Family Honors: Anderson woman's legacy to WWII

Monday, July 1, 2019 9:03AM EST



Mary Dear Farmer was born in Anderson, the elder of twins. Her father was James Farmer, who was the city treasurer of Anderson. Her mother was Maude Doggette Farmer. Her twin brother was Joseph and Marjorie was her sister. The family lived near Silverbrook Cemetery at 226 White Street.


After her primary years, Mary entered Girls High School, and from then on was kept very busy. She held class officer positions, as president and treasurer, she was a member of the Ligon Literary Society, editor of the 1930 Tidings, and earned a Block A in basketball. As for her senior superlative, Mary was selected, “Most Typical High School Girl.”


The 1930 graduation ceremony for Girls High was ironically held at Boys High, where they all joined in singing “Anderson”, composed by Lily Strickland.


Mary entered Anderson College and graduated in 1932. While at Anderson College, she met a cadet from Clemson, William (Bill) Schachte. Over time, this evolved into a wonderful marriage and a move to Charleston. Mary and Bill had five children: Kay, Bill Jr, Marjorie, Anne, Frank and Joseph.

During World War II, Mary was honored by being selected to christen one of the war ships in the Charleston Navy Yard.


Bill Schachte Jr, like his father and grandfather, graduated from Clemson University and entered the navy during the Vietnam War. He was commissioned an ensign and served in combat. Bill was John Kerry’s commanding officer in the Swift Boat the night of the now famous incident during which Kerry was injured.


After Vietnam, Bill earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina. He then transferred to the Judge Advocate General Corps where he helped diffuse a crisis in 1988 when a Russian frigate collided with the USS Yorktown in the Black Sea. In 1991 he helped uncover the truth about the "Tailhook Scandal." Bill retired as a Two- Star Admiral – Rear Admiral Upper-class.


In “Sunsets over Charleston” W. Thomas McQueeney states, “ Admiral William L. Schachte Jr. might have helped change the course of the Cold War by way of the Black Sea incident of 1988. He may have rendered full and complete justice to the participants and cover up operatives of the 1991 “ Tailhook Scandal”, his fourth-right principal becoming his own fate, he may have changed the course of the 2004 United States presidential election by doing what he had always done, telling the truth.”


Bill and his wife Carmen have two sons, William III and David. They live on Broad Street in Charleston. William Schachte Sr. died in 1970. Mary Farmer Schachte died in 2000. They are buried at St. Lawrence Cemetery in Charleston. The christening of the ship was a very high honor for Mary and her family. Her hometown also shares the pride.

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