Vance W. Bliss (1918/10/12)
Dentistry and poetry came to an end for a dedicated young officer from Santa Cruz.
Vance Wilbur Bliss, the youngest of the four children of Dr. and Mrs. F. W. Bliss, was born in Santa Cruz, California, on June 13, 1889. Young Vance was educated at Mission Hill School before entering Santa Cruz High School. There he was remembered as being a popular well-rounded student who was a scholar, poet, sculptor and 100-yard-dash track record holder.
When he graduated from high school in 1909, Vance Bliss made the decision to follow his father, brother and two uncles in the dental profession. He enrolled in the California Dental College affiliated with the University of California and after graduating, returned to Santa Cruz to join his father's dental practice. In addition to pursing his professional career, Vance was involved in various research projects and renewed his earlier interests in poetry and art.
At the outbreak of World War I, Bliss, who was described as being a tall man of medium build with light brown eyes and dark brown hair, volunteered for service and was sent to Camp Fremont near Menlo Park California. Upon completing his training he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the US Dental Reserve Corps, ordered to New York and shipped to Europe.
In late September 1918, Lt. Bliss' troopship departed New York and arrived in Liverpool, England, on October 10. Vance wired his parents that he had arrived in good health; however, two days later he was admitted to a military hospital in Blundersands, England with respiratory problems.
In October a hospital nurse wrote the Bliss family informing them that Vance had died of pneumonia on October 12, 1918. The body of Vance W. Bliss was later returned to the US and interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
(CAG; WWIDR; SCSf June 3, 1918 3:7; SCSn November 5, 1918, November 14, 1918; SCEN May 10, 1924; USDVA; Photo-SCHS)