Alfred Hapgood Sr.: Sea Bees and Alfred Hapgood Jr.: Cpl. World War II
Friends, Family Gather Tuesday to Honor “Shorty’s” Remarkable Life
Rawlins--The late Alfred “Shorty” Hapgood will be remembered at an open house gathering Tuesday starting at 4 p.m. at the Square Shooters in Rawlins.
Shorty died on Oct. 5 in Laramie at the age of 101. At the time, family decided to get together for a remembrance on the occasion of his birthday. Shorty would have been 102 on Jan. 25.
The gathering is billed as an informal occasion, with no speakers scheduled.
Shorty lived in two different centuries and very nearly spanned a third.
He was born in Weir City, Kansas on Jan 25, 1898. He lived in Hanna as a child, where his father was a coal miner. In a 1997 interview, while serving as co-grand marshal of the county fair parade, Shorty vividly recalled a terrible mine explosion in 1903 that claimed the life of his father and many others.
To put that in perspective, that mine disaster occurred three years before the Wright brothers flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Hapgood lived to see all that has happened in the world since.
His mother died in 1906 and he moved back to Kansas. He returned to Hanna and himself toiled in the mines there for 35 years.
Shorty Hapgood was a patriot, who joined the U.S. Expeditionary Force to France in 1917 as a volunteer “because I thought the country was in such really bad shape," he recalled.
He survived what only later came to be called World War I, but the experience did not deter him from re-enlisting when trouble broke out in the Pacific in late 1941.
He related that he tried to do the same thing when the Korean Conflict came along, but the Army said he’d more than done his part for the country and let him return to civilian life.
After his career digging coal, Hapgood worked as a janitor at Rawlins High School and “retired” from that post at the age of 65.
Shorty’s wife died in 1953 and the couple raised seven children.
He lived quietly and independently in Rawlins up until the time of his death under the watchful eyes of family members and friends, who cherished him for much more than his remarkable longevity. (Rawlins Daily Times, Oct. 1999)
Alfred "Shorty" Hapgood. Born January 25, 1898, in Weir City, Kansas. Worked a long time in the Union Pacific Coal Company mines in Hanna. Died October 5, 1999, in Rawlins, Wyoming. Buried in the Greenhill cemetery in Laramie, Wyoming. (Ancestry.com)