Carl DeHaven was born April 1, 1926 at Misericordia Hospital in West Philadelphia. His parents were Howard DeHaven and Laura Williamson DeHaven. In the 1930s the family moved to 5th Street in Bridgeport. When he was little, Carl had a pet monkey named Boots who escaped on one occasion and ran through the neighborhood before being picked up by the police. The family then moved to Norristown. There, at the age of 8, Carl had what doctors later described as a mild heart attack while doing the dishes in the kitchen. A health crisis event which fortunately did not discourage his subsequent activities. In 1936, the DeHaven family moved to US territory from the Panama Canal area. On December 7, 1941, Carl witnessed the alarm as news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor spread. Fears were high that the strategically crucial Panama Canal would also be attacked. Seeing the Marines in their uniforms for the first time impressed the youngster. The family returned to the United States and the Norristown area. Soon after, in March 1943, Carl DeHaven decided to enlist in the armed forces.
Carl was only 16 when he went to the recruiting office at the Old Customs House in Philadelphia; lied about his age and enlisted in the US Marines. On the way home, realizing that he would have problems with his family, he ran away to stay with his aunt in West Conshohocken. Finding him there, his father asked him why he had enlisted. Carl explained that he was afraid of the possibility of being drafted and having to serve on a submarine, recalling the soldiers he saw in the Panama Canal area that he enlisted in the Marines for. avoid such a fate. Hearing this explanation, his parents gave him permission to enlist.
At Boot Camp, Carl was faced with a challenge when he attempted to qualify as a sniper. Left-handed, he aimed with his left eye. But when the empty cartridge was ejected, she hit him in the eye. Fortunately, he was able to adjust to the right and qualify on his M1 rifle. DeHaven was then sent to the operators school at Camp Lejeune. There he was taught to drive all kinds of vehicles, anything and just about anything on tracks or wheels. He was assigned to automobile transport. On Labor Day in 1943, as he was leaving his barracks, Carl was knocked to the ground by an accidental explosion of two 500 lb bombs. Another of Carl’s many close calls throughout his life.
In early 1944, DeHaven was sent to Camp Pendleton to train for the invasion of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. Private First Class DeHaven was part of the 5th Marine Division, taking part in the costliest battle in Marine Corps history, the Battle of Iwo Jima. It was Carl’s job to transport ammunition and other supplies to the beachhead; to bring them to the front lines and recover the dead and wounded.
Carl was then sent to prepare for the invasion of mainland Japan. A business that threatened to cost more than a million American lives. But with the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the invasion was averted. Carl was sent to Japan as part of the occupation army. He arrived in Nagasaki 29 days after the atomic bomb was dropped and witnessed the devastation. While stationed in Japan for 8 months, he was impressed by the Japanese culture and people.
Carl DeHaven was honorably discharged from military service in May 1946. He returned home to Norristown and enrolled to complete his interrupted studies and graduated from Norristown High School, class of 1947. Directly upon graduation After graduating from high school, Carl married Beverly Bailiff. Although the marriage did not last, the two had a daughter together. Deborah DeHaven was born in 1947. In September 1950, Carl had another blow. In a head-on collision in Winchester, Virginia, the car he was traveling in was turning a corner when another car hit Carl’s car head-on. Carl’s close friend David Forrest and everyone else involved were killed. Carl was the only survivor. In 1952, Carl married his second wife Marie Elaina Concetta Arona. In 1955 they moved to Henderson Park in Upper Merion. They had two daughters Kim, born in 1959, and Carla in 1960. For several years Carl worked as a trucker for Bethlehem Steel, Bruno Brothers, Crouthaml, Rittenhouse and Tose Trucking.
In 1956, the uncle of Marie’s new wife, George Santoro, suggested that Carl apply to the Upper Merion Police Department. He was hired, thus starting his long service career as a police officer. He served as a patroller from 1956 to 1977 and as a detective from 1977 to 1982.
During his 26 years of police service, Carl was on duty during the Altemose / Roofers incident in the early 1970s, when rioting union roofers threatened to invade the Sheraton construction site today. ‘hui Radisson Hotel. He and his fellow officer Jack Brennan confronted an angry crowd. He worked on the shooting murders in 1974 of sisters Doris and Jean Maiale, owners of “Villanova Nursery”, a plant nursery. The two elderly ladies were murdered by former employees at their home on Henderson Road, later the Weigh Back When antique store. DeHaven worked on the infamous Jay C. Smith case, the disgraced former UM high school principal. On one occasion he was called upon to serve as “protection” for President George HW Bush. Officer DeHaven held an umbrella over his head as President Bush ran down the trail at Upper Merion High School. A task made more difficult because the president was 6’2 ‘and DeHaven only 5’7’. Carl was a cigarette smoker. He quit one day while driving on Route 202, throwing a pack of cigarettes out of his car window.
Carl DeHaven comes from a family tradition of service to his country. Ancestor Peter DeHaven was a patriot during the American Revolution. He loaned the Continental Congress the equivalent of a million dollars in today’s money. Money that has never been refunded. Lieutenant (Navy) Edwin Jesse DeHaven participated in a naval exploration aboard the USS Peacock under the command of Captain Charles Wilkes as part of a squadron mapping the Pacific coast. At the mouth of the Columbia River, the USS Peacock was wrecked. Lt DeHaven helped save several of his teammates and was celebrated and rewarded for his bravery. The US Navy has ordered a destroyer, the USS DeHaven, in honor of Lt. DeHaven. This ship was sunk during WWII at Guadalcanal. A second USS DeHaven has been ordered. After World War II, the second ship was decommissioned and the DeHaven family received custody of the ship’s bell. During World War I, Private John F. DeHaven was killed in the fight for Belleau Wood, a battle that saved Paris and contributed to the victory of the war.
After retiring from the Upper Merion Police Force, DeHaven worked at James P. Barone Paving from 1983 to 1993, working with heavy equipment. Upon his final retirement, he and his wife wintered at St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands for a few years. After his wife’s death, he lived for a time with his daughter Kim DeHaven in Texas before eventually returning to Pennsylvania. Carl loved sports. He played college baseball and basketball at West Conshohocken High. He played softball for the Norristown Orioles, Norristown Stars, VFW, Holy Savior, Swedesburg Fire Company and Christ Reform Church. A musician, he was a member of the Reilly Raiders Drum & Bugle Corp and Nuss-O’Hara VFW Post 18034. He was particularly proficient on the harmonica and liked to play when asked. In 2016, Carl and his daughter Kim DeHaven returned to Japan as part of a GI tour group. The trip to Iwo Jima with Kim and his father took place in March 2016. Carl visited Japan 3 more times for the “Honor Reunion” between 2012 and 2017. DeHaven was one of the many veterans of Iwo Jima guests of honor by a company owned by the Marines. called “military historical tours”. In Japan, Carl revisited, recalled, commemorated and reconciled with the events of the war and the Japanese people. There he finds himself nicknamed “Mr. Harmonica Man.” After a brief illness, Carl passed away on Friday March 2, 2018 at his daughter’s home in East Norriton. He was 91 Carl DeHaven, a tradition of service to his country and community.
Sources for this article, Times Herald obituary, Bill Holdsworth, Kim DeHaven and the DeHaven family.