25 May 2018

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is is a day set aside in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. While I am appreciative of everyone who has served - both in war and in peace - this weekend is for those who died while serving ... like my Uncle Paul.

Paul Kurenda - Paulie as Baba always called him - died while serving in World War II. He had been serving in Europe and came down ill so the Army sent him stateside, first to South Carolina then to West Virginia then finally home to die. He passed away 11 August 1944 at the Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, Chester County, PA. His official cause of death was "tuberculosis, pulmonary, acute, military, bilateral." He was just 22 years old when he died.

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."

So this weekend, my thoughts - as they often are - are with my Uncle. May His Memory Be Eternal.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2018

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Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.