JANUARY 14, 1878 TO MARCH 9, 1959
Royal Wallace Healy was born January 14, 1878, in Afton, Union County, Iowa, to Austin Adams Healy and Sarah Isabelle (Wallace) Healy. Roy was the only son, having five sisters; Ethel, Edna, Daisy, Cora Belle and Mary Laura. His father, Austin, was a jeweler, photographer, and watchmaker, and Roy learned the watch making trade. According to Nadine Healy (Roy's daughter), Roy's mother died when he was 18 years old. Shortly after her death, Austin married a lady whose first name was Love. About this time Royal left home and came out to the West Coast. He began his sailing career in 1900, shipping out of Port Townsend, Washington on a full-rigged sailing vessel. (Roy's Account of his Experiences at Sea).
Roy met Bessie Bertha Kuner (she had changed her name to Kuner from Knauer when she emigrated to the United States) while both were enroute from Seattle to San Francisco. They were married on January 27th, 1915, at a Baptist Church on Jackson Street in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. Shortly after their marriage, Bessie and Royal resided at the Heathmore Apartments, address unknown, and resided there through the Spring of 1916. Donald Leo was born on July 4th, 1916. They next lived in an apartment on Queen Anne Hill, Queen Anne Court, West Galer Street. This was in 1917. In 1918 they moved to an apartment at 602 N. 42nd Street, and later lived near Woodland Park, on Evanston. On December 2, 1918, they bought their first home on 20th NW, Richmond Beach (now Shoreline area), where Bessie started her own chicken farm. Because Royal was at sea so much of the time, a hazardous occupation, Bessie thought it prudent to provide for her family if Royal failed to return home. Her concern in this regard was quite justified as just months before, Royal had written her about his ship being torpedoed off the coast of England. On May 13th, 1920, Nadine Healy was born in the living room of this home.
Roy was at sea much of the time with the Merchant Marine, serving as a First Mate. In 1914 he joined the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and served on the Explorer and later the Surveyor until he retired in 1942. When the First World War started, Roy Healy resigned from the Coast and Geodetic Survey to accept a position with the U. S. Shipping Board as First Mate on the S. S. Chattahoochee, a former Hamburg American Line freighter of 12320 tons, in Seattle, Washington. In March of 1918, Roy was on the S. S. Chattahoochee, off the coast of England, when it as torpedoed and sunk. Although the explosion blew his cabin all to pieces, he emerged without a scratch. (See his account below.) Roy returned from Liverpool, England on the S.S. St. Paul, and enrolled in the U. S. Naval Reserve Force, as Lieutenant, and served as Executive Officer of the U.S.S. Nanshan, until ordered to inactive duty in July, 1919.
Letter from Roy to Bessie describing torpedoing of his ship.
Certificate of Alien Registration given to Roy after torpedo incident.
Passenger List and photo of the S.S. St. Paul, the ship on which
Roy Healy returned to the U.S. after being torpedoed.
Following World War I, Roy returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey, serving on the U.S.S. Surveyor, out of Seattle, until the outbreak of World War II. The Coast and Geodetic Survey was engaged in charting the coastal waterways of Washington and Alaska.
Newspaper clipping on return of the U.S.S. Surveyor.
When World War II broke out, Roy resigned from the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and accepted his retirement pension, believing that he would be able to re-enlist in the U.S. Navy and once again serve his country during wartime. However, because of his age, neither the military nor the merchant marine would rehire him. Having resigned from his position on the U.S.S. Surveyor, he found himself forced to remain at home while his country was at war: A situation he found very depressing. (See account of his attempts to obtain a military and/or merchant marine position during this period.)
Later, Roy and Bessie lived at 1209 North 45th Street, in Seattle, before moving to their last residence at 1139 76th Avenue NE, Seattle, about three block from Greenlake.
Home at 1139 North 76th St., Seattle Roy & Bessie, October, 1958.
Roy was a member of Seattle Post No. 1, of the American Legion. He great enjoy vaudeville performances, but did not care much for organized religion in his later life.