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…

Continue Reading

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,…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

PVT John Mathew Gerdovick, Service No. 36675870

John Mathew Gerdovick (also referred to by some family members as Gerdovich) was born in LaSalle, Illinois, on 22 June 1918, while the United States was engaged in the first World War. His parents were John and Christine Krizel Gerdovick—both immigrants from Jugoslavia who married In LaSalle on 16 November 1913. Their first child had been a daughter who they named Christine. Four more children followed John’s birth: William (Frank), Joseph (Frank), Marie, and Richard. John’s father, John Gerdovick Sr., worked in the quarry at the cement company. He had purchased a home in the southwest part of LaSalle on…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Private William R. Cosgrove, Service Number 36475123

William R. Cosgrove also known as “Mickey” was born April 9, 1924, in Peru, Illinois, to William R. and Mabel Kohr Cosgrove. At the time of his birth, his father, who was also referred to as “Tinney,” was working as a roofer. The family was living with Mabel’s mother—Anna Holsinger Kohr—and Mabel’s seven-year-old brother—Louis Kohr—at 2208 State street (now Fourth street) in Peru. Three years after Mickey was born, his parents had another child—Richard Joseph Cosgrove—on May 3, 1927. Around the time Richard, who was also known as “Dick,” was born, their father, Tinney, moved on from being a roofer…

Continue Reading

Staff Sergeant Arthur John Burkhart, Service No. 36312077

Arthur John Burkhart was born March 23, 1914, in LaSalle county, Illinois, to John Robert and Bertha Offergeld Burkhart. Both John and Bertha had been raised on Chartres street in LaSalle, also known as Airport road, and only lived a little over a mile apart. They married on November 23, 1910, and throughout their marriage had a total of seven children of which Arthur was the second born. Arthur’s grandparents on his father’s side were Robert and Sophie Meisenbach Burkhart. Robert was a farmer who had arrived in American from Germany about 1873. In addition to Arthur’s father, Robert and…

Continue Reading

T SG Anton John Budgen, Serial Number 16079863

Anton John Budgen was born on April 29, 1915, to Stanley Alex and Mary Bacevich Budgen. When Anton was born, his father Stanley was working as a miner in a coal mine—a job he held throughout his life. Stanley had been born in 1881 in Lithuania and left his country around the turn of the century to travel to America. There he met his future wife, Mary Bacevich—a young lady who also left Lithuania for America. They married in St. Ann’s Parish in Spring Valley, Illinois, soon after Mary arrived in the U.S. Stanley and Mary’s first child was a…

Continue Reading