Gold Star Mother

Have you encountered a ‘Gold Star Mother’ in your genealogy research. Even though I’ve researched women who lost sons in battle I’ve come across my first mention of a ‘Gold Star Mother’ in an obituary.

Blanche Eva Lighter
The Rev. Lee Webb, pastor of the Grace Baptist Church, will officiate at funeral services to be conducted in the chapel of the Brusie Funeral Home Saturday at 2 p.m. for Mrs. Blanche Eva Lighter, who died at her home on Tuesday morning.
Memorial services, under the auspices of the Chico Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers, will be conducted in the chapel of the Brusie Funeral Home Friday at 7 p.m.
Interment will take place in Pine Creek Cemetery by the side of her late husband, Ray Lighter.

“Blance Eva Lighter,” The Chico Enterprise-Record (Chico, California), 8 November 1962, page 3; digital image, ( : viewed online 27 May 2021).

For Eva Lighter to be a Gold Star Mother, one of her children had to have died while serving in the military. 1930 census records for the family indicated that Eva and her husband, Ray, had three sons: Howard, Bruce and Aaron.

1930 U.S. Census, Orange County, California, population schedule, Newport Beach Township, Orange County, California, ED 30-51, Sheet 12A Image 23 of 61, family 334, Ray Lighter; digital images, ( : viewed online 27 May 2021); NARA microfilm publication T626.

Since I have death dates after 1980 for Howard Lighter and Bruce Lighter, that left Aaron Lighter as the possible person who died while serving our country. A quick search of Find a Grave, shows two records for Aaron Ralston Lighter.

The entry for Pine Creek cemetery includes a picture of a tombstone for Aaron Lighter.

While the entry for the manila American Cemetery and Memorial has links to his parents and a brother.

Knowing that Aaron Lighter was killed in action in1945, a search of newspapers for more details about his death turned up several articles. An article in the Chico Record indicates that Aaron Lighter died when the ship he was on was struck by a suicide Japanese bomber.

Aaron Ralston Lighter Killed in Mindoro Explosion Navy Says
Aaron Ralston Lighter, of Chico, seaman first class of the U.S. Naval Reserve, lost his life in January of this year during a suicide attack on his ship, the U.S.S. Lewis L. Dycke, by a Japanese plane, a navy department message to his mother revealed yesterday.
The Lewis L. Dycke was anchored in Mindoro Harbor of the Philippines, on January 4, when the attack occurred, the communication revealed.
The ship, cargoed with bombs and fuses, exploded in a manner “so violent that it caused the ship to disintegrate completely,” H. B. Atkinson, commander, USNR, wrote to Mrs. Ray Lighter of Route 2, Box 235A, here.
The ship sane immediately, and left no trace of survivors, according to the communication.

“Aaron Ralston Lighter Killed in Mindoro Explosion Navy Says,” Chico Record (Chico, California), 8 December 1945, page 8; digital image, ( : viewed online 27 May 2021).

The story of the U.S.S. Lewis L. Dyche can be found on Wikipedia.

Thus, the death of Aaron Ralston Lighter aboard the U.S.S. Lewis L. Dyche in Mindora Bay made his mother, Eva Northern Lighter a Gold Star Mother.