Bedford Women’s Club to recognize World War II naval veteran at tree lighting

On Dec. 13, the Bedford Women’s Club will recognize Earl Isham. Isham joined the Navy at 17, as soon as he graduated from high school in 1943. He went to naval training in Washington, D.C., for two months and then was deployed. While in the Navy, he served as a gunner on the destroyer USS Taussig DD-746, the aircraft carrier USS Lexington CV-16 and the aircraft carrier USS Franklin CV-13, “Big Ben,” when it was hit between Okinawa and Iwo Jima. One of Isham’s guns is on display at the Washington, D.C., Naval Museum.

While Isham was serving in the Navy, his family decided to move from Connecticut to Bedford. After he was discharged, he took the train from Boston to New Hampshire to see his parents’ new home and farm for the first time.

Isham farmed for 15 years in Bedford. He also worked for Paul’s Oil & Water Service for 10 years. Then, he started his own business, Earl’s Property Services. He repaired water pumps, electrical wiring and heating systems for 15 years.

Isham, one of the first three EMTs in New Hampshire, joined the Bedford Fire Department in 1950. He remembers when Bedford purchased the first ambulance for the Bedford Fire Department. Originally a bread truck, the vehicle was converted into an ambulance. Serving for many years, Isham retired as assistant chief in November 1995. To this day, the Bedford Fire Department bestows the Earl Isham Award to an individual who demonstrates dedication to the community.

With his wife, Edith, now deceased, Isham raised his three daughters, Bonnie, Linda and Nancy, in Bedford, where he was active in the community, the VFW, the American Legion and the Bedford Presbyterian Church. Isham resides in Bedford with his wife, Charlene. Both sing in the choir at the Bedford Presbyterian Church.

Recognition of this World War II veteran will take place at the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony conducted by the Bedford Women’s Club at 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13. The Town Memorial Tree is on Bedford Center Road, near the corner of Church Road, in front of the Bedford Presbyterian Church. The community is invited to attend. Members of the Bedford High School Chorus will close the ceremony with song.