Biography

MacArthur, Jean Marie Faircloth

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biography

Douglas MacArthur (rear), his wife Jean MacArthur, and their son Arthur MacArthur returning to the Philippines for a visit in 1950

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Jean Marie Faircloth MacArthur (December 28, 1898-January 22, 2000) was the second wife of U.S. Army General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.


Early life and education


Born Jean Marie Faircloth in Nashville, she was the daughter of Edward C. Faircloth, a banker. After her parents divorced when she was eight, her mother took her to live with her grandparents in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Her grandfather, a captain in the Confederate army, instilled in her a love of uniforms. She attended Ward-Belmont College in Nashville, but graduated from Soule College in Murfreesboro. Jean and her father can be found later listed on a passenger manifest of the SS Belgenland which arrived in the Port of Los Angeles on December 29, 1927 from Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. When her father died, she inherited a large fortune and travelled extensively.


Marriage


On a trip to Manila in 1935, she met General MacArthur aboard the S.S. President Hoover. Despite the age difference--she was eighteen years younger than he--they married in New York City on April 30, 1937. Jean was MacArthur's second wife and he described her as his "constant friend, sweetheart, and devoted support." They had one son, Arthur MacArthur IV (1938-), and were married until Douglas' death in 1964.


Wartime


Jean MacArthur was with her husband when the Japanese attacked the Philippines and went with him to the island of Corregidor in Manila's harbor. Even when the island was attacked, she refused to leave her husband. Only when President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the MacArthurs to leave did they go to Australia.


Charity work


After her husband's death she helped with the Metropolitan Opera and other charities. In her later years she often gave speeches on her late husband's military career. President Ronald Reagan awarded her the Medal of Freedom in 1988 and the Philippine government gave her its Legion of Merit in 1993.


Death

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Mrs. MacArthur died of natural causes in Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan at age 101. She is entombed with her husband in the rotunda of the MacArthur Memorial Building in Norfolk, Virginia, the hometown of Gen. MacArthur's mother.

 

 

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June 25, 1950

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Because the enemy had attacked on a Sunday, telephone circuits between Tokyo and Sŏul were closed. As a consequence, most SCAP staff officers were spared a rude awakening. It was a sunny, pleasant morning; the Huffs and several others were lounging beside the embassy swimming pool, enjoying it, when Edith Sebald arrived and mentioned casually that she had just heard about the hostilities on the radio.

Huff questioned her excitedly and rushed to tell MacArthur, but the General already knew   had known, in fact, for hours. In the first gray moments of daylight a duty officer had phoned from the Dai Ichi:

"General, we have just received a dispatch from Sŏul, advising that the North Koreans have struck in great strength south across the 38th Parallel at four o'clock this morning."

MacArthur, remembering Manila nearly nine years earlier, felt

"an uncanny feeling of nightmare. . . . It was the same fell note of the war cry that was again ringing in my ears. It couldn't be, I told myself. Not again! I must still be asleep and dreaming. Not again! But then came the crisp, cool voice of my fine chief of staff, General Ned [Edward M.] Almond, `Any orders, General?"'


 
Barring urgent developments, the Supreme Commander said, he wanted to be left alone with his own reflections. Stepping into his slippers and his frayed robe, he began striding back and forth in his bedroom. Presently Jean stepped in from her room.

"I heard you pacing up and down," she said. "Are you all right?"

He told her the news, and she paled. Later Blackie bounded in, tried to divert his master with coaxing barks, and failing, slunk off. Then Arthur appeared for his morning romp with his father. Jean intercepted him and told him there would be no frolicking today. MacArthur put his arm around his son's shoulders, paused, thrust his hands in the pockets of his robe, and renewed his strides.


His moods in those first hours of the new war were oddly uneven. At the prospect of new challenges, he became euphoric. George Marshall, during a recent stop in Tokyo, had thought that the Supreme Commander had

"aged immeasurably"

since their last meeting, but now Larry Bunker discovered him

"reinvigorated ... like an old fire horse back in harness."

Another aide believed the General had

"peeled ten years from his shoulders,"

and Sebald noted:

"Despite his years, the General seemed impatient for action."

 Yet at the same time he appeared. to be trying to convince himself that there would be no need for action.