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Oral history with George L. French; 2003

Object Type: Record
In Collection: Oral History Digital Collection



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Oral history.; Interview conducted George Lewis French was born in June 1919 to Edgar Franklin French and Lila Mae Schull French in Maryville, LA. French was one of five children. FrenchΓÇÖs family moved to Mississippi when he was twelve years old. Shortly after, he started his first job at an icehouse operated by his father. French graduated from Mendenhall High School in 1937. After high school, French attended Clarks Commercial College in Jackson, MS. He returned to work at his fatherΓÇÖs ice plant. In 1938 French was given the responsibility of running the Star Theatre ΓÇô the movie theatre owned and operated by FrenchΓÇÖs father. French made frequent trips to New Orleans, LA to learn how to book films for the theater, which showed its first feature on November 9, 1938. George Lewis French married Mary Eleanor Teunisson and had three sons together, the oldest being born before French joined the US Army. He was first stationed in Camp Shelby, MS, and shortly thereafter was transferred to Fort Bragg, NC. At Fort Brag French was trained to be a battery clerk. After basic training, French was assigned to the Twenty-Eight Infantry Division, the Pennsylvania National Guard Division, and was stationed in Louisiana. French completed amphibious training in Carabelle, FL before being transferred to Camp Pickett, Va. French first saw combat while stationed in Sicily during World War II. He eventually got to mainland Italy, France, and Germany, where he took photographs of Dachau the day after liberation. FrenchΓÇÖs service in the war lasted from June 1943 to August 1945. He returned to the States in September of that year. French resumed his position as head of the Star Theatre, eventually selling it in the 1970s. FrenchΓÇÖs wife Mary Eleanor died in April 1997. In December 1999 he began his second marriage to Marjorie Elizabeth Wakeman.

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