Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Mary Louise (Porter) Nichols, 92, was born September 16, 1920 in Battle Creek, Michigan to George Harold and Velma Jane (Kenyon) Porter.
Her siblings consisted of two brothers - Robert Charles Porter (Born on the 4th of July) and Marvin Lawrence Porter - and one adopted sister, Jane Eigenbrode Porter. Her brothers have preceded her in death.
Mary Lou went to school in Battle Creek and graduated in 1938. She furthered her education by attending a local Vocational School where she took a Secretarial Course. She excelled in typewriting at 92 words per minute.
In order to increase her shorthand skills, she listened to Jimmy Fiddler on the radio and would take down his program in shorthand. He talked very fast!
The second semester began on-the-job training. She went to work for a patent attorney. When she asked for a raise after six weeks, and she gave a $1.00, and moved on with the teacher’s (Mrs. Schemerhorn) approval.
Receiving a call to fill in during a vacation for five lawyers for a two-week period turned into nine and a half years.
While out to lunch one day she saw an advertisement to “Join the Service.” She went to the recruiting office and signed up to become a member of the United States Coast Guard on January 15, 1944. Mary Lou was stationed at the Coast Guard Training Station in Palm Beach, Florida.
Her most memorable experience was being part of ship’s company -- great officers and training new bootees as they arrived.
One day she was called into the office of Captain Keaster. Mary Lou had applied to go to Cooks and Bakers School. His question was “Why are you going to Cooks and Bakers School as a candidate with recommendations such as these?”
He was holding letters of recommendation which he had received from the group of lawyers where she had previously been employed. She became a Yeoman 3rd Class (Same thing as a secretary). It was her duty to refresh enlistees that had secretary potential in typing and shorthand to replace men in the fighting line.