr. She went on to Cheyney University, where she graduated first in her class, he said.
Bass said his mother made medical history before her children were born, when she was in a car accident in Richmond, Va., at age 21. She fractured her skull and was unconscious for a month.
"When she awoke, she was speaking fluent French," he said. His mother had taken French for three years while in high school but had not been fluent before the accident. He said the hospital brought in a translator to communicate with her. Officials also documented her sudden French fluency in medical reports, Bass said.
Her fluency in French lasted only a few weeks, her son said, and she returned to speaking English.
Mrs. Bass began a teaching career in Halifax County, N.C., but conditions in the South caused her to return to the Philadelphia area, where she taught in the city's public schools.
For 58 years, until his death in 2008, she was married to Aaron Bass Sr., an aeronautical engineer and a Tuskegee Airman, whom she met while he was on leave during World War II.
They were married in 1949 and had two sons, Aaron Jr. and Laurent.
Aaron Bass Jr. said his mother also was a talented artist, whose watercolor painting hung in her room at the Hill at Whitemarsh assisted-living community.
"She was very vibrant," he said. "She did all kinds of artwork."
She also sewed and crocheted, and at one time made her own clothing, her son said. "We used to have labels made in her name to go in the back of her clothes," Bass said.
Bass said his mother was an accomplished pianist who performed for Sunday schools at a number of churches over the years, most recently Trinity United Methodist Church in Germantown.
Although his mother was only 5 feet tall and he, his brother, and father were all about 6 feet tall, "we all listened to her," Bass said.
"She would have such wisdom," he said. "If you went to her asking her advice about a situation, she was able to analyze things and tell you how to handle it almost as if she had been in the room" when the conflict occurred.
He said Mrs. Bass also was a strong community activist who could change injustice.
"We used to live in the LaMott area of Elkins Park and after the township renovated the LaMott Community Center, they made it available to all these different sports clubs and organizations and everybody but the community," Bass said.
He said his mother organized with other parents and went to a township meeting to present her case "very calmly, very to the point, with no yelling and screaming."
"And within a matter of days, that week the community center was open to our community," said Bass, adding that he was a teenager at the time.
He said his mother also advocated for him at Cheltenham High School in the late 1960s when counselors imposed a business curriculum for him, rather than an academic schedule that would prepare him for college.
"They weren't trying to prepare the black students to go to college," he said. "My mother went to the school and said I would be taking a full academic schedule."
Aaron Bass Jr. went on to Lincoln University and, after graduating, received a full academic scholarship to Temple University, earning a master's degree in social psychology. He became a data analyst. His younger brother, Laurent, graduated from Temple University and earned a master's degree in education from Harvard University.
Funeral services for Mrs. Bass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at First Presbyterian Church, 35 W. Chelten Ave., Philadelphia 19144,where friends may call at 10 a.m. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Roslyn. Afterward, the family will host a repast in Longstreth Hall at the church.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the church at the address above.
Aaron Bass, 87, aeronautical engineer
April 18, 2008
By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Aaron C. Bass, 87, a retired aeronautical engineer formerly of LaMott, Cheltenham Township, died of cancer Sunday at the Hill at Whitemarsh.
Mr. Bass grew up in Jackson, Tenn. While earning a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he joined the ROTC and received flight training with the Tuskegee Airmen. He learned to fly Piper Cub planes and hoped to serve with the Tuskegee Airmen in combat during World War II, his son Aaron Jr. said. Instead the Army assigned him to a signal battalion, and he used his engineering skills to build signal lines in France, Belgium and Germany.
After his discharge, Mr. Bass worked at a naval aircraft factory in Philadelphia. He then was an engineer with the Naval Air Development Center in Warminster and for 26 years managed the center's environment lab, testing high-altitude equipment for planes and satellites. After retiring in 1979, he consulted for private industry.
Since 1949, Mr. Bass had been married to Lorraine Smith Bass, whom he had met in Philadelphia while on leave from the Army. The couple raised a family in LaMott.
Mr. Bass was past president of the LaMott Community Center, a member of the Cheltenham school board's citizen advisory committee, chairman of health and safety for the Tookany District of the Boy Scouts of America Valley Forge Council, chairman of the Cheltenham High School Band Boosters, a Cheltenham Township auxiliary policeman, a member of the Cheltenham Historical Commission, and past chairman of the Cheltenham Historical Review Board.
A baseball enthusiast, Mr. Bass managed a championship all-star team for the Old York Road Little League, and in the early 1950s built a television so his neighbors could watch the World Series. He enjoyed golf and often won tournaments, his son said.
At Trinity United Methodist Church in Germantown, Mr. Bass sang bass in the choir, taught Sunday school, and served on committees.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by a another son, Laurent; two sisters; five grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 W. Chelten Ave., where friends may call after 9 a.m. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Roslyn.
Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or email@example.com.
Additional info --
Aaron was a member of ROTC at Tuskegee. During WW II, he had to go active. Thee normal expectation was for him to receive a commission to Lieutenant at the end of basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. There were too many ROTC men graduating at the time. He had a hint of what was to come and attempted to enlist in the Air Force. The Army shipped him to Texas a week prior to his interview with the Air Force. They did him a "favor" by giving him Corporal's stripes, telling him, in effect, to be happy as he wouldn't have any KP duties to perform!
Aaron was a retired aeronautical electrical engineer, US Gov't Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, Bucks Co., PA. Specialized in aeronautical electronics research and development with emphasis on stress levels on the electronics in US Naval aircraft. Aaron spent 36 years with the Navy, 26 of it in the environmental lab, which he headed. After retirement he became a troubleshooter for private industry
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