Hometown Heroes

2020 Hometown Hero Banner Program 

The mission of the Marengo Union Chamber of Commerce is to recognize our Hometown Heroes who are serving now, have served, and who are departed. We are not limited to service members for the forthcoming years.  All banners are the property of the Marengo Union Chamber of Commerce unless they have been specifically purchased by the family.  These banners have been printed locally by Marengo Signs and stitched by HyperStitch.  

Each Hero has had the biography written and provided by a family member and have not been fact checked.    

Thank you for taking the time to read about our very own heroes.  We hope you have enjoyed the first of many years to come.  For more information and to nominate your 2021 Hometown Hero, please call the office at 815-568-6680 or email your request to: chamber@marengo-union.com.

Thank you to the City of Marengo Street Department for respectfully displaying these banners.    

 

 

 

 

 

2020 Hometown Heroes 

Sergeant 1st Class – Bobby Lee Beggs –  US Army Korean War

 

 

Sergeant 1st Class – Bobby Lee Beggs

Bob was born July 26, 1932 in rural Johnson County, Illinois, one of six children born to Esco and Gladys Beggs.  He has a twin sister, named Betty.  Bob grew up on a farm and went to school in a one room schoolhouse. Bob joined the Army during the Korean War and had basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky.  After his training he went to Japan for one week and then straight to Korea.  For one year, one month and fifteen days, Bob was stationed in Korea.  His duties included guarding prisoners on Koje-do island.  He was a Field First Sergeant when he left Korea.  While on the ship home, the war ended.  Upon his return home he was an acting platoon leader in Indiana for three months until his discharge.

 After he was discharged, Bob went to work for his brother Wayne Beggs, owner Wayne’s Meat Market.  In 1966 Bob purchased the meat market from his brother and owned it for 17 years.  Along the way, Bob built apartments and became a landlord as well.  On October 26, 1969, Bob married the love of his life, Marilyn.  Happily blending families’ together, daughters Lou Ann, Eileen, Cindy, Renee, Laura and Jami.  Bob is the proud grandfather of twelve grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren. 

Bob obtained his pilot’s license and flew his Piper Cub for many years.   His hobbies include: hunting, golf, and another big love of his life – horses.  He has owned many Standardbred horses (mainly trotters) and to this day at 88 years old goes and jogs his horses and others at Rath Stables.

Bob has been active in the Marengo American Legion for 64 years.  Every Memorial Day he proudly marches in the parade and is involved with the rifle salute at the remembrance ceremony.  Bob is also a lifelong member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Military honors included: National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with three Campaign Stars, United Nations Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

His family is very proud of him for many reasons.  

Private John William Benton – US Army – WWI

 

 

John William Benton

PVT US Army 1918-Armistice WWI  –  (Corrected reprint) 

John W. Benton was born February 1, 1894 in Union to William & Rebecca Benton, only one of seven to survive.  John attended area schools until the fourth grade.  He was chauffeur for E.D. Patrick in 1916 at the age of 22. In 1918 John enlisted because it was his duty to do so. He returned after the Armistice to his chauffeur job and his girl friend Meta Ulrich whom he married January 1, 1921. They had one daughter Margaret. He also had 6 grandchildren, 11 great grand and now great, greats survive him.

In 1935 his wife passed away and in 1937 he wed Gail Webb. They were together over 40 years. He had many jobs over the years – working for BJ Arnold, working at the National sewing machine factory and helping build Marengo High School and the Baptist parsonage. In 1931 he started his own business – Benton Garage. In 1970 at the age of 76 he sold his business and started a job with the city as a parking meter attendant. He was Sgt. of  Arms for the legion for over 45 years and was a charter member. He was a fireman from 1912-1971 at one time being chief. He and his wife Gail were responsible for putting the flags up on main street for the holidays and for putting flags on the graves of area veterans. On Memorial Day he laid the wreath in the cemetery for all the vets up until he died. He passed away in 1985 at age 91.

 

Sergeant Augustin Delgado – USMC – Operation Iraqi & Enduring Freedom

 

 

Augustin Delgado was born in Elgin, IL on November 22, 1985. He moved to Marengo, IL and attended Riley school and Marengo High  School. At age 17 Augustin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

In June 2004 Augustin attended boot camp in San Diego California and graduated in October. After completion of boot camp Augustin went to Marine Combat Training (MCT) in Camp Pendleton, Ca. After completion of MCT Augustin completed Field Radio Operator school located in Twentynine Palms, Ca. Upon graduation of Field Radio school Augustin was assigned to his first unit Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines an Artillery unit in Camp Pendleton.

In August of 2005 he was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he returned April 2006. Augustin got married in December 2006 in San Diego to his wife Anna. On July 2007 Augustin was deployed for the second time to Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom while his wife was two months pregnant. On December 18 ,2007 Augustin first daughter Annamaria was born while he was in Iraq. While on deployment Augustin re-enlisted four more years. He returned on February of 2008.

In July 2008 Augustin was assigned to his next unit Marine Forces Pacific on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. On July 1, 2012 he welcomed his second daughter Carmen Sofia. Augustin completed his eight year enlistment in the Marine Corp on July 22, 2012. Augustin and his family reside in Arizona.

Sergeant Herb Franks – US Army

 

 

Herb Franks has spent most of his life in Marengo, McHenry County.  He jokes that he hasn’t gotten very far in life.  His father was an immigrant from Poland and his mother from Austria.  They settled near the small farming town in Marengo during the depression, starting out with 154 acres of land and 20 cows.

Mr. Franks did not have to think about his career choice, thanks to his father.  From the time he was six or seven; his father told him he was to become a lawyer.  His father who knew a lawyer in Sycamore often took him to the DeKalb County Courthouse to watch him try a case, a pursuit that he found exciting, at least more than milking cows twice a day.

He has always been driven to exceed his family’s expectations.  He attended Coral, a one room school house where he was valedictorian.  There were a total of 3 in his class.  He graduated from high school at the age of 16 and then enrolled in college. He graduated from Roosevelt College in Chicago and then moved to Washington D.C. where he attended law school at night at American University and worked as an aide to Illinois Congressman Barratt O’Hara.  After his first semester of law school he was drafted into the Army and shortly thereafter drafted into his marriage with his wife of 62 years, Eileen.  In 1958, when he was discharged,  he re-enrolled in law school and worked as an advance man for the late U.S. Sen. W. Stuart Symington.  He passed the bar in 1961, and opened a practice in Rockford.  In 1962 he embarked on a partnership with Senator Robert R. Canfield.  In 1972, with three growing boys and wanting to be closer to home, he opened an office near Marengo.  Today that firm is known as Franks, Gerkin & McKenna, which employs nine lawyers – including one of his sons.

In 1979 he and his wife were among the founders of the McHenry County Jewish Congregation.  Also, in the late 70’s he organized and opened the First National Bank of Marengo where he has served in the capacity of Chairman of the Board.  In the early 80’s, he organized and opened the Wonder Lake State Bank where he served as Chairman of the Board.  He also served as Chairman of the Board of Forest Hospital which was a psychiatric hospital in Des Plaines and was a founder of the Forest Institute for Professional Psychology which honored him with an honorary Doctorate.

In 2000, He was the first attorney from McHenry County to be elected as the Illinois State Bar Association President.  He served as a director of the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company and is its former Chairman.

He is a member of the Marengo Masonic Lodge and received the highest honor of that organization, the 33rd degree.

 

 

ETN3-E4 Robert Gray – US Navy – Vietnam

 

 

Robert Gray, ETN3-E4 United States Navy, Vietnam

Robert L. Gray was born on August 25, 1945, the youngest of Alma (Holman) and Oakley Gray’s nine children; Genelle, Doris, Harold, Earl, Norma, Frank, Carol, Shelby and Robert “Bobby”.  Alma was a homemaker and Oakley was a police officer in Marengo for many years. Bob’s three older brothers all proudly served their country in the U.S. Air Force.  Bob graduated from Marengo Community High School in 1963 and enlisted in the Navy in 1964. 

He served on the USS Gridley prior to a leave in the summer of 1967.   While on leave he became engaged with plans to marry when he returned from a final tour of duty.  When returning to duty he had chosen to go on river duty.  This duty saw him stationed on YRBM-16 (yard repair, berthing and messing). YRBM are large un-propelled barges used by the “Brown Water Navy”. They are known by this term due to the fact that they are capable of military operations in rivers or “brown water” especially near shorelines.  They were used as bases for specialized river boats.

At the time of the explosion that ultimately was the cause of Bob’s death, the barge was between Ben Tre Canal and Ham Luong River in southern Vietnam which was about a mile wide.

The explosion took place on November 24, 1967 at 1:12 a.m., the day after Thanksgiving.  The explosion ripped a 17’ x 18’ x 9’ hole below the water line, this tore into sleeping quarters throwing men from their “racks” which also ruptured oil and fuel tanks.  Bob went to his battle station in the crow’s nest but could not see through the smoke and the flames.  The crew was ordered to abandon ship but Bob was unable to come down from the crow’s nest.  The metal post was too hot for him to descent so he leaped through the flames where a canopy broke his fall.  In spite of the canopy the burns on his body were horrific.  A crewmate picked him up and attempted to carry him to safety.  While carrying him another explosion ripped through causing shrapnel to become embedded in the crewmate’s leg.  Upon waking up in the hospital, his crewmate found out that Bob had been evacuated to Yokohama, Japan with severe burns over most of his body. 

Sadly, Robert “Bobby” succumbed to his injuries on November 27, 1967.

Steven Skeels, nephew of Robert “Bobby” Gray, states that his mom was Genelle, the oldest of Alma and Oakley’s children and Bob was only seven years older than him.  Steven still holds fond memories of Uncle Bobby, like fighting over who got to drink the pickle juice.  Uncle Bobby took Steven to see his first movie at the Marengo Colonial Theater in which they say the original 13 Ghosts in 3D, where they had to wear the silly cardboard glasses to see the ghosts. Steven recalls so many good memories, yet so many opportunities lost to make new memories with his uncle.

Bobby’s death changed the family in so many ways.  When the Naval Commander presented Bob’s medals to Alma and Oakley, the look in Oakley’s eyes was heartbreaking.  Oakley was never the same after that, the light in his eyes was extinguished.  He lost a son, his youngest child.  Like so many other loved ones, Oakley was as much a victim of the Vietnam War as Bobby was.  Oakley passed away just two and a half years later at the age of 66. 

In recognition to his service to his country Bob was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal for counteroffensive Phase I-VI, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Metal, the Combat Action bar, the National Defense Medal and a Purple Heart.

Stories and firsthand accounts can be found online at:  https://brownwater-navy.com/vietnam/YRBM16ds.htm and in the book “War in the Shallows” by John Darrell Sherwood.

Sergeant Gerald Havens – USMC – Vietnam

 

 

Gerald “Jerry” Havens – Sergeant – USMC

Jerry was born on December 29, 1948, to George and Loretta Havens, the youngest in a family of 12 children, three girls and nine boys.  Jerry grew up in Marengo and graduated Marengo Community High School and in June 1967, right after he enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1967.  Jerry was the sixth son to join the military and the third to join the Marine Corps.

After graduation, Jerry was stationed at Camp Pendleton with the 27 Marines. While there, he and four of his buddies decided to volunteer for Vietnam.  Jerry was deployed to Vietnam in February 1968, with the 1st Marine Division, H&S Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment (1/5).  He was assigned to the 106 recoilless rifle platoon and his job was bridge and hilltop security.  Jerry’s MOS included 106 recoilless rifle, flamethrower and 3.5 rocket launcher.

On October 9, 1968, while on OP – (Observation Post) in Vietnam, Jerry was wounded.  For the next 11 months Jerry was in and out of hospitals from Japan to Illinois and then Virginia.  He was then medically discharge with retirement benefits as Sergeant E5 and received a Purple Heart.

On March 1, 1969 Jerry married the love of his life, Linda.  They had two boys, Garrett (Debby) and Grant (Jenny) and four grandchildren, Heather, Cade, Lewis and Emerson.  Besides working in retail, Jerry worked as a traffic manager at Morton Chemical & Salt in Woodstock. 

Besides his active membership in the McHenry Marine Corps League #1009, Jerry enjoys reading and travel with his wife.  Their favorite place to visit is Hawaii.

 

Ensign First Class Joseph Lewis Sr. – US Navy – WWII

 

 

Joseph Ernest Lewis Boatswains Mate 2/c, USN

Joseph E. Lewis was born in Brooklyn NY in 1922.  As a small child his mother relocated back home to Garden Prairie and Joe was raised on his uncle’s farm in Boone County.  He was a very responsible boy, and loved farming.  However, when World War II broke out, Joe decided to join the military and help his country.

Joe enlisted in the Navy on December 1, 1941. He was sent to Camp Peary, VA.  Less than a month later, he was serving at Pearl Harbor and was assigned to the U.S.S. Navajo, a Navy tug that helped in salvage operations of battleships sunk along Ford Island.  He served on the Navajo during the battle of the Coral Sea, supporting warships and again doing salvage duty.  Being a diver, he spent time below the surface of the ocean, searching for mines.

The Navy took Joe too many locations which included:  Midway Island, Guadalcanal and Sydney, Australia.  When the Navajo was reassigned, Joe was transferred to another ship; however, this did not last long.  “I went aboard at eight in the morning and at four in the afternoon we were sunk.”

Back on the Navajo, and returning to Guadalcanal, Joe continued to do salvage work, including towing a damaged cruiser.  The Japanese found them and the small tug was saved by a destroyer blocking torpedoes heading in their direction. In 1943 the Navajo struck a mine and sank. Joe was saved. Soon after much needed leave time back in the States, Joe was assigned to a Destroyer Escort, the U.S.S. Fechteler.  This ship would protect cargo ships from U-boats, making their way across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean Sea.  The Fechteler was lost on May 5, 1944, hit by a German torpedo.   Joe then spent time on a raft in the ocean, waiting rescue.  Once he was sent back to the states, he was again assigned to a ship, the U.S.S. Admiral R.E. Coontz, where he spent the remainder of the war.

A few years after the war, Joe married Ethel Garman from Marengo. They lived in Marengo and had 7 children while living in town.  In 1960, they moved to New Mexico, where the 8th child was born.  Their children are Joseph (Rose) Byhalia, MS; Constance (Eugene) Boxleitner, Marengo; Frances Wilson, Union; Robert Lewis, Belvidere; Carol (David) Johnson, Marengo; Thomas Lewis, WI; Jill (Bobby) Rucker, Marengo and Diane (Duane) Oranger, Marengo.  Joe and Ethel Lewis also have 16 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

Joe was a member of many organizations, including the Marengo United Methodist Church, American Legion Post # 192, Freemasons, The Shriner’s, and The Boy Scouts of America.  Not content to just join and take part, he played leadership roles in all of the organizations, including becoming JoJo, the Shriner clown!

Joe passed away July 15, 1998, after suffering many years from heart disease.

 

Sergeant Warren Lindsay – US ARMY – WWII

 

 

Service Person’s Full Name:  Warren Philip Lindsay

Hometown:  Marengo

Branch of Service:  Army

Rank:  Sergeant

Dates of Service:  June 26, 1942 to Oct. 12, 1945

Conflict:  WWII

Hero’s Bio:  Warren Philip Lindsay swept into the military at the start of WWII as was the way for the teenagers of that time.  Having a mechanical aptitude he entered training to become an airplane  mechanic which took him to many stations in England, Europe and mostly North Africa.  There he was responsible for keeping our B17s flying.  The name of ‘his’ plane was ‘War Eagle’.  Honorable Discharged as a Sergeant.  Thank you Dad!

Warren and Patricia started their lives together in Marengo in 1949.  Had three children.  There are still a few who remember the Lindsay Buick/Allis Chalmer Dealership.  Warren was a member of the Marengo Volunteer Fire Department during that time. Later a charter member of the Marengo Rescue Squad.  Probably best remembered for his time at Lindsay Standard Oil Station on the corner of Rte. 176 and Rte. 23.  Later opened Lindsay Auto Parts (a NAPA store) and another in Hampshire. 

Warren and Pat were able to retire in 1987, travel around the United States until settling in Alamo Tx until their passing.

 

Staff Sergeant Lloyd “Bud” Millard – USMC – WWII/Korean War

 

 

Lloyd “Bud” Millard

Born 7/01/1927

Quit high school at age 17 to join the Marine Corps. Entered 2/21/1945. Served in WW II. Discharged 8/20/1946.

Enlisted in USMC reserves 1947. Called to active duty June 1951 to serve in the Korean War. Discharged 08/1952.

Married Virginia Paskvalich on 10/13/1951. 3 children; 7 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren.

College Degrees: BSIE, Illinois Institute Of Technology., 1951. MBA, University of Chicago, 1958.

Successful 35 year work career at Motorola, Inc, Retired 1989

 

 

Lt. Colonel Jeffery Schulman – USMC 

Enduring & Iraqi Freedom – Onward Liberty

 

 

Jeffery Schulman was born in Chicago and was raised in New York City.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps in May 1985.  Following recruit training and Infantry Training School he was assigned to the Naval Security Group, Sebana Seca, Puerto Rico in October 1985 for duties as a Marine Guard.  During his tour he was meritoriously promoted to the ranks of Lance Corporal and Corporal.  Following this he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, and was meritoriously promoted to Sergeant.  In 1989 he was selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program to pursue a commission.

Jeff graduated from The George Washington University in December 1992 with a degree in political science.  After completion of The Basic School and Armor Officers Basic Course he reported to Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms for duty with 1st Tank Battalion.  He served as Platoon Commander, Battalion Legal Officer, Company XO and Company Commander.  He was promoted to captain while the CO of Company D.

Jeff then reported to 9th Marine Corps District in October 1996 for duties as the Officer Selection Officer at Recruiting Station Kansas City.  While there he met Christine Ham, life-long resident of Marengo. Upon his completion of this tour in 1999 and her graduation from Truman State University, they moved to Quantico, Virginia where he completed Career Level School.  Jeff and Chris were married while in Quantico and soon after, they moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky where Jeff was the Inspector-Instructor Company A, 8th Tank Battalion until 2002. He was selected for major before reporting to U.S. Marine Corps Forces Atlantic in July 2002 for duty as the Force Deployment Officer.

In January 2003 Jeff reported to U. S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command Headquarters, Bahrain/Kuwait to serve as the Force Deployment Officer and lead the Working Group in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.  He completed the 9 month deployment and returned to Norfolk.

Jeff then reported to 2d Tank Battalion, 2d Marine Division Camp Lejeune, NC in July 2005 and served as the CO H&S Co. until receiving orders to deploy in January 2006 to Islamabad, Pakistan.  He served as the Marine Corps Liaison Officer to Pakistan’s Naval Forces.

In August 2006 Jeff returned to Camp Lejeune and served as the XO, 2d Tank Battalion.  In January 2008, he deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan and served as lead Planner in the CJ35 for Regional Command East and was also the ISAF Liaison Officer to Afghanistan’s Presidential Protective Service.  He returned to Camp Lejeune in July 2008 and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in August 2008. 

September 2008 he reported to U. S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, FL and served as the Chief, Specialized Courses and Ranges Branch.  Upon completion of his joint tour in August 2011 he reported to III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan for duties as Oceania Exercise Planner, G-3 Future Operations.  In January 2012 he deployed for 1 year to Liberia, Africa in support of Operation ONWARD LIBERTY, serving as Deputy Officer-in-Charge and Advisor to the Armed Forces of Liberia.   

Upon his return from Liberia to Okinawa in 2013, Jeff retired from the Marine Corps following 28 years of faithful service. His personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (Third Award), Meritorious Service Medal (Second Award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Second Award).

On his retirement, Jeff and his family settled back in Christine’s hometown of Marengo and have lived here since.  They have 3 children; Lincoln, Luke, and Samantha and love living in Marengo.  Jeff now works for Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management as the Chief of Logistics.  He is actively involved in local search and rescue and disaster management and volunteers with McHenry County EMA as well as Illinois Search and Rescue.  He is an active member of Zion Lutheran Church as well.  He was blessed to travel the world and serve his country and is now so thankful to call Marengo home. 

Corporal E-4 Anna M. Sourile – USMC

 

 

Anna M Sourile, Corporal E-4 – USMC

Anna was born in 1974 in Nowa Huta, Poland. Her mother Margaret fled Poland during turmoil and despair of communistic rule in hopes of a better life. She had to leave Anna behind with her grandmother and sister. It was not easy but after some time in Austria her mother arrived in the United States. She settled in Chicago.  Anna arrived in the United States at the age of almost 9 and became a naturalized US citizen. She attended Falconer Elementary and Steinmetz Academic Center. She received good grades, took A.P. and honors courses but her dream was to be a dancer and artist… and neuro surgeon. She also attended Foreman high school during 7th and 8th grades for math. She was active in art club, track, cross country, and was senior class secretary. In her junior year she had enough credits to graduate but without direction and knowing how to pay for college she signed up for the Army reserves although she trained weekly with the Marines and poolees. She decided to finish her senior year and at the MEPS station she scratched off Army and signed up for Marine Corps active duty.

The recruiter was livid but she knew it in her heart it was the best decision especially since the Marines training wasn’t any shorter just because she was female. Anna arrived at Paris Island South Carolina on Father’s Day 1992 at the age of 17. It was a difficult training yet it seemed like it was right where she belonged.  It was definitely a test not for the faint of heart. She graduated with a meritorious promotion.

Immediately after that she did a TAD for recruiting duty for several months And then attended MOS School as an 0411 in Little Creek Virginia. She did another 30 days on TAD for recruiting duty. This eventually earned her another meritorious promotion. Anna finally arrived at MCAGCC at 29 palms California. She was attached to 1st Marine division 7th Marines, RCT-7 or Regimental Combat Team-7.  It was one of the main units in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. After the return of her unit she received a meritorious mast and was promoted to Cpl. Her units commanding officer was none other than Gen.”MadDog” Mattis.

Anna held several billets during her time in the Marine Corps as well as cross training as an ammo tech. She also began classes with the Marine Corps Institute as well as a junior college on base. Unfortunately what seemed like a career turned short by an 5-ton truck accident, and she was honorably discharged.  She considers earning that Eagle Globe and Anchor as one of the proudest moments in her life. 

Anna returned to Illinois in 1995 and lived in Hoffman Estates while attending college and working as a waitress full-time.  She attended Harper College and Northeastern Illinois University. She worked in accounting in the construction field for over 20+ years. She also worked part-time as a certified peer support specialist at TLS Veterans and assisting the healthy mind healthy body’s program for NISRA.

She loves art and continues to do it as much as possible.  She is always supporting organizations through charitable work. She is a lifetime member of the McHenry County Marine Corps League Unit #1009 and supports Toys for Tots in both McHenry and Kane County’s. She lived in Algonquin for 17 years before moving to the 5acre home in Marengo in 2016 with her husband of over 20 years and their two sons. 

 

Pvt. First Class Gerald Wright – US Army – Post Korean War

 

 

Gerald E. Wright was born in rural McLean County on April 14, 1935 to Floyd and Lucille Wright, where he lived until he was three.

At the age of three, he moved to Union, IL.  He attended Union Elementary School and then Marengo High School, where he played both Football and Basketball, and graduated in 1954.

Following graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 1, 1954. After completing his Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, he was assigned to the 4th Armored Division , stationed in Stuttgart, West Germany, where he served as a Private First Class (PFC) with both an Artillery unit and a Transportation company until he was honorably discharged in 1956.

He returned to Marengo and married Janet P. Suddeth, living on Coral Road, Rt. 23, and eventually purchasing a home at 200 8th Street, where they still reside to this day.  Together, they raised three children: Randy (1958-2016), Kathy (Rick Donahue) Smith (1958-), and Shari (Mark) Kubiak (1965 -) Gerald has three grandchildren: Alicia Smith, Daniel Smith (1989-2006), and Tanner Wright.

For 42 years, he was employed at Arnold Engineering Co. in the Tool and Die Department and retired in 2000.

He has always had a love of raising animals, such as chickens, goats, cattle on his small farmette, as well as growing a variety of vegetables and berries in his garden plots.  He is also well known for distributing his extra eggs and vegetables to his neighbors, as well as mowing numerous neighborhood yards with his rider mower, or snow-blowing driveways if anyone needed an extra hand.

He is active with the First Methodist Church, loves the Moose and breakfast at the Marengo Café, as well as knowing virtually everyone in town.

 



 

2019 Hometown Hero Banners

Lance Corporal George Bauman – USMC – Vietnam

 

George A. Bauman born January 17, 1950 in Elgin, Illinois.  The first son of Harold and Virginia Bauman.  Grew up in Marengo attending Zion Lutheran School and Marengo Community High School.  Graduated Class of 1968.  George participated in sports – baseball, basketball and football.  He was quarterback his junior and senior years of two undefeated teams.  Classes of 1967 – 1968 started the undefeated string of games which numbered 45.  The classes of 1967 and 1968 were conference champs in baseball, basketball and football.  Do not think any other classes have ever done that.  In basketball, George led the Shark Conference his senior year in scoring with a 22 point average, scoring over 550 points.  This being done before the 3 point shot was started. After graduation, he attended Western Illinois University for one year before entering the USMC.  George took boot camp at Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego, California in 1969.  After boot camp and basic infantry training at Camp Pendleton, he was sent to Vietnam as a 0311 Rifleman.  George was assigned to a Combined Action Platoon.  A CAP unit consisted of 8 – 10 Marines, a Navy Corpsman and a number of Popular Forces.  A PF was a local Vietnamese militia, too young or too old to be in the Army of Republic of Vietnam.  The CAP program was designed to protect the local villages and hamlets.  The CAP Marines lived in and around the villages alongside the local villagers and their families.  During the day, the Marines would run patrols and provide training, security and civic action – medical services to the village people.  At night, they would set ambushes to prevent VC from attacking, infiltrating and harassing the local villagers and elders.  George’s CAP unit, just outside of Danang, was located in what they called the “Rocket Belt”.  Close enough for VC to fire rockets at the Danang airport.  His CAP unit was there to prevent rocket attacks. George was awarded:

  • Vietnamese Campaign Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal – with 3 stars
  • National Defense Medal
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Rifle Marksman Designation

After Vietnam, George ended his Marine career as a Military Policeman (MP).  Once Honorably Discharged, he returned to college at WIU and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  George married Paula S. Osborne in 1972.  Paula the daughter of Dale and Janet Osborne, also local Marengo residents, owned the Marengo–Union Funeral Home.  George and Paula have 3 children – Sarah, Colin and Brittany.  All living and working in the Marengo – McHenry County area.  George is the owner of the Marengo Insurance Agency -along with his daughter, Brittany.

 

 



Private John William Benton – US Army – WWI

 

John William Benton

PVT US Army 1918-Armistice WWI

John W. Benton was born February 1, 1894 in Union to William & Rebecca Benton, only one of seven to survive.  John attended area schools until the fourth grade.  He was chauffeur for E.D. Patrick in 1916 at the age of 22. In 1918 John enlisted because it was his duty to do so. He returned after the Armistice to his chauffeur job and his girl friend Meta Ulrich whom he married January 1, 1921. They had one daughter Margaret. He also had 6 grandchildren, 11 great grand and now great, greats survive him.

In 1935 his wife passed away and in 1937 he wed Gail Webb. They were together over 40 years. He had many jobs over the years – working for BJ Arnold, working at the National sewing machine factory and helping build Marengo High School and the Baptist parsonage. In 1931 he started his own business – Benton Garage. In 1970 at the age of 76 he sold his business and started a job with the city as a parking meter attendant. He was Sgt. of  Arms for the legion for over 45 years and was a charter member. He was a fireman from 1912-1971 at one time being chief. He and his wife Gail were responsible for putting the flags up on main street for the holidays and for putting flags on the graves of area veterans. On Memorial Day he laid the wreath in the cemetery for all the vets up until he died. He passed away in 1985 at age 91.

 



 

Private 1st Class Bobby Carroccia, US Army – WWII

 

 

Ubaldo “Bobby” C. Carroccia

US Army – Private First Class  June 26, 1041 to December 3, 1943 WWII

Ubaldo Carroccia was born October 6, 1918 in Lenola, Italy.

In 1937, at the age of 19, Mr. Carroccia migrated to the United States in search of the American Dream. He entered the United States legally at the Port of Entry in New York City.

On June 26, 1941, Mr. Carroccia voluntarily joined the Army of the United States. He was stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas and at Camp Grant in Rockford , Illinois. For a short period of time, he was stationed in Newfoundland, Canada.

Sometime during his time in Army, Mr. Carroccia became a citizen of the United States.

On January 31, 1941, Mr. Carroccia was married to Mary Giacone who was born in the United States, but raised in Sumbaca di Sicilia, Italy. Together, they had four children: Eugene, Nicolo, Carmela and John. They were married for 71 years.

On December 3, 1943, Mr. Carroccia received an Honorable Discharge. His last rank was Private First Class.

In 1948, Mr. Carroccia moved to Marengo with his family. He lived in Marengo with his family until the time of his death.

Mr. Carroccia as was known as “Bobby.” By trade he was a cobbler. He enjoyed his trade and being able to provide for his family. He was a proud member of the American Legion and served as Post Commander. He was very proud to be a citizen of the United States, and he loved the people of Marengo.

In July 2012, Mr. Carroccia passed away at the age of 94.

Mr. Carroccia was proud to serve his nation in the US army, but he did not consider himself a hero. Rather, he viewed the he had a job to do and he did it to the best of his ability, so together those that served could create a better nation. He believed the real heroes are those who were not able to come home.

 

 

 

Staff Sergeant John Cooper – US Army – Korean Conflict 

 

 

John was born in Chicago on April 7th 1933 to Beatrice Lillian Cooper and John Anthony Cooper. John was the only  son of four children (John, Lynn, Betty, and Violet).  John currently has one surviving sister in Arizona.

The following are the events as best that John can recollect:

After enlisting on October 12th 1952, John was sent to Fort Sheridan in Chicago, then transferred to Fort Knox Kentucky. In those 16 weeks of heavy-weapons infantry training  in the 3rd Armored Division. He was then sent to Camp Stoneman in California to await his destination.

In 1953, John was transferred to Okinawa (BIVE) where he was placed on the 29th Regimental Combat Team until November of 1954 until those colors were retired. John then became a member of the 75th Regiment in “Merrill’s Marauders” in the Ryukyus Command. It was there that John became a Staff Sergeant serving in that occupational force in Okanawa until he was honorably discharged September 22nd, 1955.

Military honors include the “National Defense Service Award”, the title of “Sharp Shooter”, and his unit received the “Presidential Unit Award”. 

After his service, John married Geraldine in Chicago in February 1957, and had one daughter, Kristin Ottolino.  John became an Aeronautical Engineer for Allen Aircraft Radio Corporation in Des Plaines, Illinois. He married Anne Selep in 1987 and stayed with her in Chicago until his retirement.

After his retirement, John and Anne moved to Marengo in 2006 where John became a widower in 2012. During a brief illness, his daughter moved John into her home in Marengo where he resides today. At 86 years old, John is healthy and happy, living with his daughter and his only grandchild, Rio Ottolino.

 

Private 1st Class Donald Fischer – US Army – WWII

 

 

Donald Otto Carl Fischer (Dutch)

Army PFC

June 14, 1943 – October 24, 1945 WWII

Donald O.C. Fischer born September 2, 1924 – died June 24, 1998

He was baptized September 4, 1924 and the son of Albert Fischer and Martha Abraham. By the 1930’s he was living on North Page St. and confirmed April 10, 1938 at Zion Lutheran Church Marengo.  Donald was married November 24, 1946 in his home by Rev. Schaefer from Zion to Margaret E. Kieser.

Military: June 14, 1943 Camp Grant/Honorable discharge. March 23, 1945 rifleman combat infantry man June 26, 1944 Eastern mandated Island Campaign Foreign Service 10 mall days. Member of 12 man rifle squad in combat SW Pacific theatre. Fired M-1 rifle and went on scouting patrols to observe enemy positions and strength.

Children: Don, Jim, John and Ron

Occupation: Trailer truck driver and heavy equipment, dug a lot of basements in Marengo and moved snow. He also worked for Griebels.

Decorations: Asiatic –Pacific theatre ribbon (Saipan), One Bronze Campaign Star, Good Conduct Ribbon, Combat Infantry Ribbon and a purple Heart.

While in Saipan  he was wounded with incoming artillery shells . He spent months in Hawaii in a hospital and then Michigan for re-hab.

Don passed away on June 24, 1998.

 

 

Staff Sergeant Dorothy Johnson – USMCWR – WWII

 

 

Staff Sergeant

Dorothy Marie Johnson

Served in the USMCWR

(United States Marine Corp Women’s Reserve)

13 November 1943 to 14 January 1946

 

The year was 1943 and the United States was in the middle of bitter war that we all know as W.W.II. Dorothy Marie Johnson had been trying for over a year to be accepted in the Armed Forces.

The Navy didn’t want her because of her Hay Fever and Allergies. Dorothy had been working for two local physicians in Rock Island and was quite able to administer her own allergy shots but the Navy didn’t want anything to do with her. Jokingly Dorothy always has stated “Maybe the Navy thought I would turn into a drug addict!”

Then one day in 1943, Dorothy received a call from her cousin, Julia Robb Minor (Julie Benell was her stage name), who had a radio talk show in Dallas, Texas. One of her guest that week had been a Women Recruiter from the Marines and guess what, she had allergies herself!

Dorothy did her Basic Training at Camp LeJeune, NC. where she made PFC (Private First Class) straight from Boot Camp. From basic she was sent TAD (Temporary Assigned Duty) to Cherry Point, NC. where she awaited further assignment.

That assignment turned out to be North Island Naval Base off San Diego, CA. Her second assignment was at El Toro, CA. Most her time was spent at El Toro where she was assigned to ABG2 (Air Base Group 2). Her commanding officer was a Col. Parsons.

In January of 1946, Dorothy’s mother fell down a flight of stairs. Her mother’s doctor had contacted the Red Cross who in turn contacted the authorities at ABC2. Dorothy was given an emergency leave of absence but unknown to her they had also authorized an Emergency Discharge. So Dorothy went home to take care of her mother, for what she thought was going to be week to 10 day leave, that turned into the end of her career in the Marines.

Dorothy was truly saddened by this. She knew that she should be home with her mother but she loved the Marines and the job she was doing! It was a sad day all around for Dorothy Marie Johnson!

 

 

Corporal E-4 Tony Lodl – USMC – Vietnam

 

Tony Lodl

Corporal E-4 USMC 

Tony was born in 1949 to an Italian, Bohemian family. Raised on the West side of Chicago in a diverse neighborhood.  After graduating St. Phillips High School, Tony joined the United States Marines.  Tony served as a mortar instructor during the Vietnam War.  After serving his country, Tony was accepted on the Chicago Police Department where he served 30 plus years on the west side of Chicago. Tony was made Detective after receiving over 90 accommodations.   He worked the tact team undercover for gang violence, narcotics and homicide.  Upon retirement, Tony and his wife moved to Marengo 15 years ago.  Tony helps coordinate the Marengo Union Toys for Tots Campaign.  

 

Staff Sergeant Victor Mortensen – US Army – Korean Conflict 

 

 

Victor was born in Marengo on September 21, 1930 to Charles and Clara (Keller) Mortensen.  He was the youngest of three children and the only son.  Victor’s parents farmed on shares and moved several times during his childhood in and around the Marengo area.  Victor graduated from Marengo Community High School at the age of 16 and went to work for a local contractor and had the benefit of working alongside his cousin Donald Krueger as a carpenter until duty called and he was drafted into the Army to serve in the Korean Conflict.

The following is a timeline of his time of service in his words: “On October 1, 1951 I was inducted into the Army at Fort Sheridan in Chicago, IL.  From there I was sent to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas where I spent the next four days until I was transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. While at Fort Sill I took infantry basic training for eight weeks and then went through eight more weeks of artillery training and fire direction school.  The next stop was Fort Lawton, Washington where I boarded a boat to Camp Drake, Japan where I spent three days, drew supplies, and boarded the same boat to Incheon, Korea.  I arrived at Incheon on April 1, 1952 and was assigned to Baker Battery 17th Field Artillery Battalion.”

“While at Fort Sill we trained on 105 Howitzers which at that time I thought was heavy artillery.  When I arrived at Baker Battery 17th Field Artillery and while waiting to be assigned, the weapon closest to where I was being processed received a fire mission.  When that round was fired I had my first taste of heavy artillery and believe me, I was ready to rotate.  After being reviewed by the commanding officer I was assigned to #4 Gun Section where I remained until I rotated.  Having a farm and construction background, I was assigned as an Assistant Prime Mover Operator. Approximately one month later, the regular operator rotated and I became the operator.”

“The Prime Mover Operator stayed with the gun crew rather than in the motor pool.  The Prime Mover was a M4 18 ton all track vehicle.  When living with the gun crew I was filling in all the duties with the cannoneers when I wasn’t driving or pulling maintenance on the vehicle.  The gun crew was happy to have the extra body so they would let me fill in any position. Consequently, during fire missions I filled in mostly as the telephone operator and the number one man whose duty was to fire the weapon.  Later in my tour of duty I would fill in as the assistant gunner or the gunner.  All of these positions kept me in close proximity to the weapon.  As the number one man, the only protection for the ears was to put the muscle of your right arm over your right ear and reach over the top of your head and put your middle finger in your left ear.  The noise and the back blast and concussion were terrific.  When we fell out for fire missions, most of the time our fatigues were bloused in our boots and by the time you had fired 2 or 3 rounds your boots were untied. We were always warned to keep our mouths open to help prevent concussion.  I did my best, but I still suffered hearing loss in both of my ears that plagues me to this day. Our unit was fortunate that we were only hit by incoming artillery about 10 times and only suffered a few injuries to some of our unit and no fatalities. When we fired counter battery it was very short. Two or three rounds and all would be quiet.”

“I entered the Army as a Private First Class and by the time I left Korea I had been promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. I was rotated from Korea to Fort Mason, California on the 28th day of May, 1953 and transferred to Camp Crowder, Missouri.  On July 15, 1953 I was separated from active duty with a total active time of 21 months and 15 days.”

When Victor returned from service, his parents decided to sell all of their equipment and retire from farming. Due to suffering from severe allergies, Victor supported their decision and took a job at Arnold Engineering as a machine operator.  At the time of his retirement 38 years later he was the 1st shift foreman for Production Machine Shop and Finish Grind.  He also worked part time for several years at Perkin’s Shell Station.

On September 14, 1956 Victor married Carol Driver.  They have lived in the same home on E. Washington St. since 1965 and have raised three children (Sheryl, Scott and Steven).  Through their children they have seven grandchildren and one great grandchild Melissa and Matthew Vogel, Kristin (Mortensen) Talac, Eric Mortensen, Tanner Mortensen, Parker Mortensen, Mackenna Mortensen and Houston Vogel.  

 

Chief Warrant Officer Danny J Rudy – US Army – Vietnam

 

Dan Rudy was born on May 2, 1945.  Lived in Union, Illinois and attended Marengo High School. While at Marengo Community High School Dan was active in football, basketball and baseball. Dan went on to study at Bradley University and Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas, but always knew he wanted to fly.  In 1964 that dream came true when he started to fly at Galt Airport.  Dan entered the United States Army in 1965 under the Warrant Officer Training program and helicopter flight school.  After earning his wings and bars, he was sent to Vietnam.

During the 18 months in Vietnam, he flew 1,634 hours of combat flying time and earned “The Distinguished Flying Cross”, Bronze Star, Meritorious unit commendation, 16 air metals, National Defense Service Metal, Vietnam Service Metal, Vietnam Campaign Metal, 3 overseas bars and the Good Conduct Metal.

Upon completion of his tour in Vietnam, he was assigned as a flight instructor teaching American and Vietnam Cadets how to fly helicopters.

Danny currently resides in Marengo. 

 

 

 

Corporal Allan Wilcox – USMC – Iwo Jima

 

 Allan Ernest Wilcox

Corporal, United States Marine Corps, 3rd Marine Division         

Dates of Service:  August 25, 1942 – September 23, 1945

Conflict:  WWII Pacific Theater of Operations.  January 15, 1943 – May 17, 1945

Allan E. Wilcox was born March 23, 1922 in Marengo IL.

He was raised by his parents Clarence and Mary Wilcox at 411 Maple St. in Marengo.

Allan was a 1941 graduate of Marengo Community High School.

Allan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps August 25, 1942.

During World War II, Allan was deployed to the South Pacific where he;

  • Participated in offensive and defensive action on Bougainville.
  • Participated in the capture and occupation of Guam.
  • Participated in the capture of Iwo Jima.

“Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

-Adm. Chester W. Nimitz

After serving in the Marine Corps, Allan returned to marry Crystalyn Hauschildt of Marengo on June 6, 1945.

They lived for a time in Allegan, MI where Allan worked for L. Perrigo Drug Co. as a line supervisor.

They returned to Marengo where, in 1951, Allan built the house in which to raise their family at 204 7th Ave.

Later, along with his brother-in-law Erwin Steffen, Allan would also build the house across the street at 205 7th Ave.

In Marengo, Allan worked as an iron moulder at the Marengo Foundry for 36 years.

He was Post Commander of the Marengo V.F.W., member of the Marengo American Legion and member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce(Jaycees).

Allan served as Marengo Township Clerk for 36 years.

Allan passed away September 2, 2004.

Siblings: David, Max, Ellwood, Dorothy, Harold(Martin), Betty, Mary, Walter and Nancy.

Children: John(Therese) Wilcox of Milford, MA., Paul Wilcox of Rockford, IL

Grandchildren: Angela Swanson, Katy(Taylor) Wieczorek, Michelle(Brad) Boyer of Colorado and Brittany(Joseph) Competello of New Jersey.

Great Grandchildren: Gavin Swanson, Olivia Swanson, Huck Wieczorek, Thatcher Wieczorek