2 LT Raymond C. Hopp, Serial Number O-819812

Raymond C. Hopp was born on 11 June 1923, in LaSalle, Illinois, to Fred W. and Victoria Markiewicz Hopp. His mother, Victoria, was the daughter of Peter and Agnes Widlowski Markiewicz—a couple who had left Poland about 1892 with their first child, Josephine. Raymond’s father was a driver throughout his childhood first working for American Railway Express Company for several years and then for a bakery, possibly the one owned by Henry Hopp in Spring Valley. When Raymond was about 10 years old, his father became a driver for the LaSalle Fire Department. By that time, his parents had a…

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SGT Robert James Hetherington, Serial No. 36000529

Robert James Hetherington was born on either Christmas eve or Christmas day in 1908 in LaSalle, Illinois, to Thomas and Eleanor “Ella” Hanley Hetherington. His parents, both in their early to mid-twenties, married in October the year before his birth. His father, Thomas Hetherington, worked as a miner for the LaSalle County Carbon Coal Company in LaSalle. Robert’s grandfather, John Hetherington, worked at the same company as a supervisor. He had been there about 40 years and retired when Robert was about 16. However, the next year, in 1925, Robert’s grandfather died of a stroke. Soon after, Thomas, Robert’s father,…

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PVT John Walter Gorczynski, Serial Number 36775718

John Walter Gorczynski was born on 18 September 1920, in LaSalle, Illinois. He was the youngest child of John and Barbara Klimala Gorczynski. His father, John Sr. had immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1909. Two years later John’s mother, Barbara, left Poland for America with her two-year-old son Wladyslaw (Walter) to join her husband in LaSalle. By 1920, John’s parents had at least five more children including John Jr. John Sr. was working in the furnace area of the local zinc works, and he and his wife had bought a home at 222 Sterling street in the…

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PFC Walter Bernard Gielow, Service No. 36327153

Walter Bernard Gielow was born on 29 September 1912, in LaSalle, Illinois, to Fred and Annie Neidemeier Gielow. Walter’s father Fred was a miner who was born in an area in Germany lying about 75 miles north of Berlin. In 1887, when Fred was 23, he and his brother Carl left Germany for America. The next year Fred’s parents, Heinrich and Alexandrina Gielow, arrived with another brother Henry Jr. and his family. Fred Gielow married Annie Neidemeier—a local girl born in Peru—on 30 September 1891. It’s unknown if Walter’s maternal grandmother, Sophia Niedemeier was alive at this time—his maternal grandfather…

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SGT Carl John Gielow, Serial Number 36485740

Carl John Gielow was born on 16 April 1921, in LaSalle, Illinois, to Carl Louis and Rose Kierski Gielow. Carl’s parents had married the year before on 16 September 1920. Gielow Sr. was a teamster at Matthiessen and Hegeler Zinc Company, the same job held by his father-in-law., John Kierski. Three of Carl Gielow Jr.’s grandparents were immigrants from Germany, and one was from Poland. All had settled in the U.S. in the 1880s, and Carl most likely would have known all four of them. His paternal grandparent Carl Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Gielow died in 1928 when Carl was 6…

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PVT Stanley Casimir Frackowiak, Service No. 36319811

Stanley Casimir Frackowiak was born on March 11, 1914, in LaSalle, Illinois, to Stanley and Julia Malek Frackowiak. Both of his parents were from Poland. Stanley Frackowiak Sr. left for America when he was in his 20s. accompanied by his uncle, Francis Michalek, and arrived in Baltimore in 1901. Julia came to America in 1883 when she was 2 years old with her parents, Johan and Marianna Malek, and two sisters, Josephine and Katherine. When Stanley was born his parents had been married for over 11 years and already had three sons: Joseph, Frank (Stanley), and John (Michael). His father…

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S SG Gilbert Edward Amos, Serial No. 36430298

Gilbert Edward Amos was born at home on October 22, 1921, in Peru, Illinois, to Edgar Robert and Bertha Wobrock Amos. Edgar, who was crippled since birth, worked as a bookkeeper at Vollmer Furniture Store—a local business owned by his mother’s family. Bertha also worked as a bookkeeper, but at L&B Wobrock—her family’s dry goods store in Peru. Throughout his life, Gilbert lived with and close to his extended family. In 1927, when Gilbert was six years old, his mother passed away. With his father apparently unable to care for him, his aunt and uncle, Lena and Fred Sibley, were…

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