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The Echelberger Family

These Obituaries were sent in by Mel Echelberger

Adrian O. Echelberger

"Ade" Echelberger named Vern after his 1st cousin, Vernon who drown in the Des Moines River on July 16, 1921. He was the son of Edwin "Link" Echelberger. He was a WWI vet who served in France. As fate would have it Ade's son Vern served with the Marines in the South Pacific during WWII.

Fort Dodge Messenger Dec. 27,1982
Adrian O. Echelberger, 85, Dows,Iowa

Funeral services for Adrian O. Echelberger, 85, of Dows,(IA), were held from the Presbyterian Church in Dows on Monday, Dec. 27, at 1:30 p.m. with Rev. David Saunders officiating. Burial was in Dows Fairview Cemetery.

The Willim Funeral Home in Dows was in charge of arrangements. Adrian died Thursday, December 23, at Mercy Hospital, Mason City.

He was born January 27,1897 in Lehigh,Iowa and was the son of George and Minnie Widick Echelberger. His early education was in Alexander and later in Dows.

In 1921 he was married to Fern Kughn and during their marriage he engaged in construction. In 1945 his wife died and in 1946 he formed the Dows Construction Company.

On December 11, 1949 he married Edna Wedekin at the "Little Brown Church" in Nashua. He continued in the construction business until selling and retiring in 1965.

They moved to Belmond in 1975 and on April 26 of this year, Edna died. Adrian moved back to Dows in October of this year, and was a member of Dows Senior Citizens.

He is survived by on son, Vern of Green, and one daughter Avonelle (Mrs Thomas Jetmund) of Ogden,IA.; one stepdaughter, Mary L.Dorr of Belmond; 12 grand children; 12 great grand children; one sister Mrs. Faye King of Dows. Besides his wives, Fern and Edna, he was preceded in death by his parents three brothers, two sisters, and one grandson.

Ben Echelberger

When Ben was about 1 his dad took the family and moved by covered wagon to a Neb. homestead. They drove a team of "cows" oxen?, it took one month. They lasted 2 years, losing both crops (wheat?) to grasshoppers. Jacob D., George's dad sent them money to come back to the Lehigh area. Aunt Alice (Van Valkenburg) was born (1872) while in Nebraska.

Ben, told stories that his father told him of the trip to Neb. His dad walked the whole way driving the team with a long pole with a whip on the end. The whip he would swing around and around them crack it over the oxen's head. He told of trading with the Indians and of seeing large herds of Buffalo on the prairie, which they had to kill one to eat once in a while. Later he found out it was some of the same tribe as Chief Sitting Bull's Sioux. They lived in a Sod House while there. Often trading what ever they had with the Indians who came to the door.

Ben Echelberger 74, Dies Suddenly At Lehigh home
Special to the Messenger:

LEHIGH, FEB. 2,1945----Ben Echelberger, 74, died suddenly of a heart attack at his home here at 9:45 this morning. He is survived by his wife and three children, Mrs. Aleak Kostoff of Lehigh, Ralph of Dayton, and Melvin Echelberger at home.

Funeral arrangements in charge of the Foster funeral home are incomplete pending word from out-of-town relatives.

Ben Echelberger Rites at Lehigh Sunday at 2:30
Special to the Messenger:

LEHIGH, FEB. 3,1945----Funeral services for Ben Echelberger, 74, of Lehigh, who died Friday morning at 9:45 at his home here, will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 at the Lehigh United Brethern church. The services at the church will be preceded by a brief service in the Echelberger home. The Rev. Lester Heck will officiate.

Burial will be in West Lawn cemetery Lehigh.

Survivors include Mr. Echelberger's wife Bessie, and the following children: Ralph Echelberger of Dayton, Mrs. Ermal Kostoff of Lehigh, and Melvin Benny Echelberger at home. Three grand children, two great grand children, three brothers, George of Dows, Andy of Fergus Falls, Minn., and Harley of Fertile Sackatchewan, Canada, and two sisters, Alice Van Valkenburg of Minneapolis, Minn. and Jennie Crowser of Dowling, South Dakota also survive.

Fort Dodge Messenger Obituary:

Rites Sunday at U. B. Church for Ben Echelberger, 74, of Lehigh after a short illness.

Benjamin Stephen Echelberger son of George and Julia Echelberger, was born May 2, 1870 on a farm (original Echelberger Iowa Homestead, on Brushy Creek) in Webster county three miles south of Homer, and died at the age of 74, 9 months.

He received his education in the rural schools.

In the fall of 1895 he was united in marriage to Miss Rose Ann Widick. They made their home in Lehigh where he was employed at the Clay Products Company (Campbell) and later with the Sewer Pipe and Tile company (he helped build this plant with horse and wagon)

Mrs. Echelberger passed away July 18,1923. On July 17, 1930 he was united in marriage to Bessie Fields in Fairmont, Minn. Mr. Echelberger had to retire from work about three years ago on account of failing health.

He is survived by his wife and one daughter, Mrs Ermal Kostoff, and two sons, Melvin Benny of Lehigh, and Ralph of Dayton. Three grand children, Mrs. John (Vivian) Stamschor of Dayton, Mrs. Lavern (Bernice) Fairchild of San Diego, Calif. and Marie Echelberger of Dayton, and two great grand children, Rita Marie Stamschor and Charles Ralf Fairchild. He also leaves three brothers and two sisters, George of Dows, Andy of Fergus Falls, Minn. Harley of Fertile Sackatchewan, Canada, Jennie Crowser of Dowling, South Dakota and Alice Van Valkenburg of Minneapolis, Minn

Mr. Echelberger was baptized in the United Brethern Church as a young man and was a member of the church in Lehigh. He was always kind and cheerful and made many friends. He will be greatly missed by his neighbors and in the family circle in which he played a large part.

The funeral was held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 from the U. B. Church with Rev. Lester Heck in charge. Burial was in West Lawn cemetery. There were many beautiful flowers.

Pallbearers were Dee Bryant, Russel Whipple, Charles Archabald, Wilbur Dale, Clarence Spintig, and John O'Hearn.

Charles H. Swalla

Dayton Review
Dayton Iowa May 3rd 1971

Services held for Charles H. Swalla Monday May 3:

Funeral services for Charles Henry Swalla, 63, Lehigh were held Monday, May 3 at the Lehigh United Methodist Church, Rev Roy Beisemeyer, pastor of the church, conducted the 2:00 pm service. Interment was held in the West Lawn Cemetery at Lehigh with arrangements by Bruces Funeral Home, Fort Dodge.

Mr Swalla was pronounced dead at Bethesda General Hospital Friday, April 30. He had become seriously ill at the Lehigh Lumber Company and was rushed to the hospital.

During the funeral service special organ music was presented by Tami Scott. Caring for the flowers were Mrs Frank Valashek, Mrs Vera Winders, and Mrs Vickie Ruthart. Bearers were Frank Valashek, Robert Morandi, Theodore Demitroff, Fred Vandi, Herman Larson and Kenneth Gerard.

Charles H. Swalla was born at Enterprise, Iowa and was raised and educated in the Madrid School system graduating with the class of 1928. In 1934 he married Winona Williams at Fort Dodge and the couple lived in Lehigh since that time. He had been employed at the Lehigh Lumber Company for more than 30 years.

He was a member of the Webster County Conservation Board, the Fort Dodge Elks Club, Fort Dodge Izaak Walton League, past board member of the Iowa State Association of County Conservation Boards, served on the Lehigh School Board for 18 years and was a past president of the group. He had also served four terms on the Webster County Extension Council.

Survivors include the widow Winona; two daughters, Mrs Daryl Derrig of Duncombe and Mrs Edwin Crouse of Lehigh; one son, Charles, of Albert Lea, Minn.; seven grandchildren; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Swalla of Lehigh; two sisters, Mrs IIo Dugger of Osage, Minn. and Mrs Lyle Fander of Des Monies; and one brother, Robert of Osage,Minn.

Miss Cecil Doll Echelberger

The Lehigh Valley Argus newspaper obituary May 1,1908

Miss Cecil Doll Echelberger, seven year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs George Echelberger Jr. (Geo. D.) passed away at the home of her parents in this place Wednesday morning, death being due to consumption. The child was sick with pneumonia last fall and since that time has gradually grew worse until death came to relieve her suffering. The deceased was born Dec. 27th, 1900 and lived to be 7years 4mos, and 2 days old. The child possessed a sweet disposition and her untimely death will be mourned by her large circle of young friends. The Rev Nissen conducted the services, and the remains were laid to rest in the cemetery at Homer. The heart felt sympathy of the community is extended the bereaved relatives.

Ellege Weldon Echelberger

E. W. Echelberger Dies Following A Brief Illness

Fort Dodge Messenger 1943

Ellege Weldon Echelberger 1339 South Twenty-sixth Street, a resident of Webster County all his life, died at Mercy Hospital Sunday morning following a brief illness. He was 57 Years old.

Born in Lehigh, Dec 15, 1886, he was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Hamilton June 4, 1910. For a number of years he was employed at the Plant of the Lehigh Sewer Pipe and Tile Company, coming to this city 23 years ago where he was employed at the Plaster Board Plant until ill health compelled him to retire. For the past several months he had been with the Liberty Cab Company. He was a member of the Methodist church and the Modern Woodmen.

Mr. Echelberger is survived by his wife, four daughters, Mrs. Marjorie Wood, Mrs. Irene Donahoe, Mrs. Harold Brown and Miss Gloria Jeane Echelberger; a son, Francis V. Echelberger, all of this city; three sisters, Mrs. John Taylor of Redding,Calif.; Mrs.Roscoe Newkirk of Otho, and Mrs.William Taylor of this city; three brothers, Floyd and Walter of Fort Dodge and Lyle of Otho, and 13 grand children, two of whom are in the armed forces, PFC Dale Wood, North Africa, and Corporal Robert B. Wood, Santa Maria, Calif.

Funeral services will be held at the Marshall Young funeral home at 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. The Rev. Arthur Peterson of Rockwell City, former pastor of the Epworth Methodist church will officiate, with burial on the family lot in West Lawn cemetery Lehigh.



Funeral services for E. WE. Echelberger 1339 South Twenty-sixth Street, 57 years of age and a life-long resident of Webster County who died at Mercy Hospital Sunday morning following a brief illness, were held at the G. Marshall Young funeral home at 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. The Rev. Arthur Peterson of Rockwell City, former pastor of the Epworth Methodist church, officiated.

Many members of the Rebekah Lodge attended the services in a group. The many floral expressions which banked the service room were arranged by Mrs. LeRoy Zimmerman,. Mrs. Marie Erickson, Mrs. Paul Hair, and Mrs. L. B. McNutt.

Pallbearers were Robert Taylor, Marvin Echelberger, Ray Hilton, Don Bell, William Robbins, and Weldon Echelberger. Burial was made on the family lot in West Lawn cemetery Lehigh.

George Echelberger

Lehigh Valley "Argus" Nov. 9,1949

LEHIGH, Nov. 9 Relatives here have received word of the sudden death of George Echelberger, 75 of Dows,(Ia.) who died at his home following a heart attack.

Mr. Echelberger was the son of the late George Echelberger Sr., and Mrs. Julia (Ross)Echelberger, having been born on a farm east of Lehigh where he grew up and married Miss Minnie Widick, also of this vicinity.

They were the parents of several children and were former residents having left Lehigh 26 years ago to make their home in Dows where Mr. Echelberger followed the carpenter trade. (same as his Dad)

He was well know around Lehigh and the surrounding area where he owned and raised mules and horses, (showing them) during summers at fairs and celebrations.

He was preceded in death by a daughter Cecile, age 7 years and his wife Minnie, who died about 7 years ago.

Funeral services will be held in Dows Thursday, a number of relatives from here plan to attend. Mr Echelberger is and uncle of Ermal Kostoff, and Ina Williams is his aunt.

He is also survived by a number of grand children and two great grand children.

Hughey P. Kilgore

Hughey Kilgore, 68, Retired Truck Driver

Obituary Printed in Sandusky Paper

Sandusky----Hughey P. Kilgore, 68, of Sandusky, died Sunday, April 10, 1994, at Providence Hospital, Sandusky, following a brief illness.

He was born Feb. 7, 1926, in Wise County, Virginia. Kilgore retired in 1983 after 30 years as a truck driver for New Departure-Hyatt Division of General Motors.

He served with the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving on the U.S.S. Finnegan in the South Pacific.

Kilgore was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; and a member of the United Auto Workers Local 913 Retirees. Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Agnes; daughters Mrs. Thomas (Joanne) Gerold of Castalia and Mrs. Keith (Debra Sue) McKillips of Sandusky; four grandchildren; mother Alta Buchanan, of Silver Springs, MD.; sisters Alva Joy LaConte of Glen dale, Ariz., and Virgie Gaye Moon of Phoenix; half sister Minda Atha of Wheaton, MD., Maxine Marshall of Sandusky, Tina Graves and Brenda Weissend, both of Silver Springs; and half brothers Floyd Buchanan of Vacaville, CA. and Lenzy Buchanan of Flori da. He was preceded in death by his son, Eddie Lee in 1986; parents, George P. and Julie P. (nee Wright); and sisters Linda Susulski in 1981 and arbvara Ann Borchardt in 1972.

Friends may call Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m., at the Groff Funeral Home, 1607. E. Perkins Ave., Sandusky, where the V.F.W. will conduct services at 7:30 p.m. Funeral services will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Funeral Home, the Rev. Robert Proy o f the People's Church will officiate. Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Huron.

Contributions may be made to the donor's favorite charity.

Francis Isabel Widick

An Obituary for Rose's (Echelberger) half-sister appeared in the Lehigh Valley Argus Dec 11, 1897.

Francis Isabel Widick

"Died at her home in Homer,Ia on Tuesday morning, Dec 7, 1897. Francis Isabel Widick. She was born near Sagauche, Colorado, Aug 4, 1887. And was therefore in her tenth year. Francis was a kind, loving little girl who loved and respected by all who k new her. Her sickness, which was of three weeks' duration was borne with great patience, never a murmur of complaint was heard. She was converted and joined the M. E. Church at the age of nine years, and has been a faithful and willing worker ever since. A short time before she died she called the family her bedside and told them she was going to die, and kissing them and saying good-bye she quietly passed to the better world. Six of her school mates acted as pall-bearers. The funeral was held at the Methodist church Thursday at 10 o'clock a.m. conducted by the Revs J. L. Sudduth and S. S. Eslick. The remains were laid to rest in the Homer cemetery besides here mother."

Mrs Jean Echelberger

Mrs. Echelberger of Lehigh is Dead

Special to the Messenger

LEHIGH, Feb 28,----Mrs Jean Echelberger, 70, of Lehigh died today at 7:00 a.m. in Fort Dodge Lutheran Hospital..

Funeral arrangements in charge of the Swanson Funeral home, Dayton, will be announced later.

Fort Dodge Messenger March 6, 1942


LEHIGH, MAR 6------ Funeral services for Mrs Jean Echelberger, 72 who died at Lutheran Hospital, For Dodge, were held at the home in Lehigh, March 2 at 2:30 p.m. with the Rev. W. H. Knotts of the Lehigh Church of Christ in charge. Interment was in West Lawn cemetery with Swansons of Dayton in charge.


Pallbearers were Edgar Johnson, Robert Johnson, Cass Humphrey, Walter Geist, Lawrence Schmehr and William Taylor.

During the services, Mrs. Edgar Johnson and Mrs. Albert Johnson sang, "Rock Of Ages" and "In The Garden."

Jean Barrowman was born April 9, 1869, at Bedlington England. She came to America in the spring of 1870 from Shetleson, Glasgow, Scotland, settling in Illinois until 1879 when her parents came to Lehigh were she grew to womanhood.

She (Jean Barrowman) was married to Curtis Alonzo Grimes in 1886 and to this union three sons and a daughter were born. The daughter died when she was 4 yrs old.

When the boys were small the couple left Lehigh for Montana,** traveling in a covered wagon. She could relate many interesting experiences of her trip through the Black Hills to Montana.

She lived in Montana until 1917 when with her oldest son she returned to Lehigh. The two younger sons lived in Virginia where they were engaged in mining.

In 1920 she married Edwin L. Echelberger who preceded her in death in 1931.


Survivors are three sons B. A. Grimes of Lehigh, William C. Grimes of Berwind, West Virginia; Robert D. Grimes of Banner, Virginia; and two sisters, Mrs. Christina Fleming of Norton,Virginia, and Mrs Margaret Woodle of Fayette; three brothers, William Barrowman of Pilot Mound, David Barrowman of Praise, KY; thirteen grand children and two great grand children.

She was baptized in the Lehigh Christian Church in 1892. She enjoyed attending church services and was a faithful member and regular attendant as long as her health permitted.


** On the Lehigh to Montana trip Curtis disappeared in Indian Country. No record of his fate.

PFC John William Linn

Report to the Fort Dodge Messenger

Lehigh, March 17, (1945) First reported missing in France since Feb 16, PFC John William Linn was killed in action on that date, his parents, Mr and Mrs (Lottie Echelberger) John Linn of Lehigh were notified by a war dept telegram Friday.

The 19-year-old soldier was serving with the infantry and had been overseas only three months.

Besides his parents, he is survived by five sisters, Mrs Eva Shafer, Mrs Ethel O'Hearn and Mrs Marian Swanson, all of Lehigh, Mrs Clair Doyle of Thompson and Mrs Susan Engelbritsen of Rockton, Ill.

A graduate of Stratford High School with the class of 1943, young Linn was employed by the Nissen Packing plant in Webster City before entering the armed forces in February, 1944,

He received training at Camp Fannin, Tex. and Camp Van Dorn, Miss. before going overseas in December.

Johnny Bill is buried in a Military Cemetary in France, his folks put up a marker for him on their lot in the McQuire Bend Cemetary,Lehigh,Iowa.


Mrs John E. Taylor (Maude Echelberger)

Fort Dodge Messenger 1945

Mrs J. E. Taylor, 63 dies after brief illness

Mrs John E. Taylor (Maude Echelberger), 63, a resident of Fort Dodge and Webster county more than 60 years, died Saturday morning at Mercy Hospital after a brief illness.

Mrs. Taylor was taken ill with a heart attack Friday evening at 10 o'clock at her home, 124 North Tenth Street. She was rushed to Mercy hospital for treatment but failed to rally.

Mrs. Taylor's many friends,who heard the news with shock and deep regret, feel that her death may have been hastened by the anxiety and sorrow which war brought her and her family.

Only a few months ago, the Taylors learned that the elder of their two sons, Dean, was killed in action after nearly three years of Japanese imprisonment.

The 26-year-old soldier, a Staff Sergeant in the army air forces lost his life when the freighter on which he was being moved from a prison camp on Mindanao was torpedoed and sunk by an American submarine Sept 7, 1944.

Throughout his imprisonment, his family received only four messages from him, all of them from postcards. The earliest did not reach them until December, 1943, 19 long months after the fall of Corregidor and 15 months after the Taylors had been notified from the war department their son was missing.

To their worry over Dean was added concern over their other son, Virgil who took part in some of the bitterest fighting in the Pacific.

Virgil, a corporal in the Third Marine Division, recently returned to the United States from Iwo Jima.

His arrival in Fort Dodge occasioned thew reunion of a particularly close-knit and affectionate family, now plunged into sadness by their mother's sudden death.

Besides her two sons, Mrs. Taylor is survived by six daughters, Mrs. Gernie Marley, Mrs. Raymond Hilton, both of Fort Dodge; Mrs. Charles B. Wheat of Storm Lake; Mrs Kathryn Ferguson, Mrs. Edward Porter Jr., and Mrs. H. W. Gardzelewski, all of Los Angles.

One daughter, Mrs Grace Heesch, her parents, three brothers and one sister preceded her in death.

Fifteen grand children survive as do three brothers, Floyd, Walter, and Lyle Echelberger, all of Fort Dodge, and two sisters, Mrs. William Taylor of Fort Dodge and Mrs. Roscoe Newkirk of Otho.

Her parents the late Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln Echelberger, well know residents of Lehigh, came to Webster county 61 years ago from Homer, where Mrs. Taylor was born.

On Mat 4, 1910, her marriage to Mr. Taylor took place at Lehigh and the family lived there until 1920 when they moved to Fort Dodge.

Mrs. Taylor will be remembered as a pleasant, kindly woman. Rearing her large family endowed her with a sweet motherliness which was felt by her friends as much as by her devoted children. Especially was a favorite of young people.

She was a member of the Epworth Methodist church and of the Ladies' Aid Society of that church.

The body is at Laufersweiler funeral home. Funeral services will be announced later upon word from the three daughters living in Los Angles.


Funeral Services for Mrs Taylor Tuesday Afternoon

Funeral services for Mrs. J. E. Taylor who died Saturday morning at Mercy Hospital, will be held Tuesday at 2:10 o'clock at the Laufersweiler funeral home and at 2:30 at the Epworth Methodist church. The Rev. B. M. Watson will officiate and burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery.

Minnie Maybel Widick

Minnie's Obituary Fort Dodge Messenger Dec 11, 1942

Minnie Maybel Widick daughter of J. J. and Josephine Widick was born in Homer,Ia. Hamilton county Jan 24, 1874. She grew to womanhood and at the age of 19 was married to George D. Echelberger on June 3, 1893, at Homer,Ia. From there they moved to Webster Co. where they lived until 1909. They then moved to Wright Co. where they farmed until 1924. They then moved to Dows. They lived there until the time of her death. To this union seven children. One daughter (Cecile) preceded her in death.

Those left to mourn her loss are her husband George, 2 daughters, Mrs Mark (Faye) King of Dows, Mrs Charles (Leola) Lampson of Pomona, Ca. and 4 sons, Rasseyen "Ross" of Clear Lake, Ia., Adrian and Joe of Dows, Merle "Bud" Echelberger in the Navy at Farragut, Id.; also 11 grand children two of whom are serving our country overseas. She leaves many other relatives and a host of friends. Funeral services were held at the Presbyterian church at 2 pm Saturday Dec 9.; interment at Fairview cemetary Dows.

Those attending services from out of town were; Mr & Mrs Ross Echelberger and Delores of Clear Lake, Merle Echelberger F 2c, stationed at Farragut,Id. and family from Webster City.; Mrs Ina Williams, Mr & Mrs Ben Echelberger and Melvin, and Mrs Aleak(Ermal)Koskoff, Ralph Echelberger all of Lehigh; Mrs Thomas(Avonelle)Jetmund of Gary,Ind.; Mr & Mrs Al Thurmand of Williams; Mrs Fred Cessford and Mrs John Pietrie of Iowa Falls.

Paul Trueblood

Article in Dayton Review Feb.10,1993
Paul Trueblood 78

Funeral service for Paul Trueblood,78, Lehigh,were held Tuesday, Feb 9,1993 at Harcourt Covenant Church, Harcourt. Rev Craig Vote conducted the 2:00 pm service. Interment was in West Lawn Cemetery, Lehigh. Arrangements were completed by Carson Funeral Home, Dayton.

Mr Trueblood passed away Saturday, Feb.6,1993 at Stewart Memorial Hospital, Lake City.

During the service vocalist Richard Will sang "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In The Garden" accompanied by Kim Rieken. Bearers were Kevin Sandstrom, Wade Seiser, Jeff Widen, Michael DeVan, Brian Sandstrom, and Michael Barkhaus.

Paul E Trueblood was born on Thursday Jan. 21,1915 in Webster City,Iowa. He was the son of Addison and Sarah (Shauver) Trueblood. He attended Burnside Schools.

On Thursday, May 9, 1940 Paul married Clara Lang at McQuire Bend United Brethren Church in rural Dayton. He worked for the National Gypsum Company, Fort Dodge, retiring in 1978.

Paul was a member of Local 66 of the AFL-CIO and member of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.

Survivors include his wife, Clara; daughters Patricia Seiser, Stratford; Twila Widen, Harcourt, and Sheryl Sandstrom, Fort Dodge; son Gary Trueblood, Lehigh; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sister Myrtle Hammitt, Webster City; brothers Ralph Trueblood, and Sam Trueblood, both of Fort Dodge.

Sgt Dean E. Taylor

Two Articles appeared in the Fort Dodge,Ia Messenger
(both about March 1945)

1st Prisoner of Japanese since the fall of the Philippines, Sgt Dean E. Taylor, 26-year-old son of Mr And Mrs (Maude Echelberger) John E. Taylor, is one of "large number who did not survive or who or who were recaptured by the Japanese" in the destruction at sea of a Japanese freighter that was transporting American prisoners of war from the Philippines, his parents have been advised by the war department. Since "no positive information is available" about the present status of these men, "no change in his prisoner of war classification is being made at this time." the war department letter continued.

The Letter in full follows:

"The war department was recently notified of the destruction at sea of a Japanese freighter that was transporting American prisoners of war from the Philippines Islands. " A number of survivors were later returned to the military control of our forces . There were also a large number who were recaptured by the Japanese and whose present status no positive information is available. It is with deep regret that I must inform you that your son Sgt. Dean E. Taylor, was in this later group. Because of t he war departments lack of definite information concerning Sgt. Taylor, no change in his prisoner of war classification is being made at this time. Please be assured that as soon as additional information becomes available, you will be immediately notified."

Sgt Taylor's younger brother Corporal Virgil O. (Bob) Taylor is serving with the marines on Guam. Although only 19 he is a veteran of many major engagements in the southwest Pacific.

Sgt Taylor is believed to have been held by the Japanese on Mindanao, southern island in the Philippines. In Honolulu Nov 11,1941, enroute to the islands with an army air forces unit, he sent a Christmas cable to his parents that year from Cagayan, Mindanao.

Card in March:

The most recent word which Mr and Mrs Taylor have had from Dean was an undated card which they received March 22. ?(1942) Mr and Mrs Taylor have been living in Redding,Ca the pass few years but recently returned to Fort Dodge, and are making there home at 1424 North Tenth street.

2nd Message:

After almost three years of Japanese, 26-year-old son of Mr And Mrs J. E. Taylor of Fort Dodge, lost his life when the when the freighter on which he was being moved from a prison camp on Mindanao was torpedoed and sunk by an American submarine Sept 7, 1944.

Official notification that he had died in action on that date reached his parent from the war department today.

The message crushed the Taylors' hope, strengthened by the liberation of American prisoners following recent successes in the Philippines that their son might survive the rigors of prison camp existence since the fall of the islands in the spring of 1942.

Two Messages

With the military intelligence section of section of the army air forces, Sgt Taylor left for overseas Oct 11, 1941. Between the time of his arrival in the Philippines and the battles which led finally to his capture there was time for only two messages. The first, a cable Christmas greeting in 1941, came, from Cagayan, Mindanao. In a letter written Jan 2, he wrote that he was in action and that "if we don't get help, we may be in a bad way. Bur we are tougher than they are." According to the war department message received today, Sgt Taylor was one of the 750 prisoners who left Davao, Mindanao, Aug 20, 1944. When the freighter was sunk Sept 7, off the western shores of the island, few of the prisoners were able to leave the ship and of those who did, many were killed by enemy fire, the war department stated. A few survivors managed to reach shore the report continued. Subsequent information, based on the Japanese government's list of prisoners or war, indicate that the young Fort Dodger did not survive and must now be considered to have died in action.

From the War Dept:

The complete message from the war department follows:

"The war department has now received the official list of prisoners of war aboard the Japanese freighter which you were previously informed was sunk Sept 7, 1944. "Its with deep regret that the war department must report your son is among those list ed as lost when the ship was sunk. " The war department regrets its inability to entertain the probability of his survival and must now consider him to have died in action Sept. 7,1944. The Date of Receipt of the final report was Feb. 14, 1945. "Information available to the war department is that the vessel sailed from Davao, Mindanao, Aug. 20, 1944, with 750 prisoners of war aboard. "The vessel was sunk by torpedoes Sept. 7, off th e western shores of Mindanao. Relatively few had an opportunity to leave the ship and of those who did, many were killed by enemy fire. "A small number managed to reach shore and a close watch was kept for others for several days. "The Japanese government's list of all of the prisoners of war indicates that no survivors are in the hands of that government. No information as to what happened to the individuals has been received but known circumstances lead to the regrettable conclusion that all of those unaccounted for lost their lives at the time of the sinking.

The war department expressed its regret at the "unhappy culmination" of Mr and Mrs Taylor's long period of "anxiety and suffering."

In addition to the official message Mr and Mrs Taylor received a card of sympathy from Gen. George C. Marshall chief of staff of the United States Army as follows:

"Gen Marshall extends his deep sympathy in your bereavement. Your son fought valiantly in the supreme hour of his country's need. His memory will live in the grateful hearts of our nation."

Sgt Taylor was a student at Fort Dodge high school where he was a member of the high school band, when he enlisted in the army in 1937. After two years with the cavalry, he transferred to the army air forces and was on duty at Hamilton Field,(Ca) until the next year when he was assigned to Military Intelligence

Robert "Tubby" Johnson

Robert Johnson, 78

Funeral services for Robert "Tubby" Johnson, 78 Lehigh, were held Saturday, Oct 10, 1992 at the Christian Church,Lehigh. Rev. Lynn Newbraugh, and Rev. Dale Kelley conducted the 2:30 pm service. Graveside services were by the Lehigh VFW. Arrangements were completed by Carson Funeral Home, Dayton.

Mr Johnson passed away Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Springfield,MO. During the service special organ music was by Larry Larson. Caring for flowers were Genevieve Dosland and Magadaline Lumsden. Bearers were Marion Dosland, Joe Kisch, Jack Estlund, Duane Hoskins, Marvin Lundgren, and Gordon Plahn.

Robert Johnson was born on Tuesday, March 28,1914 in Humboldt,Ia. He was the son of Edgar and Olive (Echelberger) Johnson. He graduated from Lehigh schools.

On Friday, Aug. 3, 1962 Robert married Gladys Fritts in Fort Dodge. He worked as a rural mail carrier for 30 years before retiring in 1977. He was a veteran of WWII.

Robert was a member of Lehigh Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Lehigh Golden Memories, and a charter member of Lehigh Lions Club.

Survivors include his wife Gladys, Lehigh; sons Terry Johnson,Cedar Rapids; Don Fritts,Spiro,OK, and Dale Fritts, Lehigh; daughters Karen Johnson Kennedy,Fort Dodge; Jo Fritts Schrieber,Lake Mills and Kaye Fritts Cooper, San Jose,Ca; 18 grand children; seven great-grand children; brothers, Raymond and Donald Johnson both of Lehigh.

Weldon Echelberger

Article appeared in the Fort Dodge Messenger

"Another of Webster county's casualties in Germany is PFC Weldon Echelberger 33, of Fort Dodge, who was wounded in action Dec 6 (1944). As previously reported to the Messenger, the soldier was with an infantry unit of the American 1st Army. PFC Echelberger was a mechanic with the Pfaff Baking Co. in civilian life. His wife and two children live at 529 Third Ave North. He entered the service in March of this year, received his basic training at Camp Blanding,Fl. and went over seas in July. He is the farther of two children Jimmie 4 yrs old and a infant daug born Nov 30, (1944). A brother Don is serving as a navy diver and welder somewhere in the south Pacific aboard an Aircraft Carrier.

Dayton Iowa Review Oct.28,1992

Funeral service for Weldon Echelberger, 81, Fort Dodge,Iowa. were held Thursday, Oct.22,1992 at Bruce's Funeral Home, Fort Dodge. Bishop Terry W. Dillon, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Fort Dodge, conducted the 1:30 pm service. Interment was in Memorial Park Cemetery, Fort Dodge.

Mr Echelberger passed away Monday, Oct.19,1992 at Marion Home, Fort Dodge.

During the service organist was Sherrie Dillon. Bearers were James Echelberger, Joe Echelberger, Jay Echelberger, Donnie Schmidt, Roger Schmelzer, and Gary Williams.

Weldon Echelberger was born on Saturday May 13,1911 in Lehigh. He was the son of Floyd and Eugena (Culver Echelberger. He attended Lehigh schools.

In 1938 Weldon married Clara Cook in Humboldt. He served in World War II in the European theater of operations from 1943-1945 in the Army. Weldon was awarded a Purple Heart. He drove a city bus for a number for a number of years until he retired in 1973.

Weldon was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1856, Fort Dodge. He resided in Fort Dodge most of his life.

Survivors include his wife Clara, Fort Dodge; son James Echelberger,Fort Dodge; daughters, Charlotte Schmelzer, West Union,Ia.; and Edna Echelberger, Fort Dodge; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; brother Robert Echelberger, Fort Dodge.

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