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WW II Honor Roll at Lake Township High School


Lake Township Roll of Honor dedicated June 6, 1943

Well before the end of World War II in 1945 America dedicated “Rolls of Honor” to servicemen who had entered the armed forces. These were sponsored by communities, service organizations, religious institutions and business organizations.

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Lake Township High School

In 1943, the mid-point of the War, honor roll dedications were made on January 23 by West Wyoming Borough; by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Shavertown, on March 28; on Palm Sunday, April 18, by Kingston Borough in honor of 1,600 men and women in service; to 28 members of First Baptist Church in Pittston on May 23; on June 6 to another 1,600 service people from the Heights section of Wilkes-Barre; and on September 12 to 150 members of the Warren Street Ukrainian Church in Berwick.

On December 7, 1943, the second anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Williams Bread and Cake Factory in Wyoming Valley published in the Times-Leader an honor roll of over 135 employees in the U.S. armed services. On December 12, 1943, the Lee Park section of Hanover Township unveiled its honor roll which included two brothers, John J. Pleban, Jr., and Chester J. Pleban, who both left Bucknell Junior College (now Wilkes University) to enter the U.S. Army.

In mid-year on Sunday, June 6, 1943, Lake Township dedicated its honor roll at the Lake Township High School to 116 township residents who were in the service. There was only a modest notice of the event in the Wilkes-Barre Record on June 5, 1943:

 

Lake Township Will Dedicate Honor Roll
Lake Township Honor Roll will be dedicated at 2 tomorrow afternoon on the high school grounds. The board containing the names of 116 youths who have left for the armed forces was a gift of the Township School Board.

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Lake Township High School
Foreground, Roll of Honor

If weather permits the ceremonies will be held on the school lawn, otherwise in the high school auditorium.
Herman Kern will be master of ceremonies, and invocation will be by Rev. David Morgan; Dr. C. Murray Turpin, former congressman, will be principal speaker. Benediction will be by Rev. J. J. O’Leary.
Alderson Girl Scouts of America will have the flag ceremony which will include raising the flag, the pledge of allegiance to the flag, and singing.
Music will be furnished by the Lake Township High School Orchestra.
The school glee club will sing several selections under the direction of Edward J. Roderick, and Miss Mary Delaney will be soloist for the orchestra. War Mothers will be introduced, and the call to colors will be blown by Francis Shiner.

 

Dr. C. Murray Turpin (1878-1946) was a dentist from Forty Fort. As a congressman a decade earlier he sponsored legislation to make Ricketts Glen a national park. The plan failed due to financial issues but Ricketts Glen did become a State park on August 3, 1943, one month after the Lake’s honor roll dedication. Two weeks before the dedication the Lake Township school system had to cancel a community concert because of a War-time ban on “pleasure driving.” But band rehearsals at the high school continued in preparation for the June 6 dedication.

The honor roll was erected in front of the entrance to the Lake Township High School (now the site of the Lake-Noxen Elementary School). The 116 names on the six rows of the honor roll were:

 

Ashburner, William
Avery, Robert
 
Balavage, Joseph
Balavage, Julian
Bray, Charles
Bray, George
Brin, Andrew
Brin, Charles
Brin, John
Brislin, Herman
Bryant, Burton
 
Cadwalader, Thomas
Camp, Alfred M.
Crake, Alfred
Crake, Edward
Crake, Fritz
Crispell, Albert J.
Crispell, Bruce W. Jr.
Cuddy, Kenneth
Culp, Harold P.
 
Davis, Elwood W.
Davis, Kenneth
Davis, Theodore
Deater, Reynold
Delaney, Edwin
Dennis, Frank
 
Elias, Decker
Elias, Joseph
Elias, Samuel
Enders, Howard E.
Evans, Robert
Eveland, Coral
 
Farrell, Calvin
Farrell, Kenneth
Fletcher, William
Fogle, Eugene
Fox, William
 
Garrity, Joseph
Garrity, Thomas
Gaynor, William
Gosart, Arthur
Grey, Claude
 
Halowich, George
Hand, Fredrick
Hanson, Donald
Hanson, Edgar
Hanson, Robert

Hanson, Stanley
Hawley, Harold
Hebron, Clarence Jr.
Henson, Odell
Higgins, Elwood
Higgins, Lewis H.
Hoover, Elwood
Hoover, Emmett
Hoover, Perry
Hunsinger, Arthur
 
Jackson, Alfred
Jackson, Robert
Johnson, George P. Jr.
Johnson, Leo
 
Kapson, Stanley
Kent, Frank
Kern, Charles
King, Burton W.
King, Dorothy
King, Irving
King, John
Kistler, Alan Jr.
Kistler, James R.
Kistler, William
Kocher, Dean D.
Kocher, Donald
Kocher, Eugene
Kocher, Glen D.
Kocher, Glen T.
Kocher, Harold
Kocher, Jasper R.
Kocher, Kenneth K.
Kocher, Millard
Krieger, Madara
Kuchta, George
Kuhl, Ernest
Kupstas, Abdon B.
Kyttle, Howard
 
Leinthall, Franklyn
Leinthall, Walbridge
Link, John G.
London, Albert
London, George
 
Martin, James N.
Mayer, Harold E.
Mayer, Helen
McCue, Charles
McCue, Leo
McGovern, Robert
Milbrodt, John

Montross, Clarence
Murphy, James E.
 
Nienius, Victor
 
Paniczka, John
Paniczka, Joseph
Patterson, Louis
Payne, Robert
Prehatin, Stephen
Putterbaugh, Walter, Jr.
 
Root, Clarence
 
Schultz, Roy G.
Shilanski, Edward
Shilanski, John
Shiner, Paul C.
Sholtis, John
Smith, Donald
Smith, George B.
Sorber, Bertha
Sorber, Hiram
Sorchik, Benjamin
Steltz, Dorman
Stem, Edgar, Jr.
Swire, Thomas
 
Taylor, Ralph J.
Taylor, Robert
Templeton, Thomas H.
Traver, Royce
 
Urbanovitch, Edward
 
Walters, Edison
Walters, Reese
Watlock, Stephen
Watlock, William
Weber, Eric
Weber, Olin
Wetzel, Willard
Whitesell, Elwood
Whitesell, Howard
Wilcox, Fredrick E.
Wilcox, Howard
Williams, Kenneth
Williams, Richard
Wolfe, Chester
Wolfe, Floyd
 
Yeager, Anthony
Yeager, Lawrence

 

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Dorothy King, Senior Class '38
Second row, first from left

The June 6, 1943, dedication was held three days after high school’s annual commencement on June 3 for the Class of 1943. There were only 16 members of the graduating class. One senior, Edward Shilanski, received his degree in absentia since he was serving in the U.S. Navy. The principal at the time was Walter E. Roberts.

Three women were listed on the original Roll of Honor. Dorothy King (1921-2017) entered the Womens Army Corps (WACs) on March 15, 1944. She was initially stationed at Gulfport Field, Mississippi, where she met and married Frank E. Wadas. She then served with the VA in Washington, DC. In March 1944 she was sent overseas until June 1945. She then served at the Army’s Deshon General Hospital in Butler, PA, until her discharge on November 19, 1945. Dorothy and Frank Wadas were long-time members of the Harvey’s Lake Yacht Club.

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Helen L. Mayer, Junior Class '38
First row, fourth from left

Helen L. Mayer completed Lake Township High School and relocated to the Camden, New Jersey area. The daughter of Anthony and Leila Meyer at the Lake she entered the WACs on March 29, 1943. A trained machinist before the War her service role in not known. On January 16, 1946, Helen L. Mayer was among 173 Army and Navy Luzerne County personnel who were listed as discharged from service.

Bertha N. Sorber (later Archibald) (1919-1991) was from Outlet. She enlisted in the Womens Army Auxilliary Corps, predecessor of the WACs, on June 22, 1943. The active duty WACs were created on July 1. 1943, and Bertha Sorber transferred to the WACs on August 6, 1943, at Fort Oglethorpe, GA. She served with the Department of War in Washington, DC, with a T-4 (Sgt.) rank until January 20, 1946. She was also on the Roll of Honor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wilkes-Barre.

Following the War the 1947 Lake Township High School yearbook published an additional 60 names of Lake Township residents who also served in the armed services since the 1943 dedication. One, Lois Avery, was a woman. Five entered the service after V-J Day (Victory over Japan) on August 14, 1945, and are noted with an asterisk (*).

 

Lois Avery
Joseph Bombay
Kenneth Boothe *
Donald Boston
Michael Brin *
Clifford Burkhardt
Edwin Burkhardt
Raymond Burkhardt
Michael Butry
Lawrence Cornell
Clifford Crispell
Robert DeLong
Harry DeLong *
George Eckerd
Robert Eckerd
George Gordon *
Albert Gulitus
George Honeywell
Warren Hoover
Benjamin Hummel
Eugene Hummel
Loren Hummel *
Luther Hummel
Leo Johnson
Andrew Kabeschat
Dean Keller
Donald King
Roy King
Dorman Kocher
Irving Koslofsky

John Laity
Donald Lerch
Harold Martin
Elwood Matthews
George May
Clyde Mayer
Edward Milbrodt
Charles Murphy
John Murphy
Harold Shaw
Joseph Shilanski
Benjamin Smith
Daniel Smith
Charles Smith
Robert Sorber
James Sorber
George Steltz
Lawrence Steltz
Adam Stefanowicz
Stephen Stolarick
Amos Swire
Alfred Taylor
Earl Taylor
James Taylor
Emerson Weaver
Walter Wesley
James Wilson
James Wyant
Leo Yomboski
Edwin Yomboski

 

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Lois Avery, Senior
Photo Class of 1941

Lois Avery (1922-1981), noted in the 1947 supplemental Roll of Honor, was from the Alderson section of the Lake. She was a graduate of Lake Township High School and the Wilkes-Barre Business College and she attended East Stroudsburg Business College, leaving to join the WACs to train as a physical therapy aide on February 15, 1944. She served in various capacities until August 25, 1945. Active with the Lake’s Girl Scouts at Camp Wildwood before the War she continued Summers at the camp after the War. She worked at the local VA Hospital and continued volunteer services to the Back Mountain Girl Scouts.

Six Lake Township servicemen were noted in the 1947 Laketonite yearbook who lost their lives in service to their country: Francis Grey; Stanley Hanson, John Laity, James Murphy; Ray Shultz; and Edison Walters. Photos were published in the Laketonite except for Francis Grey whose photo was not available.

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Pvt. Francis W. Grey

No local news account cites the loss of Francis Grey (1920-1944). He is not listed on the original Roll of Honor nor in the 1947 supplemental listing. However, the reference is likely to Pvt. Francis W. Grey from Alderson and later from Binghamton, NY. He enlisted in September 1944 and died in action in Belgium on June 25, 1945. A member of the 325th Glider Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, he is buried at the Lorriane American Cemetery and Memorial in France.

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Second Lt. Stanley
C. Hanson

Second Lt. Stanley C. Hanson (1920-1944) entered the Army Air Corps in 1943 and received his commission at Luback Air Field. TX, and saw his first action on June 6, 1944 on D-Day. He was with the 847th Bomber Squadron, 489th Heavy Bomber Group. He was the co-pilot in a B-29 bombing mission over France when his plane was struck by flak on June 20, 1944. Hanson and nine other airman died when the plane later exploded over the English Channel. His body was never recovered and a memorial tablet to him is located at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium. He was a nephew of John E. and Lillian Hanson. John E. Hanson, founder of Hanson’s Park, was a veteran of WWI, and his two sons, Robert and Donald, are also on the Laketon Roll of Honor.

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Pvt. John Laity, Jr.

Pvt. John Laity, Jr. (1913-1945) died on January 1, 1945, while serving on Leyte Island in the Philippines. He was with the 77th Division in its medical corps and went overseas in July 1944. While he was from Edwardsville he conducted a gas station at the Outlet section of Harveys Lake prior to his service.

He is buried in the Long Island National Cemetery in Suffolk County, NY. Pvt. James E. Murphy, Jr. (1924-1944) was living at the Lake with his parents James E. Murphy and Pearl Murphy before entering the US Army. He was killed in action in France on July 10, 1944, while serving with the famed 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. He is buried in the Orcutt Cemetery in Noxen.

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Pvt. James E. Murphy, Jr.

Pfc. Roy G. Schultz (1923-1945) died on February 19, 1945. He was with the 2nd Battalion, 188th Para-Glider Infantry, and was stricken with infantile paralysis in the Philippines and died in New Guinea while waiting for transport to the United States. He is buried at the Warden Cemetery, Dallas.

Pvt. E. Edison Walters (1917-1945) attended the Outlet one-room school and Lake Township High School. He entered the service as a medical corpsman in August 1941. He trained in South Carolina, Washington and California. A member of the 152nd Infantry, 38th Division, he was killed in action on Luzon Island, Philippines, on February 1, 1945. He left a wife, Lillian, and three children, age 4 and younger. Laity and Walters died in Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s final sweep to recover the Philippines in The Battle of the Pacific. Walters is buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines.

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Pvt. Roy G. Schultz

Prior to 1912 the Lake Township school system was served by one-room schools offering grades 1-8. In the Fall 1912 the four-room Laketon School was opened along Queen of Peace road with grades 1-10 with several one-room schools still in operation. In 1913 the Laketon School expanded to grades 1-11 until it closed at the end of the 1925-26 school year.

The Lake Township High School (also called Laketon) opened in September 1926 offering grades 9-12 and lower grades called Laketon Grammar and Laketon Intermediate. For two decades smaller one room schools and a larger school at Loyalville continued to operate in the township. By the 1939-40 school year Laketon offered traditional grades 1-6 with the high school grades. The smaller schools would be closed over time and by September 1946 the two-story school at Loyalville (now a private home) closed and all township students 1-12 attended Laketon.

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Pvt. Edison Walters

In February 1960 the Lake-Lehman school announced a $1.1 million dollar plan to expand the Lake-Lehman high school with renovations; changes to Laketon to accommodate only an elementary school; and to build an elementary school at Lake-Lehman. Ground breaking at Lake Lehman occurred on October 7, 1961. On September 24, 1962, the Lake-Lehman complex was opened but at a cost of $1.661 million dollars. The Laketon High School was now an elementary school.

On Saturday, February 24, 1979, the Lake Elementary School was destroyed in an arson fire. At this time controversy had already inflamed the school. The school board had earlier proposed to demolish the school and build a modern one. Taxpayer groups wanted to remodel the school at a lesser cost. The Roll of Honor was no longer in front of the high school at the time of the fire. At an earlier time it was in questionable condition and placed in storage in the school basement and lost in the fire.

The fire was started in an effort to cover-up a burglary at the school. Police charged two young men who had also set fire to another home at the Lake at the same time. A third young man was charged with criminal conspiracy in the school fire. The two young men charged with the school incident received prison sentences in September 1979. The third person received a prison term for a burglary at a Shavertown church.

The new Lake-Noxen Elementary School, built on the site of the former school, was dedicated on May 31, 1981.

 

Copyright July 2018 F. Charles Petrillo