• Honoring Ezra LeRoy York

  • Banner Placement - Home with Family

  • Our Dad was born in 1898 in Culver, Indiana, a town where almost everyone was poor.  He was number four in a family of ten children.  His family moved to Doniphan, Missouri when he was in his early teens in search of finding employment for his dad.  At age 19, he joined the Army and was trained in the tank corps.  In 1918, about the time his training was complete, the “Big War” (later renamed World War 1) ended.  Many soldiers, including Corporal “Erza” were discharged.  Upon reporting to the Company Clerk, it was noted that the Army records had reversed the “r” and the “z” in his name.  The Clerk told him that he could be discharged that day if his name was “Ezra” or wait several days more to have it corrected.  On that day, “Erza” York became Ezra York for the rest of his life.  His discharge papers were dated December 11, 1918 and signed by Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower who later became the 34th President of the United States.

    The economy was in recession after the war ended.  Employment was hard to find so Ezra re-enlisted on January 31, 1922.  He was assigned to the Army Air Corps which later became the Air Force.  He served in the 9th Airship Company 1922 to 1925.  Ezra was trained to maintain and operate Barrage Balloons.  Barrage Balloons were large, spherical balloons that were tethered to the ground with steel cables.  Multiple balloons were launched high into the air making it dangerous for enemy planes to fly into a specific area.  The balloons were filled with helium.  During his service, Ezra attained the rank of Sergeant and directed the work of soldiers who were assigned to Barrage Balloon units.  Their work included operating helium generators to “power” the balloons; and maintaining and launching the balloons with their steel cables. 

    Ezra’s tour of duty ended on January 30, 1925.  He then located in Detroit where he successfully owned two Texaco stations and a large “drive away” service.  (Before trucks and trains hauled new cars to distant locations, drive away services hired men to drive new cars to their destination.)  After years of nonstop work he decided to keep one station which he operated at Second and Willis in Detroit until his retirement.  In 1931, he met, fell in love and married (1933) a beautiful woman named Luella Hans.  He always teased that she came in and needed her battery charged so he really charged it for her and changed her life.  Their marriage produced two daughters, Edith and Betty, and grandchildren and great grandchildren, one who now lives in the state where he was born. 

    A man of honor and love, Dad’s lifelong philosophy was to live by “The Golden Rule” but he did not profess a deep faith in Jesus until a few days before he died in 1981.

    We honor his life and his service to our country.


    - The Baird Family