Hubert Lee Musteen, Born Nov 1 1913

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert Lee Musteen in Uniform_ WWII

Hubert shared the middle name of Lee with his mother, Jennie Lee Brown Musteen. He worked as a teenager behind a drugstore soda fountain in Rogers, AR. Friends teased him by calling him “Susie-Q.” Years later, he was still fondly called “Susie” by some.

We know Hubert was a photographer in WWII, but his daughters and we first cousins have no details about his training or assignments. I wonder if he made newsreels or training films, since we found a photo of him with a movie camera. The last time I watched the famous documentary of WWII, True Glory, I wondered if he was in the midst of battle while filming. For anyone who hasn’t seen the awe-inspiring 80-minute film, it’s free on YouTube at this link.

He was almost 16 years older than the youngest brothers (twins, Dad and Uncle Jack). He died three months before my 6th birthday, and I remember pleading to go with Mother and Dad to his memorial service. I have only happy and loving memories of him.

One of my favorite pictures is a glossy 8″ x 10″ of Cary Grant taking Hubert’s photo! Must have been a USO tour…

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert filming in WWII

Uncle Hubert was the only professional photographer in our homtown of Rogers, AR, until his too early death (Jun 27, 1956). I knew him as a happy and outgoing man, who loved children. Directly below is the last photo that Hubert took personally for Jennie and me. Mother had sewn our dresses, and I recall going to the downtown studio. We were positioned just-so on a bench in the back room of his professional space. The lights were arranged to give a pleasing likeness.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Jennie & Becky_Dresses by Anita_Photo by Uncle Hubert_about 1955

One memory is a visit to our farmhouse on highway 62. It was the summer I was 4…running around in only a pair of cotton shorts because it was so hot. Hubert laughingly picked me up and tossed me into the air. When he caught me, I slid down from his shoulders, into his arms. An uncapped fountain pen was sticking up from his shirt pocket, and the tip unexpectedly skewered me in the navel. Mother, who tended to be a “worst case” worrier, was horrified that I’d get blood poisoning, but I played on with no ill effects.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Michael Wayne Musteen standing on Grandma Jennie’s table. Note Life Magazine cover composities on the dining wall.

Grandma Musteen prized several framed Life Magazine covers with her image and each grandchild photographically manipulated… long before PhotoShop! They hung on her living and dining room walls before her 2nd street house burned, the summer I was 7. Here you see my brother, Michael, standing on Grandma’s huge dining table. The table height made us easy to reach for sewing projects! Behind Michael is a framed photo of Hubert’s older daughter, Martha Jane.

Hubert Musteen

Hubert Musteen, year unknown.

I recently found the photo on the left…neither Martha or I had seen it before. We have no idea of his age, and this is the only childhood photo either of us had seen of Hubert.

He was a talented photographer and an enterprising businessman. His picture postcards of Rogers, AR, and surrounding area appear periodically on eBay and antique postcard sites.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert shot a few minutes of family video in old reel-to-reel format before Grandpa Musteen died in 1946. Grandpa, Grandma and the twins were hamming it up at Christmas. The VHS conversion is not a good quality to share, so one project will be to find the original films as our cousin David Musteen’s children sort through his estate.

In earlier family research, Shelia Snow Musteen posted this photo of Hubert. On the same page, you can see his headstone. Here is a photo with parents and siblings who survived (a brother and sister died as children). Videos of Grandma Jennie show her with a great laugh, so it’s surprising that the family photo looks somber.

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