Funeral Services in Ithaca, NY for Coast Guard SPAR, World War II hero

Florence Ebersole Smith Finch (1915-2016) joined the Coast Guard Women's Reserve, SPARs, in 1945 after arriving in the United States from the Philippines where she worked as a civilian stenographer for the Office of Army Intelligence during World War II. She later received the Medal of Freedom for risking her life to secretly furnish money and supplies to American prisoners after Japan took control of Manila, Philippines. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Florence Ebersole Smith Finch (1915-2016)(U.S. Coast Guard photo)

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U. S. Coast Guard will render full honors for a World War II hero who also served in the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, more commonly known as SPARs, Saturday.

Funeral services are being held for Florence Ebersole Smith Finch Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Ithaca, New York.

Ebersole Smith Finch was born in Isabella Provence in the Philippines on Oct. 11, 1915 and passed away on Dec. 8, 2016.

At the outbreak of World War II, Ebersole Smith Finch was a civilian stenographer with the Office of Army Intelligence. After American forces withdrew from the Philippines, she remained in country and since she didn’t acknowledge her American background, was able to receive a job with the Japanese-controlled Philippine Liquid Fuel Distributing Union. In this position, she began helping American prisoners of war and writing various vouchers to assist the Filipino resistance movement, the Philippine Underground.

Florence Ebersole Smith Finch (1915-2016) joined the Coast Guard Women's Reserve, SPARs, in 1945 after arriving in the United States from the Philippines where she worked as a civilian stenographer for the Office of Army Intelligence during World War II. She later received the Medal of Freedom for risking her life to secretly furnish money and supplies to American prisoners after Japan took control of Manila, Philippines. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)As a result of her actions, she was taken by the Japanese, questioned about her activities, and tortured. For nearly five months she was held prisoner in extremely confined quarters and deprived of sustenance. She was freed by American troops in February of 1945, and soon thereafter repatriated to the United States in Buffalo, New York. She became a SPAR in July, 1945.

Finch was the first woman to receive the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon and also received the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the U.S. Government.

Today, Mrs. Finch’s legacy lives on after having a multi-million dollar Coast Guard facility in Honolulu, Hawaii named in her honor.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.