Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gordon R. Stewart and Raymond H. Maassen

I received a gift of some wonderful older yearbooks from a Scipio man last week. They are the 1939 and 1943 issues of The Echo from Emily Howland Central School (EHCS). Now known as Emily Howland Elementary, this school has been in operation for many years in the Town of Scipio.
Some of the same teachers that I saw in their later years were in those pages, fresh-faced as the students. I found two of my father’s sisters in the grade school photos - Nancy Stoker Goodnough and Isabelle Stoker Mason. Younger versions of my aunts smiled back at me along with many other familiar faces. I have already placed the yearbooks in Scipio’s History Corner and hope you find some time to come flip through the pages and reminisce.

By 1943, the United States was involved in World War II. The 1943 “Echo” opens to a full-page photo of classmate Gordon R. Stewart, accompanied by a moving tribute to his sacrifice for his country.
Gordon R. Stewart was a Scipio boy who became a Marine Corps Private, and he was awarded the Purple Heart. September 25, 1942 is given as his date of death. His name is inscribed forever on the Tablet of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery.
From the American Battle Monuments Commission website at I learned that the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,202. Most of them lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. The headstones are aligned in 11 plots forming a generally circular pattern, set among masses of a wide variety of tropical trees and shrubbery.
On rectangular piers are inscribed the Tablets of the Missing, containing another 36,285 names. Gordon R. Stewart is one of them.

There is also an Editorial in the 1943 Echo by Patricia Keogh. She describes the two flags displayed that year at EHCS; one, the American Flag and the other the service flag. Each blue star on the service flag stood for a boy or girl from EHCS gone to the war. Each gold star stood for those who in Patricia’s words “have died that we might live.” The service flag had two gold stars that year.

Raymond H. Maassen was a second Scipio boy who was awarded the Purple Heart for his brave service to his country in World War II. His name is inscribed alongside that of his classmate on the Tablet of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery. A Private in the US Marine Corps who was present at Guadalcanal, his date of death is given as 26 September 1942.

I searched World War II battle dates on the internet, and found that the Battle of Guadalcanal was fought between August 7, 1942, and February 9, 1943, in the Pacific theater of World War II. The fighting took place on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands.
The first U.S. Marine operation and attempt to attack Japanese forces west of the Matanikau River, conducted between September 23 and September 27, 1942, by elements of three U.S. Marine battalions, was repulsed by troops under Akinosuka Oka's local command. During the action, three U.S. Marine companies were surrounded by Japanese forces near Point Cruz west of the Matanikau, took heavy losses, and barely escaped with assistance from a U.S. Navy destroyer and landing craft manned by U.S. Coast Guard personnel. It would seem likely that this is the battle that cost these Scipio men their lives.

Both these men from our small town of Scipio served their country during World War II and their honorable service resulted in them never seeing Scipio again. I'm grateful their country recognized this sacrifice and awarded them the Purple Heart. I will share a photo of Gordon from the 1943 yearbook on this blog, just use this link:

I invite you to stop by Scipio to see the rest of these yearbooks. Maybe you have a memory to share of Gordon or Raymond, or someone else from Scipio. I would enjoy hearing from you.


Roger A. Post said...

Sandie, here is Gordon Stewart's obituary from the Old Fulton New York Post Cards website.

"Marine, Former Moravian Is Killed In Solomons - PFC Gordon R. Stewart, 18, of the Marine Corps and son of Mr. and Mrs. Orville J. Stewart, 126 Groton Avenue, Cortland, was killed in the Solomon Islands fighting, according to word received by the parents from Lt. T. Holcomb, USMC. Father of the marine is manager of the Lehigh Valley Railroad freight office in Cortland. The family formerly had resided in Moravia. The young marine was born May 9, 1924. Accompanied by a cousin, John S. Bunn, he enlisted January 12, 1942 in Syracuse and they both received basic training at Parris Island, S. C., and additional training at New River, N. C. PFC Bunn went to Northern Ireland while PFC Stewart went to the Solomons. He had written to his parents of landing first at Tulagi Island and then crossing to Guadalcanal where he was killed September 26, according to the War Department communication. Surviving besides his parents are a brother, Lt. O. J. Stewart, Jr., attached to the supply battalion, Fort Benning, Ga., and a sister, Mrs. Joseph Titus, 317 Kellogg Street, Syracuse."
-- Moravia Republican-Register, Moravia, Cayuga Co., NY, Thursday, 5 November 1942

Roger A. Post said...

Sandie, the following article from the Old Fulton New York Post Cards website also concerns Gordon Stewart and one of my relatives, John "Buddy" Bunn.

"Phone calls bring end to prayer puzzle - By TOM COCOLA Citizen Staff Writer - AUBURN—The puzzle is solved. Last week, The Citizen carried a story about 'A Marine's Prayer,' a poem written by a G. E Lord in memory of Gordon Robert Stewart, an 18-year-old Marine from the Sherwood area who lost his life in Guadalcanal during World War II. The poem was found by a former Vietnam veteran, Bill Patrick, when he moved into a house in Scipio in 1978. Patrick gave the poem to Mike Quill, who served for the Marines in Vietnam, and the two men gave the poem to Edward Lauckern, Cayuga County deputy director for veteran's service. But the origins of the poem were hard to track down. Folklore said the poem apparently was copied by a mourning sister. But many of the friends who recalled the poem didn't know where the sister lived and didn't know about the remainder of the Stewart family. But thanks to many phone calls from friends and help from Gordon's aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Stewart of Moravia, The Citizen was able to contact the sister. Lucille Carbulon now lives in Daytona Beach, Fla. Carbulon said she was happy to hear about the poem and recalled it was very beautiful. She said she could 'solve, the puzzle' by giving the true identity of the poet, G. E. Lord. Carbulon said Lord was actually the pen name for John "Buddy" Bunn, Stewart's cousin and dancing friend, mentioned in the previous article. She said Buddy was 'always making up names' and used G.E. Lord when he authored the poem. She said, although a lot of people thought she was involved, it was Buddy who actually copied the poem in the scroll. 'Buddy and Gordon were like brothers,' Carbulon said, 'I remember the poem distinctly. Buddy was quite a person and a deep thinker, and the poem represented the way we all felt about Gordon. She then recalled her brother. She said Gordon had eye problems, and 'ate a lot of carrots' just to pass the eye test so he could serve his country. Gordon left for the service before he graduated high school and died in what would have been September of his senior year. The Sherwood High yearbook of 1943 was dedicated to him. Carbulon also talked about her family. Her other brother, Orville, is a pharmacist in DeLand, Fla., and her mother Jeanette lives in Florida, but has been ill recently. Cousin Buddy eventually served in the Marines and died in California in 1970. Carbulon said she was happy to hear the Memorial Detachment of the Marine Corp League had the poem, and proud to hear county veterans from all wars hold such great respect for the poem. She wished everyone in Auburn well. And Ed Lauckern's office wall is still naked."
-- The Citizen, Auburn, Cayuga Co., NY, Sunday, 7 February 1982

Roger A. Post said...

Sandie, for anyone interested in the history of Gordon Stewart's unit, Andrew V. Ward, ETCS(SS), USN Retired, has authored the following site with specific mention of Gordon (click on "Gone but not forgotten")among those killed at Tulagi: Welcome to the G-Company 2nd Battalion 5th Regiment 1st Marine Division WWII North China,

Tim Bunn said...

I am replying to comments left five years ago by Roger A. Post, in the event he still checks this blog.
I'm Timothy Bunn of Marcellus, NY, a retired newspaper editor. Gordon Stewart was a first cousin of my father, John Stewart "Buddy" Bunn, who is mentioned in Gordon's obituary. Orville Stewart, Gordon's father, was my father's uncle. My father spent his early years in Scipio Center, where his father, John Clarence Bunn was from. My paternal grandfather, John Clarence Bunn, married Bertha Stewart, originally of Iowa but who grew up in Scipio Center. They had two children, my aunt, Marguerite (Peggy White) and then my father. John Clarence Bunn's marriage to Berth Stewart lasted only a few years. My father spent his early years on his grandfather Stewart's farm, living with his widowed grandmother, Emma Stewart, and her son (my father's uncle) Herbert Stewart, while my paternal grandmother Bertha took her daughter Peggy and left Scipio Center to marry another man, her second of three husbands. My father eventually joined Peggy and his mother, Bertha,in Syracuse. John Clarence Bunn moved to Cortland, where he died in 1970. Bertha Stewart married her third husband, George Williams, after WWII and the two of them opened the Iron Kettle restaurant in Daytona, Florida. My father, John S. Bunn, was career military, having spent 4 years in the Marine Corps and 18 in the Navy. While my father was at sea in 1958, my mother and siblings lived for about six months near his mother Bertha's restaurant in Florida. There I came to know orknow of Lucille Carbulon and Orville, whom you refer to above. My father and my mother, Katherine Smolnycki of Syracuse, had four children - two boys and two girls, of which I am the eldest. My father left us in 1961, after he retired from the Navy and he eventually committed suicide at age 47 in San Francisco. He is buried in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. You can see his Navy career and a picture of him as an adult at this website. (Click on "Timeline" under his picture for more information.