American Legion Post 50 SAL 50 New York USA
Eccleston, Robert, Charles, Harold, and James Edward. Grew up at 318 Fifth Avenue, sons of Mr. & Mrs.
Charles R. Eccleston, all four were graduates of PMHS and served in the armed forces during WWII. Their
Mother was noted as a captain of the Red Cross War Fund Drive. Robert was a sergeant who served in the
medical Corps at Camp Barkeley, Texas. Staff Sergeant Charles was a member of the Army Air Forces and was
an Armorer on a B24 Liberator, he left for overseas on Feb. 22, 1944. Harold was a corporal in the Army
Engineers and was stationed at Camp Abbott, Oregon. Private First Class James of the Army Air Corps. was
assigned to Northern Ireland. Standard Star February 25, 1944 (Dec. 1, 2007)
William R. Gardner, sergeant, US Army. Wounded in southwest Pacific, son of Mrs. Louise Gardner, formerly
of the Esplanade, moved to Mt. Vernon. The Standard Star, Sept. 21, 1943. (Nov. 14, 2007)
John A. Gilberg, a life long resident of Pelham, . A sergeant in WWII, he served in the U.S. Army 8th Air Force
for three years in England, France and Germany. In 1948 he married Norina Maffucci. and they had sons Peter
J., Kenneth D. and daughter-in-law Michele. He was the grandfather of John M. and Kenneth D. Jr. He had a
brother, Gerald and wife Kerstin of St. Augustine, FL. John was also a HAM radio operator with call letters
KB2JKS. He belonged to several HAM radio clubs and was an active member of the Pelham Senior Citizens
Club. He died at age 83 on died on December 24, 2006. He is interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery. (Nov. 10, 2007)
Lt. Charles Goldschmid Jr. of 99 Reed Avenue, served with the 581st Army Bomber Squadron, and was
awarded the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. Lt. Goldschmid was shot down on July 26, 1943 and held as a
POW in Germany. Reported as a Prisoner of War in Germany during February 1944, he was liberated in 1945
Standard Star Feb. 17, 1944 firstname.lastname@example.org (Dec. 7, 2007)
Duncan Campbell Gray, was a second generation Pelham resident, who lived here all his life with three
younger brothers who all served in WW II.
"My dad was very much a WWII veteran. Army Air Corps, a B-17 navigator. He was on 32 some odd missions.
Has this apocryphal award from his buddies that I still have making him a member of "Ye Lucky Bastards Club"
for surviving 32 missions. I think that is the right number, but any way, it meant he didn't have to go up
anymore." Story provided by Duncan Gray Jr. (Nov. 10, 2007)
David C. Griffith Sr., A veteran of World War II, he served in the Airborne Unit of the Army Air Corps, flying
rescue missions to the Pacific Theatre. A longtime resident of Pelham and Mount Vernon, he died at his home in
Pompano Beach, FL. at the age of 80 in June of 2006.
The former Chief Financial Officer for Union Carbine Inter-America he was born in 1923 to the former Matilda
Kelly and John J. Griffith at their home in Mt. Vernon. He attended St. Gabriel's High School and went on to earn
an undergraduate Engineering degree from Manhattan College at the age of 19. He attended New York
University for his Masters in Chemical Engineering before launching a 30-year career at Union Carbide. He is
survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Ruth Mitchell, of Pompano Beach; four children, David Jr. of Rye,
Claire Marie of Queensbury, NY, Stephen of Exton, PA and Virginia Griffith Schirmer of Corning, NY. He was
survived by one brother, Dr. James Griffith of Sarasota, FL, and one sister, Genevieve Selzer of Charlotte, NC.
He was predeceased by brothers John, a longtime Mt. Vernon Judge, and Martin, sisters Catherine, Mary
Peterson, Cecilia, Grace Sharr and Helen Carmody. A Memorial Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Perpetual
Help and he was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery. Journal News (Nov. 17, 2007)
Captain Francis Edgar Haag, Jr. grew up at 20 Benedict Place, the son of Major Francis Edgar Haag of the
Army Signal Corps who died in Sept. 1945 and Bertie Beverage. He attended junior high school in Pelham then
graduated from Canterbury Prep in CT and attended Rutgers University. He married the former Miss Anna
Louise Meyer of Greenwich, CT in April of 1943.
A B24 Liberator pilot, he flue in the Pacific with General McArthur's Fifth Air Force. In 1943 and early 1944 he
was in action near New Quinea. During an attack on Rabaul, he was able to help hold off 50 Japanese planes
from a friend's crippled bomber. Interviewed back home in Pelham in April of 1944, he described the incident,
"Three of us were the last to leave the target when my pal's engine was knocked out by the 50 Zero's waiting
around. Another friend and I dropped out of formation, and then the Japs really made for us. They finally got my
pal and he landed in the water. He and the co-pilot were killed but the other eight got out on their rafts." Capt.
Haag described that the second plane flew low over the crippled plane in the water, swinging back and forth,
trying to protect it from the concentrated attack of the enemy planes, "It was our gunners who saved the day"
described the Capt. "They really did a fine job with their accurate and steady aim".
Captain Haag was awarded the Army's Silver Star for his heroism that day, he also held the Distinguished Flying
After the war he worked as a textile executive and stockbroker and lived in Greenville, SC. He was an original
inductee into the South Carolina Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame, chairman of the board of directors of St. Francis
Hospital and of St. Mary's Catholic Church. He died May 5, 2000 at age 80 while visiting Rome, Italy. He was
predeceased by his wife Anne Meyer Haag, and was survived by three children, Tracy H. McCarthy of Ruxton,
MD, Constance H. Johnston of Greenville, and Francis E. Haag III of Raleigh NC and four grandchildren.
Standard Star April 6, 1944 Ancestry.com (November 22, 2007)
Victor W. Henningsen Jr., served during World War II in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean war
zones as a midshipman, third and second mate in the merchant navy, finishing as Lt. (JG) USNR. He regarded
service in North Atlantic convoys during the height of the Battle of the Atlantic as the most maturing experience of
Mr. Henningsen, died on March 26, 2007 at age 82, was a lifelong resident of the town and a major figure in
Pelham affairs for more than 50 years. Mr. Henningsen was a second-generation Pelhamite, his mother, Betty
Dillon Henningsen, having lived here since girlhood. Born on May 19, 1924, he lived with his family in North
Pelham and Pelham Heights before moving to Pelham Manor. Although he resided on the Esplanade for more
than 50 years, he always referred to himself as "an immigrant" to the Manor.
Mr. Henningsen attended the Pelham public schools, Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, the U.S. Merchant Marine
Academy and Yale University. An international leader in the poultry and egg industry, Mr. Henningsen spent his
entire professional career with the family business, Henningsen Foods Inc., founded by his grandfather in 1889.
He joined the business full time in 1950, rising to President and CEO in 1962 and retiring in 1993. At the time of
his death, he was the firm's Chairman Emeritus.
Mr. Henningsen was an active volunteer who believed deeply both in "giving back" in return for the benefits he
received and in "giving forward" so that others would benefit. The first person in his family to graduate from
college, he cared profoundly about education and served all of his alma maters in a number of volunteer
capacities. A longtime trustee of the Chapel of St. Thomas More at Yale University, he was a past trustee and
president of the Board of Trustees of Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, VA, a former president of the Yale Club
of New York City, and former president of the American Friends of the Bermuda Maritime Museum.
But his most enduring commitment was to the Town of Pelham and, particularly, to the Village of Pelham Manor.
Over the years he served as chair of the Pelham Community Chest (now United Way of Pelham), as a member of
the Village Planning Board, as trustee and mayor (1969-71) of the Village of Pelham Manor, and as co-chairman
of the Friends of the Pelham Town Library. He was also past chairman of the board of Sound Shore Medical
Center. At the time of his death he was still active in efforts to bridge political divisions and bring good people
together in service of the community he loved.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Mayde; his children and their spouses: Vic and Susan of Andover, MA; Kit
and Caroline of Stony Creek, CT; Mary and Chris Collins of Pelham Manor; Tim and Anne of Wexford, PA. He is
also survived by his brother, John T. Henningsen of Rye, and sister, Ann H. Kneisel, of Boston, MA. A Memorial
Mass was held on March 31 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Pelham Manor, NY.
Colonel James Creelman Huntley, USAF, was a second generation graduate of the United States Military
Academy, his father a member of the class of 1906. While attending the Signal School, Col. Huntley was
introduced to Bunny Nindeman of Pelham, New York. Classmate Don Vlcek introduced them at the Three Crowns
restaurant. In January 1944, they were married.
His World War II assignments were in support of the Air Corps, commanding a signal company in the invasion of
Leyte. His WWII service took him, through a progression of islands including Oro Bay, Hollandia, Mindoro, Ie
Shima, Okinawa, Luzon, and, was part of the occupation forces in Tokyo. It took him a year to get home because
his services were deemed essential in the turbulence which followed the Japanese surrender. He transferred to
the Army Air Force in 1947, and spent the rest of his thirty years of military service in the new branch of the Air
The Huntley's had two children, a daughter Deborah Kenney and a son Jeffrey. During repetitive assignments to
the Pentagon, they lived near Washington. Mrs. Huntley's favorite assignment was their tour in Belgium with the
Military Assistance Advisory Group. When they came back, he used to say she was, figuratively, still in Belgium.
But physically, they moved to Randolph Field, to United States Air Force Europe in Wiesbaden, and finally to an
assignment as Director for Administration of the United States Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force
Base. In 1972, he retired after a career in which he had won the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the
Meritorious Service Medal, and two Air Force Commendation Medals.
After retirement, his wife's health began to fail and Mr. Huntley increasingly devoted time to her welfare. Mrs.
Huntley died in May 1986. In turn, Jamie’s health began to fail, and in August, only three months after his wife,
he died of cancer. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
Among his papers, Col. Huntley left some words of reflection on his life. He wrote, “Regardless of what people
say, military or civilian service in the Armed Forces is an honorable and worthwhile life. I would not have changed
my position in the service for any civilian position.... The most important assets in the military, now and in the
future, are its personnel. Machines can be replaced — life cannot.”
A USMA classmate wrote about him, "And so there left us an honorable man, born and brought up in service to
the country, who quietly did important work for the nation. He never complained at misfortune, nor lost his love of
family, country, and West Point. The nation has lost an asset, and we a loyal friend." Assembly, December 1987
United States Military Academy 1987, Ahttp://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jchuntley.htm (Jan. 1 2008)
Lt. John P. Kessler USAAF grew up at 543 Manor Lane in Pelham Manor, graduated from PMHS in 1935 and
went on to study at Colgate University for one year. He worked as a salesman before enlisting in the Army in
February 1941 and initialed served with the Coast Artilery an anti-aircraft unit before transferring to the Army Air
Force in January 1942. He took initial flight training in Texas and was given his wings and commissioned at
Moore Field on Oct. 9, 1942. He was promoted to first Lieutenant in August 1943.
As a fighter pilot, Lt. Kessler flew a P47 Thunderbolt he nicknamed "Fistolysis" a member of the Eighth Army Air
Force fighter group responsible to provide coverage to heavy bombers making missions over Germany and
other Nazi territories. In February 1944, at age 26, Lt. Kessler was awarded the Air Medal for meritorious service
in completion of 10 operational sorties over enemy occupied Europe. He received an Oak leaf Cluster on
completion of 20 operational sorties over enemy territory. Standard Star February 25, March 22, 1944 (Dec.
LTC Kenneth G. Kraetzer USA (Ret.), a World War II veteran, a career Army Officer, and a member of
American Legion Post 50 in Pelham. He was honored in 2000 as the Grand Marshall of Pelham’s Memorial Day
Parade. The retired Lieutenant Colonel lived in Pelham Manor for many years, passed away on October 14,
2004 at the age of 85.
A native of the Bronx, LTC Kraetzer joined the New York National Guard in October 1939 based at the
Kingsbridge Armory and was called up to active duty in February of 1941. He was a sergeant stationed at Fort
Ethan Allen in Vermont the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and in October 1942 he was commissioned an artillery
officer at Fort Sills, OK. Three days later he returned to Pelham and married the former Adele Lahey, a member
of PMHS ’38, at the chapel where Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church now stands. After training in Washington
State and Oregon, Mr. Kraetzer went to North Africa in May of 1944 with the 348th Field Artillery Battalion of the
91st Infantry Division. The next month, his unit was sent to Italy as part of the 5th U.S. Army and served in the
battles at Arno, North Apennines and Po Valley which marked the final liberation of Italy.
After World War II, LTC Kraetzer served with the 415th Field Artillery Group at Fort Jackson, SC and later as
Army liasion to the flagship USS Taconic; ACG17, based in Norfolk, VA. In 1949 he joined the 2nd Armory
Division at Fort Hood TX and later served with them for several years in Germany. In 1955 he served as an
Operations Commander of the Nike Missile Project in Baltimore. In 1957, he served at Camp Zama, Japan with
the United Nations forces and later on the 38th Parallel border of Korea. LTC Kraetzer completed his military
service at First Army Headquarters at Governors Island, NY. Upon his retirement in 1961 he was awarded the
Army Commendation Medal.
Mr. Kraetzer was associated with RH Donnelly in Mt. Vernon, Hort & Hardart and the Sealtest-Tuscan-John
Labatt Company in New York. In 1989 he received the J. H. Moore Award for Excellence from Labott recognizing
lifetime achievements. LTC Kraetzer graduated from the University of Maryland and in retirement completed a
MS in Pastoral Counseling at Iona College in 1994. He was the father of Mary Kraetzer of Ossining, Ann Kraetzer
of Colorado Springs and Kenneth Kraetzer, Jr. of White Plains and grandfather of Colin Whiteneck and Ryan
Whiteneck. His wife of 46 years, Adele Lahey Kraetzer, passed away in 1988. A Mass of Christian Burial washeld
at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church with interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, NY. Journal News
(Nov. 17, 2007)
PFC Frederick V. Krais USA, an outstanding tennis player, grew up at 1007 Grant Avenue in Pelham Manor
the son of Frederick V. Krais. A student at Fordham Uniiversity after the 1942 academic year to join the Army.
During the early months of 1944 he went overseas and served with the 401st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion. He
received two battle stars for service in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, mostly likely in Italy.
Krais was captain of the Tennis team at Pelham Memorial High School and in 1941 and 1942 was Captain of the
Tennis team at Fordham University. He won the National Junior Indoor Doubles title, the New York State Junior
Single and Doubles, the Cape Cod men's Single and Doubles, Westchester County Junior Singles, and the
Maine State Junior Singles and Doubles titles. Standard Star May 15, 1945 (January 6, 2008)
Lt. James Samuel Lansing, USNR was born Sept. 16, 1919, in Pelham, N.Y., the son of Corporal and Mrs.
James F. Lansing who lived at 135 Fourth Street. He graduated from Pelham Memorial High School and then
from Seton Hall Prep in South Orange, N.J.
In 1940, when Fordham University was a national football power, Lansing helped the Rams to an 8-1 record and
a trip to the Cotton Bowl, where they lost to Texas A&M, 13-12. In 1941, he led the Rams to another 8-1 record
and the Sugar Bowl, where they beat Missouri, 2-0. Jim Crowley, then the Fordham coach, called Lansing the
best end he had ever coached. Before the Sugar Bowl game, William D. Richardson wrote in The New York
Times, ''In addition to being one of the best, though least publicized defensive players in the college ranks today,
Lansing is a great pass receiver.'' Lansing was named an All-American at Fordham.
In 1942, Lansing was called to active duty by the Navy Air Corps. He served as a dive-bomber and fighter pilot
and received the Distinguished Flying Cross. He flew as a member of unit commanded by "Butch" O'Hare, killed
during a raid on Makin Island, who O'Hare Airport in Chicago was named for. He participated in the raids on Truk
Island in the Pacific and other engagements in the aircraft carrier battles of the Pacific War in WWII. While home
on leave, in March of 1944, he described the Battle at Truk,
"We flew from our carrier at dawn after the fighters had eliminated Japanese opposition in the air. After a short
space of time, we arrived and the fun began. My target was a light cruiser and luckily my bombs made a direct
hit on the stern, causing the sides to blow out." The account of his remarks went on, "He attributed the success
of the fliers to coordination learned in American sports. The fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers
worked together, "Like a group of professional football players" and with such teamwork, he held it is only a
question of time until Togo will wish he had minded his business."
In May of 1945, Lt. Lansing was reported to have shot down a Japanese plane, known as a "Judy" that was
attempting to attack his home aircraft carrier off of the coast of Japan. It was the first combat engagement for
his squadron. His parents lived at that time at 125 Mayflower Avenue, in New Rochelle.
Lt. Lansing returned to Fordham for his senior season in 1946 but injured a shoulder in the opening game,
ending his playing career. From 1947 through the 1954 season, he was an assistant coach under Ed Danowski,
working with fellow assistant Vince Lombardi. From 1955 to 1961, Lansing coached at Blessed Sacrament High
School in New Rochelle. He coached Fordham's return to football as a club team starting in 1964, and won the
national club championship in 1965 and 1968. His six-year record with the club team was 18-10-1. He continued
as coach when Fordham regained varsity status in 1970. In 1972, he retired from coaching to devote his time to
administrative jobs in the Athletic Dept at Fordham.
Jim Lansing died in his sleep in early December 2000 at his home in New Rochelle at age 81. His second wife,
the former Janice Graham of Mount Vernon, died in 1982. He was survived by two daughters, Janice Brecht of
Franklin, Mass., and Jennifer Lansing of San Diego; a son, James of Mount Vernon, N.Y.; and two grandchildren.
The Standard Star March 15, 1944 and May 7, 1945. The New York Times, FRANK LITSKY Dec. 9, 2000 (Dec.
Wikipedia Edward O'Hare
Louis G. Leahy, a bomber pilot on the European front in World War II, shortly after his return from the service
he married Patricia (Cusack) Leahy of Pelham, NY, both were graduates of Pelham Memorial High School. She
was the daughter of the late May (Curren) and Matthew Cusack of Pelham. Mrs. Leahy had two sisters, Joan
(Cusack) Schuler and Geraldine (Cusack) Luby, both of Pelham. They had a daughter Kathleen (Leahy) Born
and her husband John Robert Born. Lou was known as an avid golfer at the Pelham Country Club. Lou died in
1999, his wife in August 2006. (Dec. 1, 2007)
CPL Thomas W. Lynch, USMC. was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Lynch Sr who lived at 11 Lawrence Place in
Pelham Manor. He was a graduate of St. Michael's prep in the Bronx and worked at the Francis H. Leggett
Company, a food distributor, before enlisting in the military in July 1942. He trained at Paris Island, SC; New
River, NC; and Camp Pendleton, CA before going overseas in January 1943.
CPL Lynch was twice wounded in action, the first time on July 4th 1944 at Saipan. He was a veteran of the
campaigns in the Marshall Islands, Saipan, at Tinian, and Iwo Jima. At Iwo Jima, he helped evacuate wounded
Marines under deadly enemy machine gun fire by using grenades for cover. They wrapped the wounded in
ponchos and dragged them from hole to hole. On February 26th 1945, he was wounded in the left hand in
action on Okinawa and awarded the Purple Heart on April 12th. Standard Star July 11, 1945. (Dec. 3, 2007)
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