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Catherine Royalty, 104-year-old World War II veteran, receives Quilt of Valor

Susan Thomas (right) presents 104-year-old World War II veteran Catherine Royalty with a quilt on Dec. 5, 2019 made by The Francis Rainey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Quilts of Valor Hub City Freedom Quilters. [Sarah Self-Walbrick/A-J Media]

The bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 sparked patriotism in Catherine Royalty. She soon after enlisted in the women’s branch of the U.S. Navy.

To commemorate that anniversary 78 years later, two local groups made a quilt to give to the 104-year-old World War II veteran.

The Francis Rainey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Quilts of Valor Hub City Freedom Quilters presented Royalty with the handmade quilt Thursday at Royalty’s senior living community.

The Francis Rainey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Quilts of Valor Hub City Freedom Quilters made a Quilt of Valor for 104-year-old World War II veteran Catherine Royalty and presented it her on Dec. 5, 2019. [Sarah Self-Walbrick/A-J Media]

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Royalty said she only worked in a post office, and was not sure if her service qualified her for such a gift. Hub City Freedom Quilters Group Leader Sonja Mater assured her every job mattered.

Susan Thomas, chaplain for the local DAR chapter, said the groups began working on the quilt in August. Many members helped put together the nine patches that became the large quilt.

A member of both DAR and the Quilts of Valor Group, Thomas said she has helped with many quilts, but this is the first one that has gone from her idea to reality. Working on it made her feel good.

World War II veteran Catherine Royalty received a quilt made by The Francis Rainey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Quilts of Valor Hub City Freedom Quilters on Dec. 5, 2019. [Sarah Self-Walbrick/A-J Media]

Royalty spoke to the DAR chapter about 10 years ago, when the group was getting started, and left a lasting impression.

“We thought she was a wonderful, patriotic women to give a quilt to and honor her,” Thomas said.

Royalty is a Lubbock native who graduated from what was then Texas Technological College in 1936 with a degree in English and journalism.

World War II veteran Catherine Royalty received a quilt made by The Francis Rainey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Quilts of Valor Hub City Freedom Quilters on Dec. 5, 2019. [Sarah Self-Walbrick/A-J Media]

Her family had a long military history, Royalty said, and she was compelled to join the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services (WAVES).

She trained for a year in New York before being assigned to a fleet post office in San Francisco, according to a recent Texas Tech profile of the alumna. She tracked ship locations so important messages would not be missed.

Royalty was discharged in February 1946, four months after the end of World War II. She returned to Lubbock and taught at multiple grade schools before she retired in 1977.

Royalty, sharp as a whip two months before her 105th birthday, lit up when presented with the quilt.

Mater said Hub City Freedom Quilters has given 30 quilts just this year. The quilts are intended to comfort current service members and veterans as a tangible civilian award. More than 240,000 quilts have been gifted worldwide.

Each quilt is special, Mater said, and presenting them is an honor.

“It always gives me goosebumps,” Mater said.

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© 2019 the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal