Categotry Archives: Military

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Jack Delmage

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Categories: Military

John Houston Delmage, a war hero who had to wait more than five decades to receive his medals, died on April 10. Cause of death was not released. He was 86.
Born in Manitoba, Canada, Delmage was just a child when his family relocated to Indiana. Four years after graduating from high school, he wed Bette Wilson Delmage and enlisted in the service. During World War II, Delmage served as an Army paratrooper with the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion.
Fighting in Europe was difficult and harrowing. Of the 839 men from his unit who went into the Battle of the Bulge, only 110 survived. Delmage was wounded in the battle and later struggled with the horror of killing an enemy soldier and then finding a picture of the German’s wife and child on the body. When he returned to Indiana, Delmage raised a family and spent the next 47 years working as a crane operator in the steel industry.
Delmage never talked about his time in the service, and he didn’t received any recognition for the injuries he suffered or the bravery he exhibited. Then in 2002, his niece, Rhonda Delmage Nelson, took it upon herself to find out if Delmage deserved to be honored for his actions.
Although his brothers-in-arms thought he was killed in the war, and the Army lost his paperwork, the United States eventually awarded Delmage two Purple Hearts, four Bronze Stars and two Presidential Unit Citations. He also received letters from President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, three former presidents, a congressman, two U.S. senators and former California Gov. Gray Davis.

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John DeLorean

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Categories: Business, Military

jdelorean.jpgJohn Zachary DeLorean, an engineer and entrepreneur who developed several cars for top automakers before branching off on his own, died on March 19 of complications from a stroke. He was 80.
DeLorean was the eldest son of a Ford Motor Company foundry worker. The Detroit native attended the Lawrence Institute of Technology on a music scholarship, served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II and earned a master’s degree in automotive engineering from the Chrysler Institute. He worked for the Chrysler Corporation until 1952, then was named head of research and development at Packard.
In the 1960s, DeLorean developed the Catalina and Bonneville for General Motors’ Pontiac division. He encouraged the automaker to offer smaller, sleeker models and helped produce the Tempest, Pontiac’s first compact car. DeLorean also premiered the Pontiac GTO, a souped-up hotrod with a V-8 engine, and marketed it to young, affluent men. Dubbed “The Goat,” it was widely acknowledged as one of the first “muscle cars.”
Although DeLorean’s success at GM seemed virtually guaranteed to take him into the higher echelons of the company, he resigned in 1973 to launch the DeLorean Motor Car Co. in Northern Ireland. In the hopes of generating 2,000 new jobs, the British government sank $120 million into the $200 million project. Eight years later, DeLorean’s unpainted, stainless steel sports car hit the streets. The gull-winged DeLorean DMC-12 became a household name after it was featured as a time travel machine in the “Back to the Future” films, but poor reviews and quality control issues kept consumers from buying the vehicle.
At the same time, DeLorean faced serious legal troubles. In 1982, he was arrested in Los Angeles and accused of conspiring to sell 55 pounds of cocaine — worth $24 million — to salvage his business. DeLorean claimed he was the victim of entrapment and fought the charges in court. Despite the existence of a videotape on which he accepted the delivery of a suitcase full of cocaine, DeLorean was acquitted by a jury in 1984. His company eventually collapsed after producing less than 9,000 cars. DeLorean was cleared of defrauding the company’s investors, as well, yet his legal entanglements forced him to declare bankruptcy in 1999.
During his hey day, DeLorean was known for his playboy lifestyle and flamboyant personality. A workaholic, he reportedly slept for only four hours a night. After his arrest, DeLorean settled down and became a born-again Christian. The former automobile industrialist lived his final years on social security and occasional consulting fees. To honor the automaker, 25 owners of DeLoreans parked their cars in front of the Royal Oak, Mich., funeral home where his memorial service was held.

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Doc Abraham

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Categories: Media, Military, Writers/Editors

For 50 years, George “Doc” Abraham and his wife Katy offered advice to amateur and expert gardeners. The Abrahams debuted on WHAM 1180-AM in Rochester, N.Y., in 1952. Their half-hour call-in show, “The Green Thumb,” featured poetry recitations and advice on flowers, vegetable gardens and lawn care. The popular gardening program also aired on WOKR-TV Channel 13 for many years.
Health problems forced the couple to broadcast their final show on Dec. 14, 2002, but they continued to teach gardening classes in the Finger Lakes region. For hosting one of the longest-running shows on American radio, the Abrahams were inducted into the Rochester Radio Hall of Fame.
Born in Wayland, N.Y., Abraham was only five years old when he decided to become a plant doctor. From that point on, everyone — including his neighbor Katy — called him “Doc.” Abraham and Katy both graduated from Cornell University with double degrees in horticulture and journalism. During World War II, he served with the U.S. Army in North Africa while she worked at a munitions plant in Ithaca, N.Y. They wed in 1942 while he was on a 36-hour leave.
After the war, Abraham and Katy opened a small greenhouse business, had two children, Darryl and Leanna, and began writing a gardening column. Syndicated in 130 newspapers, the column once reached 5 million readers; it still appears in dozens of small newspapers and magazines. The couple also published 16 gardening books, including “The Green Thumb Garden Handbook,” “Green Thumb Wisdom: Garden Myths Revealed!” and “Growing Plants From Seed.” Abraham’s autobiography, “A Bathtub Built for Two,” will hit store shelves this summer.
Abraham died on Jan. 27 of complications from congestive heart failure. He was 89. The gardening guru and his co-host wife always ended their radio program with a simple sign-off: “Goodbye, friends. We gotta grow now!”
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

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George Perkins

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Categories: Military

gperkins.jpgGeorge Dewey Perkins, the oldest Marine in the United States, died on Feb. 9 of natural causes. He was 106.
Born March 10, 1898 in Iola, Kan., Perkins served with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1917 to 1919. Just before getting shipped off to France, Perkins and other members of his unit came down with the Spanish flu, an illness that killed somewhere between 20 and 40 million people worldwide in a single year.
An estimated 43,000 servicemen mobilized to fight in World War I died of influenza. Perkins credited his sergeant, an American Indian, with saving his life. Instead of allowing the unit’s doctors to care for the troops, the sergeant treated them with tribal medications.
After the war ended, Perkins moved to Shreveport, La., to work in the oil fields. In 1921, he cracked his skull against a heavy pipe. Although other medical personnel gave Perkins up for dead, one nurse stayed by his side and managed to revive him. That nurse later became his wife. The couple was married for 65 years, until Miriam’s death in 1986.
Perkins remained active until a week ago. He honored currently deployed Marines last May and took part in Veterans’ Day ceremonies in November. Perkins will be buried in Centuries Memorial Park Cemetery in Shreveport with full military and Masonic honors.

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Max Schmeling

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Categories: Business, Military, Sports

mschmeling.jpgMaximilian Adolph Otto Siegfried Schmeling, the German boxing legend who twice squared off against world heavyweight champion Joe Louis, died on Feb. 2. Cause of death was not released. He was 99.
Born in Uckermar, Germany, Schmeling was a self-taught boxer with a powerful right-handed punch. He turned pro in 1924 and won the German light heavyweight title three years later. Known as the “Black Uhlan of the Rhine,” Schmeling was the first German, and European, to become the heavyweight world champion when he beat Jack Sharkey in 1930. Sharkey won the title back in 1932 on a disputed decision.
Although he was not a member of the Nazi Party, Schmeling was touted in propaganda as a symbol of Aryan supremacy. When he squared off with the undefeated Louis in 1936, the fight took on mythic proportions in the boxing and political arenas. In the 12th round, Schmeling knocked out the “Brown Bomber.” Louis’ defeat sparked riots in Harlem; one man who had bet on Schmeling was later hospitalized with a fractured skull and multiple stab wounds.
At their rematch in 1938, the tables turned and Louis knocked Schmeling out two minutes and four seconds into the first round. En route to the hospital, Schmeling’s ambulance had to make a detour to avoid the celebratory street parties. Schmeling returned to Germany on a stretcher two weeks later, still healing from two broken vertebra.
Despite the differences in their races and nationalities, Schmeling and Louis remained friends for many years. Schmeling occasionally gave money to the Louis family, and even paid for the American boxer’s funeral in 1981.
Schmeling was drafted into the military and served as a German paratrooper during World War II, but he didn’t support the Third Reich’s ethnic cleansing efforts. He refused to fire his Jewish-American manager Joe Jacobs, or divorce his wife, actress Anny Ondra, and marry a member of the “master race.” He also hid two Jewish boys in his hotel apartment and helped sneak them out of the country.
After the war, the nearly destitute Schmeling resumed his boxing career. He fought until 1948 before retiring at the age of 43 with a record of 56-10-4 and 39 knockouts. His life was chronicled in the bestselling 1977 autobiography, “Max Schmeling.” In 1992, the pugilist was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Schmeling used his fight proceeds to buy Coca-Cola distributorships in Germany and became wealthy bottling and distributing the soft drink. Through the Max Schmeling Foundation, he gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the elderly and the poor.
Listen to the Ringside Broadcast of the Joe Louis-Max Schmeling Rematch
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

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