Chief Steward Fred A. Stover
SS Timothy Pickering, of the American President Lines, Merchant Marines
Lost at Sea, 13 July 1943
Off the coast of Sicily, Italy
--In loving Memory, daughter, Wilma Stover Bergeret --
Although born in the State of Oldenburg, Germany, May 13, 1897, my beloved Papa was a proud American, having received his citizenship papers not too long after
having arrived in the USA.
My father was one of six children, three brothers and two sisters, and the only one in his family to leave Germany. During WWI, he was on board a German vessel
which landed in South America in either Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or Buenos Aires, Argentina and the crew was interned. Unfortunately I have no way of verifying in
which city the ship had docked. After WWI, he shipped out to Baltimore, MD where he settled. Through a friend he and my mother met. They were married in March, 1927,
lived in Union City, New Jersey, and I was born September 1928.
My father was employed as manager of the meat department at Grand Union supermarkets, where he helped in the opening of various branches all over upstate New York,
finally settling in the New York City area.
I was almost three years old when my mother, Wilma Knorr Stover, became very ill, so my father raised me until I was nine. He worked long hours and it became more
difficult for him to take care of me. We would attend church together. He would take me shopping for clothing, take me to visit my mother who at that time was
hospitalized on Staten Island N. Y., followed by dinner out in a nice restaurant. Wilma Stover, having recovered from being ill for seven years (1932-1939), spent
thirteen years in a nursing home suffering from dementia and died peacefully on July 15, 2003.
Meanwhile, at the age of nine, my grandmother, who lived in Germany, invited me to stay with her, learn German, and when her daughter, my mother, was well, I would
return to the States. My father went back into the US Merchant Marine and visited me as often as possible. When WWII broke out, my parents tried to get me back.
My father was in Genoa, Italy awaiting my arrival. Although I had permission to leave Germany, enter and leave Italy, my passport arrived too late for me to meet up
with my father. My grandmother said, that I was very ill the last time I saw my father - of course, I did not realize it then, that it would be the last time.
I was very fortunate to have had a loving father. He had stopped going to sea. When WWII broke out, he was too old, at 46, for the draft, but there was a need for
officers in the Merchant Marine, so he signed up Dec. 17, 1941 and was hired as Chief Steward. He loved his adopted country very much. He wanted to do his share in
working towards the freedom that we now enjoy in this country.
On or about July 13, 1944 the SS Timothy Pickering, loaded with supplies and ammunition, within sight of the coast of Sicily, with armed troops aboard, was bombed by
a German divebomber, and hit midships. Although there were some survivors, my father and several others were killed. The support the ship was bringing was meant for
General Patton for the invasion taking place in Italy.