The marble memorial at the Seventh Street Complex in John Day, Oregon, may seem faint in contrast to that of our Nations capitol, but faint it is not. Laying 'neath the shadows of three flags over the dessert, the names of thrity-four of America's bravest men have been etched in stone and laid to rest, in this earth's finest sands of time.

Below are brief histories taken from the Sept., 1997 issue of The Blue Mountain Eagle. "Some stories are longer than others because of a lack of information."

WORLD WAR I

Golden A. Collins: Pvt. Golden Collins of Monument died in action in World War I.

Henry N. Gambil: In 1918, Pvt. Henry Gambil of Mt. Vernon died in battle during the Great War. Gambil was born in 1893. Services were held at Prairie City Cemetery.

Arthur E. Glover: Dayville resident "Ted" Arthur Glover was killed during combat on Nov. 10, 1918; one day before the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. He was 29.

Glover was born Feb. 24, 1889, in Chillicothe, Mo., to Jesse and Margaret Glover. The family moved to Oregon when he was a young boy.

When Glover was in his mid-20s, he enlisted in the service. He was killed the following year in France and buried where he fell.

After the armistice was signed, two friends of Glover's went to find his grave so they could ship his body back to Oregon. He was laid to rest in the Fossil Cemetery.

Arthur Glover hasn't been forgotten.

The park in Fossil is called The Arthur Glover Park. The American Legion Post in Fossil also is named in his honor.

Bert J. "Bear" Saunders: Bert Saunders of Long Creek died in battle in 1918 during his stay in France. Saunders was a member of an artillery unit. He received a Purple Heart.

Saunders was born in February 1893 to James and Sabina Saunders. He worked on cattle ranches while growing up, and when the war started, he joined the service.

He is buried at the Long Creek Cemetery.

Ellis Tracy: It was a fateful day in September 1918 when Irving Ellis Tracy became the first person from Grant County to be killed in war.

He died during combat Sept. 05, 1918.

Tracy was born in Canyon City Dec. 17, 1895, to Jim and Ella Tracy. He spent his childhood in Grant County. He graduated from Canyon City High School in 1914 and was an honor roll student.

After graduating, Tracy worked on his father's ranch in Bear Valley. It is now known as the Tidewater Ranch. One day after work, he rode his horse into town to enlist. He was sent to Bremerton, Wash., for training.

The first ship Tracy served on was the Arizona. He was later moved to the USS Mt. Vernon.

Fireman 1st Class Tracy left with the first group of men sent to France. Tracy was making his 10th trip to France to pick up injured men and bring them back to the United States when his ship was hit by a German torpedo off the coast of France. Tracy was one of the 33 men killed. He was 22.

Services were held at Canyon City Cemetery on Oct. 3. Tracy has a brother named Merle who fought in World War II. Merle Tracy is currently living in Harper and is 87. A niece, Pat Larkin of John Day, is still living. She is the daughter of Wallace Tracy, Ellis' brother.

The American Legion Post in John Day is named in Tracy's honor for his courage and valiant efforts in the Great War.

WORLD WAR II

William T. Coomler: 2nd Lt. William Coomler was killed in action.

Thomas Jack Cozad: One of the largest crowds ever to assemble at Driskill's Memorial Chapel gathered to mourn the death of Pvt. Thomas Cozad of Canyon City.

Cozad was killed June 23, 1944, when an Army truck overturned near Pollack, La. He was 18.

Cozad was born in Burns Aug. 19, 1925, to Rodney and Lillian Cozad. He lived in Burns until he was 11. His family moved to Canyon City.

He was an active student. At Grant Union High School, he was known as the guy with the blue Ford that had youths hanging off every part of the car. He lettered three times in football and was the team captain.

The day after winning Grant Union's state football championship game in 1943, Cozad enlisted in the Army.

He went to Douglas, Utah, first. Then he went to Camp Roberts, Calif., followed by Ft. Benning, Ga. Finally, he was transported to Camp Livingston in Louisiana where the accident occurred.

Cozad was popular among his classmates. His morals and standard of living were high, and he had a keen sense of humor and sound judgment.

Eugene Cummings, Jr.: Eugene Cummings, Jr. died on Leyte Island on Nov. 24, 1944. He attended Grant Union High School in 1940.

His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Cummings Sr., were Grant County residents.

Joseph Henry Foss: Joseph Foss was born June 28, 1922, to Albert and Laura Foss in Courtrock, near the Fox Valley. He spent his childhood around Monument and Hamilton.

When he was 18, he moved to Boise to work for a construction company owned and operated by his uncle. He worked there until joining the Marines. Foss went on active duty April 7, 1943.

Pvt. 1st Class Foss was killed when he and his men were attacked on Iwo Jima. He died Feb. 19, 1945. He was 22.

Foss received many awards, including a Purple Heart, a Presidential Unit Citation ribbon bar with two stars, an Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and a World War II Victory Medal.

Foss is buried in Hawaii.

Vern R. Haggerty: Pvt. 1st Class Vern Haggerty died from wounds received in combat.

Edward Mairon Hoare: Edward Hoare of Canyon City became Grant County's first casualty of World War II on Sept. 29, 1942, when he died in a parachuting accident with the 507th Parachute Infantry. He was 26.

Hoare was born Nov. 12, 1915, in Portland to Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Hoare. In 1927, his family moved to Canyon City. He attended elementary school and Grant Union High School, where he graduated.

Hoare worked as postmaster in Canyon City. He resigned in May 1942 to enter the service.

He was stationed in Ft. Benning, Ga., where the accident occurred.

Hoare was a brilliant young man of unimpeachable character and highly esteemed by everyone who knew him.

David G. Jones: Pvt. 1st Class David Jones was killed in action.

Jesse R. Moore: Word came to Grant County from the War Department on March 19, 1945, that Sgt. Jesse Moore was killed in action in Luzon.

Moore was a resident of Mt. Vernon.

He had received a Silver Star in 1943 for gallantry at Guadacanal. Under heavy machine gun fire, he charged a Japanese pillbox and knocked it out of action.

Leroy R. Payne: Sgt. Leroy Payne was killed in action.

Glen L. Pierce: Pvt. 1st Class Glen Pierce of Austin died in an Italian hospital on July 2, 1944.

He was suffering from a wound he received June 3.

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Pierce of Austin.

Frederick H. Radigan: Frederick H. Radigan, son of late Arthur J. Radigan of John Day, was on a list of missing soldiers in 1943.

Frank Reed: Pvt. 1st Class Frank Reed was killed in action in Germany in 1945.

David A. Rementeria: The Secretary of War announced April 04, 1944, that 2nd Lt. David Rementeria of Canyon City died in a plane crash in England on March 24. He was 27.

He had completed 17 missions over Europe and led several raids on Berlin. He was a member of the 442nd Bomb Squad of the 305th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force.

Rementeria was born Feb. 7, 1916, in Hagerman, Idaho, to Mr. and Mrs. Benito Rementeria. He spent his childhood in Idaho. After he graduated from high school, he attended Boise Junior College. He transferred to the University of Oregon and received a law degree.

He became a member of the Oregon Bar in June 1941. He then moved to Canyon City where he formed a partnership with Roy Kilpatrick, called Kilpatrick and Rementeria.

Rementeria retired from practicing law temporarily in June 1942 to take Air Force training.

He married Grace Kingsley in Redding, Calif., on May 16, 1943. Soon after, he was sent overseas.

He is buried in Cambridge, England.

Curren Francis Stoneman: Curren Stoneman was killed in action on Jan. 21, 1945, in the Pacific Ocean. He was 22.

Stoneman was born March 16, 1922, to Mahion and Audra Stoneman in Hardman, about 25 miles south of Heppner. He spent most of his childhood there, receiving an education at the Lone Rock School until his family moved to Heppner.

Curren helped work his family's ranch while growing up and also worked as an ironworker. He helped support his family because his father only had one leg.

Curren enlisted in the Naval Air Force in 1942, not only to do his duty, but also to receive an education. On Jan. 16, 1945, things drastically changed.

When his plane landed on the USS Hancock (commonly called the Hannah), the ammunition aboard his plane blew up killing Stoneman and 49 other men.

Robert W. Thornell: Pvt. Robert Thornell died while serving in the war. His body was never found.

Frank A. Tople: Sgt. Frank Tople died as a result from wounds he received in action.

Tillmon H. Waller: Pvt. 1st Class Tillmon Waller was killed in action.

John B. Weatherford: Pvt. John Weatherford was killed in combat on Jan. 04, 1945. He was seriously wounded in Belgium and later died in a hospital in France. He was 19.

Weatherford was born Nov. 30, 1925.

Mark E. Weldin: Pvt. 1st Class Mark Weldin died in combat when he was hit by shrapnel on an island off Japan's coast.

He was born Oct. 23, 1918, in Merriman, Nebraska, to Fred and Maude Weldin. Weldin attended school in Nebraska until he moved to Bates, where he worked for the Bates sawmill. After working at the mill for about six years, he joined the Army.

Weldin had just married when he left for the war. He often enjoyed dancing.

Dallas Vancil: Cpl. Dallas Vancil died Jan. 13, 1945, on the island of Leyte. He was part of Gen. Douglas McArthur's attempt to retake the Philippines.

His mother, Rosa Vancil, was informed of his death by a wire from the War Department. He was 30.

Vancil was born in Athena on July 29, 1914. He attended Canyon City Elementary School. He lived in Canyon City until he enlisted in July 1942.

Before landing on Leyte Island Vancil had been involved in the New Guinea operations. He had been in the service for almost three years.

THE KOREAN WAR



Jerald Hankins: Pvt. 1st Class Jerald Hankins died in Changdo-Myon, Korea, March 29, 1953. He was 24.

Hankins was inducted into the Marine Corps on April 21, 1952, and was sent overseas Oct. 22nd.

He was born Sept. 11, 1928, in Prairie City to Mr. and Mrs. M.R. Hankins. He graduated from Grant Union High School in 1947.

The information of his death was delivered by telegram to John Day.

Hankins was survived by his wife, Mae Jeanette Keerins Hankins, and a 7-month-old daughter, Kathy Lea.

Besides his parents, wife and daughter, he also was survived by one brother, Henry, and a sister, Helen.

James Alfred Lilly: On June 16, 1952, Pvt. 1st Class James Lilly was killed in action. Lilly was a resident of Long Creek before joining the Marine Corps. He was the second Grant County resident to die in the Korean War.

Neal Avery McCumber: Neal McCumber of Mt. Vernon died March 25, 1955, in Subic Bay, Philippines.

McCumber, who was in the Mobile Construction Battalion, was fatally injured when he backed into an electrical wire while building the Enlisted Men's Club in Subic Bay. He was 20.

He was born July 22, 1934, to Frank (Dick) and Hilda McCumber in Baker. He spent most of his childhood in Mt. Vernon. He graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1953, where he lettered in baseball, basketball and boxing.

After graduation, McCumber worked at the sawmill until he enlisted in the Navy in September 1953. He went to San Diego for basic training. Because of his experience in the sawmill, he was assigned to the Construction Battalion.

McCumber was survived by his parents, three brothers, Roger, Robert and Lyle, and one sister, Millie. His brother Lyle resides in Mt. Vernon.

The new campsite where McCumber was working had a road named in his honor.

A memorial service was held in Baker at the West and Company Chapel. He is buried at Mountain Hope Cemetery.

Glen E. Smethers: Cpl. Glen Smethers of Grant County died May 26, 1952, from wounds received in battle. Smethers was the frist Grant County resident to die in the Korean War.

Kenneth Earl Wright: On July 07, 1953, Airman 2nd Class Kenneth Wright of John Day was killed in action in Korea. He was 19. Services were held Oct. 12.

Wright was the third casualty in the Korean War from Grant County.

He was born May 06, 1934, to Dallas and Lottie Wright of John Day.

Wright enlisted in the service in December 1951. He was stationed in Texas and was later sent to Topeka, Kan. From there, he was sent overseas.

He was survived by his parents and a grandmother, Mrs. Alta Wright of John Day.

VIETNAM

James William Cox: James Cox was born in Olympia, Washington, Aug. 03, 1945. His family moved to Grant County when he was still a young boy. He completed his education at the John Day Grade School and then graduated from Grant Union High School in 1964.

He was involved in baseball, football and he also participated in school plays.

After high school, Cox moved to Ontario, where he worked at a grocery store. He wasn't there very long when he decided to enlist.

He joined the Army in April 1966. He received many awards, including the best man in his company and second for outstanding trainee in his platoon.

Cox graduated from Officers Candidate School as a second lieutenant on April 28, 1967. Then he volunteered to go to Vietnam.

He was killed in action on June 05, 1968. He was the first person from Grant County to die in Vietnam. He was 22.

He was survived by his parents, one brother, one sister, four grandparents, a number of aunts, uncles and many friends.

Funeral services were provided by Driskill Memorial.

David G. Cummings: During battle in Vietnam on Feb. 26, 1969, David Cummings, a former resident of John Day, died from wounds. He was 21.

Cummings was born Feb. 01, 1948. He attended school in John Day and graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1966.

He enlisted in the Army in March 1968.

Cummings died days after he was recommended for the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for single-handedly pinning down hostile forces to allow his platoon to escape.

He was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cummings of Hillsboro, and one brother, Alvin.

Robert Noel Thompson: Robert Thompson died in battle in Vietnam on March 20, 1970; 10 days after his 20th birthday.

He was born in Prairie City to Bill Thompson, now living in Alaska, and Betty Paradis, now living in Portland.

Thompson attended school in Mt. Vernon. He graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1968, where he excelled at basketball.

Thompson attended a mechanic's trade school for five months before going to Vietnam.

He was survived by his parents, one sister, one grandfather, one grandmother, and numerous other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held March 31 by Driskill's Memorial Chapel at Canyon City Cemetery.

Thompson was given full military honors with a firing squad and a trumpeter playing "Taps."

Edward Walter Metcalf: Edward Metcalf of Prairie City died in combat in Vietnam May 22, 1971. He was 39.

Metcalf was born Feb. 26, 1932. He was the last person from Grant County to be killed in action.





1998 Roxann Gess Smith
All Rights Reserved


Return to Grant County, Oregon Home Page
Return to the "A Place Called Oregon"