by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
While many names on the World War II Honor Roll will always remain a mystery to me, there are many names that I remember and still more names of men I actually knew. This series of articles started out with the war time letters of Herschel & Vivian Elliott, but it has led me to tons of research and memories regarding the 146 names on the Honor Roll.
Some time ago, I wrote in The Voice* about Dorothy and LouBell Becker; Army nurses and the only two women on the list. Their brother George also made the list along with others that were connected with Sni-A-Bar Farms. Although I didn’t know them, I certainly heard my mother and father refer to them and the time these men and women spent living and working at the farm.
I have also written about Harold Costigan who survived the Bataan Death March. His youngest brother Dale survived the War, but suffered from rheumatic heart disease, the result of the fever contracted while in the service. He was only 38 when he died.
Some of the names on the Honor Roll were brothers, but many were brothers-in law, or cousins.
Frank and Hubert Sebolt were cousins. Frank was a bombardier on the B-17 fighter planes during the war. Afterward he rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel in the US Army Air Force Reserves.
Hubert served in the Army Signal Corps from 1943 to 1946. He returned and continued his education at the University of Missouri. Dr. Sebolt practiced Veterinary Medicine in Buckner, Missouri, until his retirement in 1993.
James and Ernest Reeder were brothers. I don’t remember James. After WW II, he went to Alaska. During the war he achieved the rank of sergeant. He died in 1987 and is buried in the National Cemetery in Sitka, Alaska. I did know Ernie. He was an Army mechanic and when he returned home he headed up the work at Robert’s Salvage Yard in Grain Valley. They dismantled and salvaged parts from planes, Army tanks, trucks, jeeps and other vehicles used during the war.
Harold and Roland Frantz were Grain Valley graduates in 1932 and 1934. Roland left his job at Manor Baking Co. and served in the Army during 1941 and 1942. After the war, he owned Frantz’ Grocery Store in Grain Valley until it closed in the late 1960s. He died in 1995.
His older brother Harold served in the Navy from April 1944 until the war ended and he came home in October of 1945. After many years living in Odessa, he and his wife Dorothy came back to Grain Valley in the 1980s. Harold died in 1994.
Two more brothers I did know were Carrol and Jim Hutchings. William “Carrol” was the oldest of Earl and Edith (Tate) Hutchings eight children. With five boys, only Richard was too young to join one of the services during World War II. The Hutchings had two Army sons, John and Robert, and two Navy sons, Carrol and Jim.
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the two Navy brothers were on separate ships docked at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. Following the attack by Japan, it was over three months before either of the brothers knew if the other had survived.
For every name on the Honor Roll, there is a story. If you know any of their stories I would love to have you share it with the Historical Society. I’m here on Wednesdays!
*The Voice is a monthly online newsletter which features Grain Valley history. If you would like to receive a copy send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to include you!
Everyone is also welcome to attend our meetings!
7:00 PM, Thursday, September 24, 2020, at the Historical Society Building, 506 Main Street.
Speaker: Pam Bussell Topic: Fort Osage & Sibley, the early settlers