Many people found out Tuesday night just how North Canton’s William Lowther made his mark in history.
Ron Stanfield, president of the Atwater Historical Society, and Kathy Fernando, executive director of the , spoke about how they found a piece of history and the community’s lost treasure. It was part of the Heritage Society's annual meeting inside the Charlotte Building.
“About three months ago, a gentleman found a box of materials and brought them to me,” Stanfield said. “After inspecting the photos, we found that they were from the early 1940s.”
Steve Hughes is that gentleman. Hughes worked for a roofing company who was doing a project in Springfield. While removing scraps, Hughes noticed a box of materials that appeared to have potential value in an outside trash bin. Hughes then took this material to Stanfield.
After careful examination and research of the contents in the box, Stanfield found they traced back to Sgt. William Lowther and his role in WWII.
That's what brought in many with connections to the war.
“I’m a veteran of WWII,” Connell Medley said. “I’m interested in hearing topics of soldiers who were in the war.”
Some of the visitors came to listen to the speakers because they knew Lowther from childhood.
“I went to school with William Lowther,” Pauline Snyder Mullen said. “That’s why I came to the meeting.”
Lowther died flying a B-24 Liberator bomber. His plane crashed in New Guinea on April 30, 1943. The plane crashed because of equipment failure and not combat, a common happening for B-24s of that time.
Those who searched for his plane had to face the jungles and their natives. Into Darkness by Edward Imparato explains the terrors those searching had to face.
Other people were in attendance because of a general interest in the war.
“I came to the meeting because I read a book about WWII called Unbroken," Jeannette Paschke said. “It was about a plane crash in WWII, another B-24.”
Regardless of what motive those in attendance had at the meeting, descriptions of Lowther’s experience have a permanent place in the history of North Canton.