Godwin veterans in various wars.

- Godwin veterans in various wars. -

No information is available at this time about WWI, but Godwin graduates, mostly male, volunteered for service during WWII by the dozens, and some paid for it with their lives. The information below is but a small subset of all those who entered the service, and their stories simply reflect the information available at this time. So many entered the service between about 1941 and 1945 that class sizes during those years shrank, sometimes substantially. There were something like 16 million US citizens in uniform during WWII, and up to 400,000 lost their lives, with many more being significantly wounded.

WWII was the last declared war. While the Korean conflict is sometimes called a war, it was never declared so by the US Congress. The same is true with the Vietnam war, which is yet another conflict in legal terms. In any case, be it a conflict or a war, people died in them, and many others had their lives permanently changed. During WWII, it was not uncommon for young men, sometimes 17 years old, to go off to war and not be seen again for four and five years. The notion of sacrifice was clearly much more substantial back then.

America was somewhat lucky during WWII. For those that didn't volunteer, and weren't drafted, life on the home front was pretty normal. Those in the service knew this, and were not always happy about it. The US government attempted to get those on the home front involved some, by getting people to participate in materials drives of one sort and another - paper, steel, rubber, etc. - but in fact there were few real shortages, and as in most US wars, it was the servicemen that bore the bulk of the sacrifice. Things like war profiteering and "Dear John" letters illustrate some of the more seamy sides of the war that one sees even during national emergencies. But most people were at worst indifferent, and at best helped the war effort in whatever way they could, short of enlisting.

The pieces below give brief stories about the fates of those that did enlist. There is no particular order to the entries, other than by the war each person was associated with. Many people finished WWII and then were required to serve in the Korean conflict also. It's not clear yet just how many there were. Other Godwin vets should consider sending me their names and service information.

What comes through in all cases is that during WWII people of few years shouldered huge responsibilities. In a span of two months they went from being raw recruits to having to manage themselves and others in life and death situations. While not everyone saw combat, most served anywhere from three to five years. In year 2006, even six months service is considered extreme hardship, causing many to wonder whether America has the will to take care of itself today in the way it did in the early 1940s. Families like the Bravada's had three sons in one family in service at the same time, merely pointing out that the problem had to be dealt with. Those that served often as not came back after the war and, despite all they'd seen, quickly became productive citizens again.

- WWII -

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The above photo of a list of Godwin students in WWII suggests that there were about 220. The history of the list is not known, as is whether it is complete. Many were drafted or joined after graduating from Godwin, and those might or might not be properly accouted for. Those that dropped out to enlist are probably better accounted for. The photo above is not good enough to see each name - perhaps some day someone will want to transcribe the names.

The 1946 yearbook lists the following as WWII dead - left click on any of those underlined for a photograph. If anyone has a photograph of the others that I can scan, please contact me.

Fred Baker-'41

Harold Brink-'39

Richard Larson-'36

John Oldfield-'40

Winfield Saurman-'34

Charles Schooley-'39

John Schooley-'41

Norman Swanson-'40

Lowell Willis-39

The Schooley boys were brothers.

Material provided by a 1966 effort to write a history of Godwin book. The effort was apparently abandoned.

Ironically, at least two of those who died in uniform during WWII were killed in freak accidents right in the US. Charles Schooley, class of 1939, died in a plane crash in Crookston, MN. Richard Larsen, class of 1936, was killed in an automobile accident in Grand Rapids while on furlough.

Based on the fact that about one person in 40 in uniform died during WWII, as many as 320 Godwin students might have volunteered or been drafted. Whether that's just in combat, or from all sources, is not known. All three of Sam Bravata's children entered the service, and all three lived. Sam Bravata felt the war was something that had to be dealt with before normal life could go on, and his sons rose to the challenge.

There used to be a monument on the school grounds with the names of WWII people killed in action. ( Information provided by Lee Neugent, class of 1948. )

The pieces below are but a sample of all those from Godwin who served in WWII. Nine were killed, and it's likely that many more were injured to one extent or another.

The pieces below are arranged alphabetically, with the date they appeared, where known. In some cases more than one person appears in a piece, and the name of the first is used for entry in to the table. In other cases, there is more than one piece for the same person. In that event a number is attached for each piece. Left click on any of the items in the table below to view a newpaper piece about those inovlved. Use the name index to find out more about a person.

Jack Beard 1943
Kenneth and James Berkey 1944
Joe and Nick Bravata 1944
Harold G. Brink December 29, 1944 1
Harold G. Brink December 29, 1944 2
Harold G. Brink December 29, 1944 3
Charles, Forrest, and Jame Dever 1943 1
Charles, Forrest, and Jame Dever 1943 2
Herbert C. Fish 1944 3
Robert W. Fox 1943
Jack Leatherman 1944
Anton J. Looman 1943
Charles W, Schooley September 14, 1942
William Stacey 1943
Edward E. Thomas November 10, 1942
Edward E. Thomas August 7, 1944
Lowell H. Willis 1944
Harry E. Wilson March 16, 1944

- Korea -

Charles McBrian - class of 1947. U.S. Marine, he died in the Korean War.
"He was president of his class and a great guy."

( Information provided by Lee Neugent, class of 1948. )

- Vietnam -

Left click on the names below for larger versions.

Roy W. Chamberlain - class of 1961

Michael Holloway - class of 1968

Rich Medaris - class of 1967

Jerry L. Stout - class of 1968

Ed Wessels - class of 1968