CONVENIENCE stores like Harry’s coin-
operated “automatic” laundry were growing
in popularity and popping up all over
the country. When his in-town facility
outgrew its space, Harry moved from 16th Street to
Oleander Drive next to the Lingo Amoco Service
Station (near where the Longley Supply Company
sits today). Harry, his wife, Marie, and their three
children were outgrowing their home as well. So,
while waiting for a new home to be built on Coun-try
Club Road, they moved to Wrightsville Beach.
There, Harry could spend quiet time with his son
fishing for puppy drum and speckled trout in Moore
Inlet. The future was looking very bright.
However, life soon took a turn for the worse. Harry
developed a virulent form of cancer and died in January
1964. Doctors at the Veterans Administration hospital in
Durham listed pancreatic cancer as the official cause of death,
but told the family they believed the stress of war precipitated
COURTESY OF HARRY BETHEA, JR.
Above: Studio portrait of Lt. Harry Bethea, date unknown. Top: B-17 bombers come under heavy fire in Austria during World War II in
1944. Bethea piloted B-17 bombers with the “Bloody 100th” Bomb Group, stationed in southeastern England.