When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and, the next day, the Philippines, in December 1941, Philippine-born Hope Wing Weston’s parents already had a plan in place to make sure she wouldn’t become an orphan like her father, Fairfield native Eugene Eveleth Wing, had been as a young child.

Weston’s father, whom the 102-year-old Auburn resident and former Augusta and Winthrop resident always had been told was a banker, also secretly gathered valuable intelligence during both World War I and World War II, including about Japanese interests and activities in Southeast Asia, for the U.S. Army Intelligence Service.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, Eugene Wing remained in the Philippines — which had been a U.S. possession since 1898 — and used the information he had gained as a banking executive for a world bank there to assist the U.S. military, and he also worked to move gold, silver and documents from many Manila-based businesses to try to deny the Japanese assets they might capture, historian Douglas Cutchin, president of the Fairfield Historical Society, said in a presentation about Eugene Weston earlier this year.

Hope Weston said the Japanese, who had learned how to break secret codes used by the United States to communicate, knew of her father’s activities and were out to capture him.

He evaded them, and continued to gather intelligence about Japanese activities, until the Japanese army captured him and another man in poor condition in 1944.

They were both beheaded, on April 11, 1944, according to Cutchin.

By then both Hope Weston and her mother, Fairfield native Nellie Grace McBeth, were safe in the United States, where Hope Weston first had come to go to college at the University of Maine at Orono.

Having lost his own father to disease when he was just 8 years old, acknowledging the dangerous nature of his intelligence-gathering work, and recognizing that trouble was on the horizon, Eugene Wing and his wife had made a pact that she would remain in the United States and look after their daughter.

“She was in this country so she could be with me, so I wasn’t by myself, because she knew he had other things to do. He had much more important things to do than keep track of his family,” Hope Weston said Wednesday, the eve of the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. “They’d made a pact, that I wasn’t going to be another orphan. My dad had gone through that once in his lifetime. He didn’t want that for me.”

Weston said she started looking into her father’s secret life after he was killed. She still doesn’t know the details of his work, but she knows he risked his own life and was ultimately beheaded for helping his country. She said he probably started providing information secretly to the U.S. the same year she was born.

“My father knew a lot about what was going on, long before it happened because he was a banker. He could follow the money,” she said. “He was always in contact with American troops. That was his job. He wasn’t just hiding in a corner. He was doing his work. An awful lot depends on the information that is available.”

Weston met her future husband, Lowell “Pete” Weston, who died in 2000, in Orono. The couple lived in Augusta, on Melville Street, for 19 years before moving to Winthrop. They had two sons, Robert, of Winthrop, and James, of Greene.

Weston said she was just in Augusta on Monday, helping the Kennebec Valley Garden Club decorate the Blaine House for Christmas.

In 1997 she wrote a book about her life, “Hope’s Two Lives, Eighty Years: From the Far East to the State of Maine.”

Weston said she learned about the attacks on Pearl Harbor and her native Philippines “like everybody else; I just read it in the paper.”

She would never see her father again.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

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Twitter: @kedwardskj

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