Pride of the Pine Belt: Dee Abbott

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM)- Dee Abbott is a familiar face to many in the Hub City because for years she taught typing at the city's High School. However, Abbott began her career in the U.S. Navy as a member of W.A.V.E.S during World War II.

That organization stood for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. Abbott learned about the W.A.V.E.S while she was working as a receptionist at Camp Shelby.

According to Dee Abbott, "I thought well I'd like to do that, I don't want to stay out here at Camp Shelby forever. So I joined and I don't know whether my parents liked it so much or not but they did not prevent me from going."

Abbott's first assignment was to go to Cedar Falls Iowa, where she would take over a typing position so the men could go to war. The Midwest climate was a big change for the South Mississippi girl.

"I was so thrilled that I had a pair of nylons and I wore them to church one Sunday, but I tell you I could hardly wait to get back, my legs just froze to death. It was just so cold - so I never tried that again until the weather changed," said Abbott.

During the war, Abbott moved locations several times and worked as a NAVY typing instructor eventually ending up in New Orleans until the war was over. Abbott then headed back to Hattiesburg where she re-enrolled at Southern Miss to finish her college education.

Abbott said, "I graduated in 47' with my B. S. and then I got a master's later."

During the following years until her retirement in 1977, Abbott stayed in the Navy Reserves and that is how she met her husband, Samuel in 1957.

The couple settled down in Hattiesburg and Abbott has continued her community service through the Daughters of the American Revolution and volunteering at her church.

Copyright 2011 WDAM. All rights reserved.