Jimmie McCollum met his wife, Jamie through AWON, and they lived in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Born in Columbia, Mo, he proudly served his country in the United States Air Force. He was with us to remember his Father, PVT Clarence E. McCollum, Co. “I,” 334th Inf, 84th Division, KIA 20 Nov 44 near Prummern, Germany. Jimmie will be missed, especially by the Margraten Kids, as he had accompanied them to Margraten three times – in 2005, 2010, and most recently in 2015.
A resident of Southampton, New Jersey, Lynn passed after a battle with Leukemia at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly, just east of Philadelphia. Survived by his wife of fifty years, Susan, he enjoyed trips to visit his family and grandchildren, and was a fan of Fighting Irish Football. Lynn was an AWONer to remember his Dad, PFC Robert Cole Caine, 329the Infantry, Company L, 83rd ID, KIA 12 Aug 44 at St. Malo, France.
Brenda was especially active on the AWON Listserv, and as a retired elementary school teacher (34 years), was an outspoken and enthusiastic supporter of elementary education and teachers’ organizations everywhere, not just in Tennessee, but beyond. A long-time resident of Knoxville, she was a graduate off Washington College Academy and East Tennessee State University. With us to remember her Dad, PFC Andrew James Scalf, KIA 27 Feb 45 in Gerderath, Germany. Brenda was an organizer of her father’s 455th Anti-aircraft Artillery unit (35th ID), as they erected a monument on the airfield where they had served in Watton, England.
Many among us remember Shirley for her intense caring for and about other AWON sibs. During the WWII Memorial Dedication Conference in D.C. in ’04, a tearful, Gold Star-waving Shirley graced the front page of the Harrisburg Patriot-News. From Little Rock, Arkansas, Shirley was an active member of the Crystal Hill Baptist Church, and had been the receptionist at Met Life for 15 years. She was with us to remember her 84th ID Railsplitter Dad, CAPT Earl L. Jackson, KIA on 23 Feb 45 near Korrenzig, Germany, and had been a fixture and a favorite daughter at many 84th ID reunions. We’ll miss you, Shirley, and so will the Railsplitters!
AWONers remember Kathy fondly from various national and regional conferences. She passed from us peacefully with her family around her in Akeley, MN. Kathy’s been with us to remember her Dad, CPL Edward S. Newsom, of the 135th Medical Regiment, U.S. Army. CPL Newsome was KIA 16 Aug. 44 in the Philippines on the day she was born! Kathy was a licensed practical nurse, who extended her caring to medically fragile children, was a lifetime member of the VFW, and is herself remembered by 15 grandchildren and 15 GREAT grandchildren! We’ll all miss you, Kathy!
David passed and is at peace after an 11-year battle with Lymphoma and Leukemia. We will always remember Dave as one of the most fun-loving among us, as the picture above has him in his glory at the “Lost in the 50s” show in Branson. Dave was with us to remember his Dad, PFC Aloysius (Al) Stanek, who was KIA 29 Nov. ’44 on the Siegfried Line near Linnich, Germany. Dave, we’ll misss your music – but will miss your sense of humor most of all!
Barb was a fighter, and she had been one all her life. And she was in the fight of her life with throat and other cancers since she was diagnosed in 2012… and was given 6 months to live. But she fooled ’em all and toughed it out looong past anyone’s expectations, often refusing meds – just to be more conversant with her friends and sons (she had two, Doug and Ron). Barb was here to honor her Dad, 1LT Kenneth V. (Herky) Halverson – a pilot – KIA 7 Nov. ’44 on Mount Tournette, near the village of Thones, France. Barb, you cared more for everyone than everyone ever knew.
Doug was born in Teaneck, N.J. and so sadly passed at Manassas, VA. He was a proud Marine CPL (1958-1961) and a devoted Catholic. He retired from Fairfax City as a police officer, loved to travel, and went twice with an AWON group to Margraten, where his father rests. Doug leaves two children, Debbie Justice of Manassas and Susan Cromarty of Cocoa, FL, and three grandchildren. Doug honored his father, PFC George G. Cromarty, 405th Regiment of the 102nd Infantry Division. Gerry Morenski put it best, in saying “Doug, you will be missed by all who had the fortune to know you.”
Bob passed from us in late 2011, after a long battle with cancer. He served a 25-year career in the U.S. Army, having risen to the rank of Sergeant Major, and having served with the elite 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam, and with other units in Korea, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Washington, D.C. and in multiple other locations in the continental U.S. Following his Army career, Bob worked in Information Systems at Freeman Health System until his final retirement in 2008, leaving his wife, Pat, three children, and six grandchildren. Bob was with us to honor and remember his father, PFC Henry J. Tikkanen, who had been killed in WWII. He had no memory of his father, but we envision them together now.
AWON has lost a favorite Sister in Doni Morrison Troglio after a three-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She passed on Friday, October 15, 2010, and will be sorely missed. Doni has served in one capacity or another in most of the major functions of AWON. At various times, Doni was a Board Member, Vice President, Database Manager and Editor of The Star. Briefly, she was Chief Financial Officer. In November of 2010, she became the first recipient of the Col. Jack O. Forgy Outstanding Service Award. Survived by daughter Wendy James and husband Charlie Troglio, Doni was with us to honor 2LT Donald Schoenwether Morrison, pilot in the 15th AF, 454th Bombardment Group, killed in action 19 March 1944 on a mission near Cerkvenjak, Yugslavia, now Slovenia. Doni’s with her Dad, and in our hearts.
Michael was born in Columbia, SC, and was three when his Father went missing in Papua New Guinea. During his life, Michael served in the Marine Reserves, was a graphic designer, an actor, an art director, a photographer, and a journalist. He met his wife, Patricia at the AWON Branson Conference in 2002, when Patricia was AWON Board President. They were married at Yale University in June, 2003, making their home in Denver. Both of their Fathers lost their lives in New Guinea. Major Earl R. Kindig and 2LT George P. Gaffney, Jr. are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Michael had passionate political beliefs, had spent decades as an advocate for the labor movement, and prior to his passing was Editor of the Colorado Labor Advocate. He loved Shakespeare, art, Beethoven, and Harleys, and is survived by a loving family, including nine grandchildren.
Patricia left us way too early, and we miss her. Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. 5 months before she was born, and two years later, in September of 1944, her Father, Bernard Wernert was killed when his glider crashed on a mission. Patty grew up, joined the Peace Corps, and at 22, spent two precious years in the Philipppines. From there, she went to Cambodia, where she was the sound person for a CBS News crew covering the Vietnam War. She moved to Washington for a time, then finally “home” to Louisville. Proud of her family, she was always the one getting everyone together. She and her Mother made the trip of a lifetime to Ireland, and on the 50th anniversary of D-Day, she retraced Bernie’s footsteps to the beaches of Normandy and Omaha, and to the airfield where he died. We’re happy that they’re together now.
Anthony (Tony) Chiarello was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, served his country in his beloved Marine Corps, and passed away at the age of 65, after a seven-week illness. Tony was a graduate of The College of New Jersey with a batchelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After his service in the Marines, Tony worked for the State of New Jersey, ending 35 years of service as chief construction official for the Division of Building and Construction. Tony and his wife, Jane had a son and two daughters and following retirement, moved to St. Augustine, Florida, where Tony became an active and involved member of the community. Tony was with us to honor and remember his Father, PVT Dominick John Chiarello, 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division, KIA on Thanksgiving Day, ’43 during an attack on Bedestroff, near Lohr, France.
General Downing was not only one of us, as a WWII Orphan (he sat with Annie and spoke at the Seattle Conference in 1995), but he was a soldier’s soldier, a West Point graduate (1962), and beloved by all who knew him. He was a highly decorated combat veteran, having served 34 years in the Army, two tours in Vietnam, and ended his military career as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Special Forces Command, meaning the elite special operations of ALL services. Following retirement, he served in the White House as the President’s principal advisor on terrorism and served as the National Director and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism. General Downing was with us remembering his Father, PFC Frances Wayne “Bud” Downing, KIA 25 March, 1945 in one of the last major engagements of WWII.
John Earl Linville passed away Wednesday morning, July 4th, at Carle Hospital in Danville, Illinois, with his wife, Susan by his side. John was a Family Practice Physician who had fought in the Battle of the Bulge with the 75th Infantry Division in WWII. On Christmas Day of ’44, the first casualty of the company died in John’s arms and he vowed to dedicate his life to helping others,which in part began a long association with the Danville VA Hospital. John is survived by Susan, three daughters: Kathleen, Elaine, and Mary; son, John; ten grandchildren, and his dog, Kohleen. Consensus is that Susan’s Dad, 1LT James F. Nichols, Jr. was around to welcome John home.
AWON Member Bob Bolin is remembered by his wife, Carla, son Robert, and daughter Jennifer, following a long fight with Multiple Myeloma. Bob was a Navy veteran and had served in Vietnam aboard the carriers USS Forestal and USS Randolph. He was a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in geology, was an avid sports fan, especially of the Indianapolis Colts and of the Indiana University basketball and football teams. He had retired in 2002 from his position as a Senior Field Representative for ISO Insurance Services. His hobbies included geology, history, and gardening, and was among us to remember his Father, Robert H. Bolin.
Brian Morris was the son of Tommy and Barbara Morris of Ventura, husband of Tara, father of Iris Jewel, and Grandson of Bernard Lee Morris, 279th Replacement Company, 85th ID. Brian had been a Senior Probation Officer in San Marcos, CA at the time of his untimely death from a fluke windpipe blockage. Brian held a degree in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University and worked with juveniles. Because of the positive effect he had on so many lives, he’ll be remembered by his colleagues as the epitome of what a probation officer should be. Ironically, Tommy notes that both his son and his father share the initials BLM, both died in
February (11 Feb 45 and 16 Feb 07), both were 5’7″ and of slender build. Tommy and Barbara know that they are together now.
AWON Member, former Board Member and AWON Accountant Gary Shields passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 from a torn aorta, barely 16 months following the tragic auto accident that took his beloved wife, Gloria, whose own remembrance appears lower on this page. We’ll remember Gary fondly for his even disposition, for his ready smile, for his untold hours of professional service to AWON in his financial and Board capacities, and for his love of Gloria. Gary leaves his children, April Williams and Robb Shields, two Brothers, Jim and Leroy and the memory of his Father, PVT James Charles Shields, KIA 5 Feb 1945 in Olongado, Luzon, Philippines. We’ll deeply miss you, Gary, as you missed your Father and your wife.
AWON Member Robert L. (Bubba) Rutledge, son of Pvt. Robert L. Rutledge, Plot D, Row 7, Grave 21, Margraten, Holland, and brother of AWON member, Ginger Rutledge Gregory passed away on August 27, 2006 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Above, “Bubba”, age 2, saluted his dad in 1944, and again on August 27, 2006 as he joined him in eternal life in heaven. Bubba was born May 16, 1941 in Lumpkin, GA. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, one son, Robert Stacey (Sandy), two grandchildren, Robert Taylor Rutledge and Rebekah Jane Rutledge, his mother, Marguerite Cannington Rutledge Hamner, a sister, Ginger Rutledge Gregory, and two brothers, Rusty Hamner and Jim Hamner.
Duane Heisinger passed away on Monday, May 1, 2006 after a valiant fight with Cancer. Duane was an Annapolis graduate, USNA Class of 1956 and author of “Father Found” — about the man he was with us to honor and remember — MAJ Samuel Lawrence Heisinger. Duane’s Father died on a Japanese Hellship, the Enoura Maru 12 Jan 1945. Duane was a presenter in San Diego, where the picture above was taken — and he’s been a friend and Brother to many, many here. Now he’s found his Father.
Grace Ingersoll passed away unexpectedly over the weekend of 10/14/05. Grace was a loyal member of the AWON family. Pictured above at an AWON gathering in Olympia, Washington, Grace was from Seattle, and was with us for the friendships, comraderie, and in honor of her Father, LT Royal Rodney Ingersoll II, USN, who was killed at his battle station on the USS Hornet (CV8) during the battle of Midway, 4 June, 1942. He was buried at sea. We’ll miss you, Grace, as you missed your Dad.
George Henry Zatko passed away in Biloxi after a courageous fight with cancer. He is terribly missed by his wife, Jean, and by so many AWONers with whom he had corresponded so faithfully. He was with us to remember his Father, SGT George Joseph Zatko, 103rd Division, 410th RCT, Co. B, KIA 29 November 1944. George’s abiding wish had been to be with us and to meet us and to celebrate our Fathers’ service in San Antonio. George may just be there when we all arrive. Till then, we’ll miss you, George.
Gloria Hunt Shields, wife of former AWON Board Member and current AWON Accountant, Gary Shields, was killed in a tragic automobile accident on August 10, 2005. It wasn’t her fault. An attendee at several AWON conferences with Gary, she was known (and will be deeply missed) by many among us. There’s also a picture of Gloria on Page 17 of the Winter, ’02 issue of The Star.
Charles Chibitty was the last Comanche Code talker. He served with 17 other Oklahoma Comanches attached to the 4th Infantry Division. He died in Tulsa after a long illness. Just out of the picture above is Paula Baker, who met Mr. Chibitty in 2001.
Nancy leaves her Sister, AWON member Pat Behan Armstrong, and both honor their Father, Commander Austin Behan, U.S.S. Pensacola CA24, who was killed near Iwo Jima on 17 February 1945. Nancy was 11 when it happened. She’ll be missed by her Sister, Pat, and by all of us.
Andrea was born in Whitestone, NY and is remembered by her daughter. She was a CPA and was a graduate of the University of Colorado. She had joined AWON in 1998, and remembered her Father, PVT Andrew Timoshuk, who was KIA on 24 October 1944 near the San Pablo Airport, Leyte, in the Philippines.
Judy is remembered by her Husband, William, and is Daughter of T-5 Elmer Walker Coy, U.S. Army. She’ll be missed by all of us in AWON.
Janice was born in Richmond, MO, and was educated at Southwest Baptist College and had been the Director of the Ray County Library (27 years) prior to retiring. She was a member and elder at the Richmond First Christian Church, a member of the DAR, and an honorary member of the 3rd Infantry, with whom her Father had served during WWII. Janice was with us in remembering her Father, PVT Carl Cox, Sr. who was KIA 1 Feb 45 in the Colmar Pocket and buried at Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France.
Jack was with us to honor his Father, SGT Grant William Giese 71st Infantry Regiment 44th Division, KIA 19 December 1944 in France on the Maginot Line. Jack was from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and he will be missed by his AWON Brothers and Sisters.
Mandy LeGrand was the Daughter of Penny and Steve LeGrand, and Granddaughter of 1 LT Charles Edward Hopkins, 98th BS 11th BG HQ AF B-24.
George was the Father of AWON Board Member Kathy Le Comte Lupton, and the Son of S/SGT George John Le Comte, 780th BS, 465th BG, 15th AF, B-24 Mission Belle. George, Jr. was with the U.S. Army, 3rd Infantry Division, 1964-1966.
Jacqueline was the daughter of Truman Luther Van Tine, KIA 18 December 44 in the Battle of the Bulge.
Damon was a Yale graduate and a creative genius, many felt, having pioneered many of the underpinnings of what we know today as computer graphics. A legacy that is much to the benefit of AWON, even as computer graphics help to remember our Fathers, as we remember Damon. Our thoughts are with Damon’s wife, Linda in Santa Rosa.
Departed AWON siblings (including their fathers) we’ll fondly remember, some for whom no pictures are available:
David Abshire (1940-2000), son of PFC William Frederick Abshire, U.S. Army
Jeanine McKenzie Allen ( -2012), daughter of TMC Lloyd C. McKenzie
Betty Rhodes Ayers (1944-1999), daughter of 1st LT Horace Watts “Dusty” Rhodes, Army Air Forces
Nancy Taylor Behan (11/16/33-4/26/05), daughter of CMDR Austin Behan, U.S. Navy
Cecilia Spencer Blankenbaker, daughter of SGT Lynwood F. Spencer, U.S. Army
Thomas Allen Bennett ( -2/3/13), son of PVT Sydney Worthington Bennett, U.S. Army
Barbara Brod Bonin (1935-2002), daughter of 1st LT Elmer Lee Brod, U.S. Army
Douglas George Cromarty (1940-2013), son of PFC Geoge G. Cromarty, U.S. Army
COL Jack O’Dell Forgy, son of LTC Percy O. Forgy, KI 7/27/44, U.S. Army
Gary Harshbarger Hamilton (1944-2002), son of LT Albert Theodore Harshbarger, U.S. Navy
Barbara Halverson Henry (1944-2014), daughter of 1LT Kenneth V. Halverson, U.S. Army Air Corps
Ron Hoffman ( -2001), son of (Father information to come)
Ruby Heady ( -10/13), daughter of PVT Roy Edward McDowell, U.S. Army
Duane Heisinger (-May 1, 2006), son of LT COL Samuel L. Heisinger, U.S. Navy
Leonard Isacks (1936-2002), son of 1LT Leonard Smith Isacks, KIA 2/21/45, Iwo Jima
Michael R. Kindig (1940-2010), son of Major Earl R. Kindig, KIA 2/7/44, Papua New Guinea
Marcia Emma Sachs Kudler (1932-2003), daughter of CPT Harold Melvin Sachs, U.S. Army
Jack C. Langston (1934-2002), son of PVT Carroll E. Langston, U.S. Army
George J. Le Comte. Jr., son of S/SGT George John Le Comte, KIA 12/11/44, 15th AF
Dixie Maurer-Clemons (?-11/8/11) daughter of SGT Robert Henry, Kisor
Jane McGirr Johnson (-2/25/13), daughter of SSG Russell Blake McGirr, U.S. Army
John C. McTolf (-2015), son of 2LT John C. McTolf, U.S. Army
Gaeton Messina (- 2015), daughter of 1LT Andrew Loog
Tommy Morris, grandson of Bernard Lee Morris, 279th Replacement Company, 85th ID
Jerry Don Morrison (1938-2002), son of PFC James E. Morrison, U.S. Army
Thomas H. Morrison (8/05/41-12/24/03), son of PVT Henry A. Morrison
Rosilda Little Nichols (1927- ), daughter of Painter 1st Class James Norman Little, U.S. Navy
Wilma Harrison Nobles (6/5/55-4/27/06), daughter of SGT Lawrence Alan Harrison, 1st Marine Raider BN
Hugh Francis Powers (1945-2003), son of PFC John Walter Powers
Janice G. Cox Proffitt (?-2007), daughter of PVT Carl Cox, KIA 1/2/45, U.S. Army
Damon Rarey (1944-2002), son of CPT George W. Rarey, U.S. Army Air Corps
Richard H. Reeves (1931-2002), son of Harry Reeves, U.S. Navy
Robert L. (Bubba) Rutledge, son of Pvt. Robert L. Rutledge, U.S. Army
Peter Shaplin (1943-1995), son of CAPT Alfred C. Shaplin, U.S. Army
Gary Shields (1943-2006), son of PVT James Charles Shields, Jr., U.S. Army
Gloria Shields (1942-2005), daughter-in-law of PVT James Charles Shields, Jr., U.S. Army
Eleanor Simmonds (12/11/27-4/14/13) daughter of LTC Norman Blakesley Simmonds, Coast Artillery Corps
Joseph Welch Snopek, son of SSGT Roy Ernest Welch, Army Air Forces
David Stanek(1945-2014), son of PFC Aloysius (Al) Stanek, U.S. Army
Kathleen Swanson (8/16/44-7/16/15), daughter of CPL Edward S. Newsom, U.S. Army
Neal Thomsen ( -2012), son of LTC Alfred Thomsen, U.S. Army
Robert D. Tikkanen (1943-2011), son of PFC Henry J. Tikkanen, U.S. Army
Charlene Morris Turman, daughter of PVT Bernard Lee Morris, U.S. Army
Margie Caroleene Flynn Vaughn, daughter of TC5 Thomas K. Flynn, U.S. Army Air Corps
Patricia Ann Wernert (5/28/42-February, 2010), daughter of Bernard Wernert, U.S. Army
Judy Coy Woods (7/5/44-11/8/04), daughter of T-5 Elmer Walker Coy, U.S. Army
George Henry Zatko (6/29/42-8/26/05), son of George Joseph Zatko, U.S. Army
Thanks to Doni Troglio for supplying the pictures of Jack Langston, Gloria Shields, Robert Rutledge and the list of many of the other departed. Thanks to Alece Egan and Doni both for supplying the picture of Barb. Thanks to Annie Mix for providing the picture of Pete, and to Gerry Morenski for providing the pictures of Bob Tikkanen and Doug Cromarty. The Cromarty photo was taken by our old friend Joost Claassens. The Stanek picture was submitted by Rik Peirson, and the Henry picture was submitted by Hospice Compassus. Thanks to Nancy Johnson and Patty Temte for supplying a picture and background on Kathy Swanson.
We’ll be happy to post pictures of any of those above.