This is the whole 8th grade class of 1928 Reynolds School in Meadville, PA. In the top row end on left is Thomas Vetter at about age 13. In the 1930 census, two years after this photo was taken, Thomas and his household (father: Richard, mother: Hannah, sister: Thressa/Teresa, and 11 lodgers!) lived in Meadville. Richard was from Germany and Hannah from England. Father Richard worked as a merchant in cleaning and pressing – this was a new job title to me!
Young Thomas Vetter doesn’t look happy, but looks can be deceiving. According to the 1920 census Thomas was born about 1915, he was 5 at the time. The family was in Meadville and mom and dad would be buried in Crawford County, PA in 1946 and 1951 respectively. This was to be their home for life.
Here’s the part that’s harder to be sure of. A Thomas H. Vetter, with wife Geraldine, is listed as a burial in Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA. He was a Lieutenant in the US Navy. A Thomas H. Vetter, with wife Geraldine, was also listed in the Meadville city directory from about 1937-1959. In 1937 he was a student and starting in 1951 he was found under the heading “Physicians and Surgeons”. According to the California death index, a Dr. Thomas Henry Vetter of Pennsylvania died on February 5, 1988, born in 1914. These dates match the tombstone as well. While I don’t have anything that ties Thomas Henry to Richard and Hannah the dates and places sure do work out.
In 1982, the San Diego Union, ran an article on the booming business of seismic surveying. They mention that one company had the right expert on board with Thomas Vetter. “Vetter was a submarine officer in the Navy, where he operated the deep-diving submersible Trieste II. He set a record with the craft, which he describes as about the size of a Greyhound bus, reaching a depth of 16,130 feet.” Same Thomas Vetter? Sounds right, but can’t confirm it at this point. Maybe family can.