On this first day of 2019 I’m honoring the World War II veterans whom I’ve interviewed and who passed away in 2018.
Believe me, this is not a blog post I enjoy putting together. Some of the ones I’ve interviewed like Evelyn Brown (SPAR) have blessed me with friendship since I interviewed her a few years ago. My life feels emptier without her and the others.
However, listing the World War II veterans who have died in 2018 seems honorable, so here goes in alphabetical order. Those whose stories are included in my books will have the book title at the end:
James ‘Andy’ Anderson (Army, 6/15/23-3/1/18)
I heard about this soldier from the World War II Roundtable group in Indianapolis. Andy is the only veteran I’ve known to be used in nerve gas testing by the American military. (They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans)
Paul Bandelier (Navy, 9/28/21-5/2/18)
A very sweet corpsman was honored by his family’s presence at my book launch in November. (We Gave Our Best: American WWII Veterans Tell Their Stories)
Louis Benedict (Navy, 7/10/21-9/4/18)
A friend introduced me to this sailor, which I’m always grateful for. He had an interesting story which some college students from Taylor University put into a book.
Evelyn Brown (Coast Guard, 2/28/25-12/19/18)
Evie, as I discovered she was nicknamed, loved working at the Coast Guard Academy as a secretary. She wrote me many encouraging notes in beautiful handwriting, all of which I have kept (I keep all of my correspondence from my veterans). The latest card from her was a Christmas card that arrived days before her death. The photo at the top is of her being sworn into the Coast Guard on her 20th birthday. (We Gave Our Best: American WWII Veterans Tell Their Stories)
Willis Colburn (Army Air Corps, 9/4/21-8/7/18)
He is the only veteran so far whom I’ve interviewed who served in 3 wars – World War II, Korea, Vietnam. His hat which spells this out surely was one of only a few made that listed these three conflicts. (We Gave Our Best: American WWII Veterans Tell Their Stories)
Charlie Conrad (Navy, 7/17/27-2/9/18)
We met at a veteran picnic. Charlie made friends of everyone. He encouraged me to interview one of his friends, Bart Corricelli, whose story appeared in my third book. (They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans)
Bob Current (Navy, 9/14/20-8/1/18)
A friend introduced us. Sadly, my book with his story was published a few months after his death so he didn’t get to see it. (We Gave Our Best: American WWII Veterans Tell Their Stories)
Lorraine Davis (Coast Guard, 1/4/20-1/24/18)
This SPAR was a rare type –a female Coast Guard officer in the Midwest! That meant she had graduated from college prior to enlisting. How people found money to put themselves through college during the Depression is a marvel to me. She must have been very intelligent as she was put in charge of a cryptography, or code-breaking, group. (They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans)
Oren Huffer (Army Air Corps, 4/12/24-1/27/18)
This quiet man carried out a dangerous job during the war—he was part of a glider crew. Just about the only to land a glider was with a crash! My husband picked him up for our book launch and from the photos we took of him I think he enjoyed himself. (They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans)
Arthur Krueckeberg (Army, 7/17/24-5/22/18)
This soldier worked in a mobile laundry section in the island jungles of the Pacific. It was interesting to hear about how they sterilized the linens from the field hospitals to prevent infection and contagion from malaria in primitive conditions.
Ruth Licking (Army WAC, 2/14/21-9/29/18)
Ruth was one of the first female World War II veterans I interviewed. As such, I didn’t realize what a treasure she was. “I believed the good Lord intended me to be a soldier,” she said. She fulfilled the ideal soldier position so much that the other WACs voted her Miss Victory—this became part of a story I wrote about her for America in World War II Magazine. Ruth lived near me and we visited often. I miss her greatly as a friend who was always glad to see me and supported my efforts. (We Fought to Win: American World War II Veterans Share Their Stories)
Jim Limp (Army, 10/26/26-4/9/18)
It was hard for me to picture this friendly man as a DI (drill instructor). He would have had to be tough on his new recruits to toughen them for combat. Most guys hated their DIs until they got into battle. Then they understood the DIs acted the way they did to help save their lives.
James Meyer (Coast Guard, 2/7/25-8/7/18)
I introduced myself to this Coast Guardsman while he was dining at Applebee’s on Veteran’s Day (they offer delicious free meals to veterans). He was the first Coast Guardsman I had found and it was a pleasure to get to know him and his sweet wife. (They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans)
Gordon Smith (Army, 1/7/24-12/22/18)
Another referral led me to this man who told me about growing up during the Depression in a large family in South Dakota before serving in the military- amazing how people pulled together, no matter the tough situations.
I guess the message from this post is to appreciate the ones around you because there is no guarantee they will be here tomorrow.
Thank a veteran for his/her service. We would not be free to do what we like in this country without them having laid the foundation.