19 May 2013

NMAM: Paul Kurenda


Each year the local VFW comes around to the various cemeteries in and around Coatesville (Chester County, PA) and does a nice service and 21 gun salute. Today the VFW is scheduled to visit Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery. Each year a specific veteran is selected and it is at this graveside that the VFW performs their service. Today is supposed to be Paul Kurenda. 

Paul Kurenda is Baba's brother Paul - whom she affectionately always called. He enlisted as a Private on 1 January 1943 in Philadelphia. At the time of enlistment he was a welder at Lukens. He lived at home, up Rock Run, with his mom, Frances. His father, John, had predeceased him. He saw action in the European Theater. Uncle Paul died on 11 August 1944 in service to our country. 

His obituary was published in the now-defunct Coatesville Record.

Coatesville Record
August 12, 1944

PFC. Paul Kurenda, aged twenty-two years, of 1047 Rock Run, died last night in Valley Forge General hospital after a long illness. He was taken ill while in England where he served with the army for one year after training in this country. Brought back, he was treated at hospitals in Charleston, S.C. and Martinsburg, W. Va., before being transferred to the Valley Forge institution.

Funeral services will be held on Monday morning at two 0'clock with High Mass at Holy Ghost Greek Orthodox Catholic church. Interment will be made in Ukrainian cemetery.

PFC Kurenda, who worked as a welder at Lukenweld before entering the service, is survived by his mother, Mrs. Frances Kurenda, of Rock Run; and three sisters, Mary, wife of Andrew Sokso, RD 1; Catherine, wife of John Yuzwick, Rock Run; and Anna, Wife of Joseph Ruczhak, Rock Run.


While his obituary does not include it, Baba & Gigi had told me that Uncle Paulie had developed gangrene in Europe and that his death was due to that. Gangrene - according to dictionary.com - is "
necrosis or death of soft tissue due to obstructed circulation, usually followed by decomposition and putrefaction." He was sent to the government hospital in Martinsburg, WV before he was transferred home to die at Valley Forge. Gigi once told me that Paulie would often write and said that all it did in England was rain. It was hard sometimes to find a dry space to even sleep.

Paul was the baby of the family. He had two brothers: John and Peter; and three sisters: Mary, Catherine and Anna (my Baba). He was born in Coatesville in 1922. He is buried at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery in Valley Township with his parents. Both his parents are my immigrant ancestors.

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