Written by D. Collingwood - Struthers Historian
CECIL KROMER VAN AUKER
22 Jul 1885 - 10 Feb 1938
Cecil Kromer Van Auker
was born on July 22, 1885, in Struthers, Ohio. He is the youngest child of Joseph Ivan Van Auker and Nellie Valais and the grandson of John Wesley Van Auker and Sylvia Jackson.
His father was the first agent at Struthers Station for P&LE Railroad. Around 1890, Mr. Van Auker left the area on account of his failing health, relocating his family to Kansas where he was a trusted employee of the Rock Island Railroad, holding the position of train dispatcher. Joseph Van Auker died March 19, 1900 at the age of 42.
In 1902, Cecil enlisted into the Army and fought in the Mexican War. Disgusted with the wholesale slaughter and murder wrought by the howitzer guns of the Villa Mexican rebel army, resigned his commission and began travelling with his wife and mother in southern California, preparatory to stage life, where gunplay is not so mortal.
Like his sister, Grace, Cecil was inclined to the art of acting. He travelled and performed throughout the west and Canada with Jolly Della Pringle's troupe. Cecil and Della were married on June 14, 1908 by the janitor of the Salt Lake county court house. Della was expensively gowned and wore a number of valuable gems. Cecil and Della's marriage lasted nearly 10 years. They were divorced in March 1918, shortly before Cecil shipped off to War.
On November 27, 1917, Cecil accepted a commission of Captain of the 308th Aero Service Squadron Air Service. He shipped overseas in July 1918, returning to the States later that year. He was discharged from the Army on January 4, 1919.
Between 1916 and 1923, Cecil performed in 24 silent films, for Fox Film Co., and others; "The Gunfighter", "The Girl from God's Country", "Playthings of the Gods", to name a few.
Cecil married for the second time, Laura Laird, also a member of Della Pringle's thespian troupe. They had one child, Joseph L., born June 13, 1922.
Cecil Kromer Van Auker died on February 10, 1938, in Yavapai, Arizona, at the age of 52, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Laura outlived her husband by five months, passing on July 23, 1938.