Adams County

Donald Dean Eckles


Donald Nevius, Donald Eckels
Reported “Missing In Action”


Relatives Are Notified By War Dept.



Shortly afternoon Wednesday, the Harry Pell family in Corning were notified by the War Department that Pvt. Harlie Ewing, husband of Ruth Pell Ewing, was missing in action in France since June 6. Pvt. Ewing was a member of the American Paratroopers and had been overseas about a year.                                  

The missing in action” column of the Adams County Honor Roll of Service Men and Woman is increased by two this week, as relatives were notified by the War Department that Donald Nevius of Corning, son of Mrs. Bertha Nevins and Donald Eckles, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels of Grant township, were missing in action. The Nevins telegram came Sunday and the Eckels word came Monday.

Donald Eckels was a member of the American paratroop forces and had been overseas in England for approximately a year. The War Department states Donald has been missing since June 6, invasion day in France. The last letter received from him was written May 24th.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, July 27, 1944, Page 1

Killed In Action

Last week Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels of Grant township, were notified by the War Department that their son, Pfc. Donald D. Eckels, was missing in action in Normandy since June 8, 1944. Tuesday a second message from the War Department brought the sad information that Donald was killed in action in Normandy on “D” Day. He was a paratrooper and was probably with the first of these units in the invasion.

Pfc. Eckels had been serving overseas with the paratroopers for 11 months at the time of his death. A member of the1940 graduating class of Lenox high school, he was employed by the Curtiss Wright company in Buffalo, N. Y. before volunteering for service about two years ago.

Donald is survived by his parents, one elder brother, Lew of Lenox, and one sister, Mrs. Flora Saccaro of Waukegan, Ill.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, August 03, 1944, Page 1

Memorial Held Sunday
For Pfc. Donald Eckels

A very beautiful and impressive Memorial Service was held in the Community Hall in Lenox last Sunday afternoon in memory of Pfc. Donald Dean Eckles, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels of Grant township. In spite of the intense heat, a large crowd gathered to pay tribute to this fine lad, an American Paratrooper killed in France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was 21 years old.

Banked by a profusion of beautiful flowers, made up in wreaths and baskets, a replica of the grave of an American soldier on foreign soil held the center of the platform. A helmet hung on a white cross at the head of the grave. A beautiful wreath with the word “Donald” inscribed thereon, stood at the side of the grave replica while a photo of the young man was placed above the wreath.

Members of the American Legion Parkinson Post No. 250 and the Legion Auxiliary took part in the ceremony. As Winstone Tyler, on the trumpet, played “To The Colors,” the members marched to their places behind the American flag and the Post Colors. Newly elected Post Commander, Geo. Davison, was seated on the platform and read the Legion ritual. Post Adjutant, Claude Reynolds was also seated on the platform. Mr. Roland Walter, representing the Auxiliary, [Page 6] lighted the candle on the grave and gave a short reading.

Music during the service included two vocal duets, “Same Day” and “Sometime We’ll Understand,” very beautifully presented by Mrs. Ben Wurster and Mrs. Glen Leckliter. Ronald Buxton sang as a solo number, “New Glory to Told Glory.” Mrs. Roy Long was accompanist on the piano for all the numbers.

Rev. Earl Moneymaker, pastor of the Lenox Presbyterian church, of which Donald was a member, had charge of the service of the afternoon. After scripture reading and prayer, Rev. Moneymaker read a short sketch of the life of Donald. This is printed in this issue on page one of the second section of the Free Press. Rev. Moneymaker paid a very high tribute to the character and standing of Donald in his home community. Donald professed his faith in March, 1940, becoming a member of Rev. Moneymaker’s congregation. The speaker stated that Donald saw and realized the danger that threatened our Christian civilization and was willing to pay the last full measure of devotion to protect our American way of life. The speaker said it was difficult for us to understand why some should be denied, like Donald, their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but had faith that his reward would not be denied by a higher power, for having sacrificed his life on the altar of the war god.

In closing, Rev. Moneymaker expressed fear that wars can not be prohibited in years to come unless man drives out of his heart greed, avarice and desire for power and replaces them with deep love for God and his fellowmen.

Lyle Bush then placed the gold star on the Presbyterian Service flag and Harrey Butler, member of the Legion, presented an American flag to Donald’s mother. The assembly then marched down town to the Service Men’s Honor Roll board where Earl Headel painted a gold star in front of the name of Donald E. Eckels. A firing squad from the Legion fired the usual salute and Roland Walter lead the assembly in repeating the pledge of Allegiance to the flag. The impressive program closed with “taps” sounded in the distance by Winstone Tyler.

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Donald Dean Eckels, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren E. Eckels, was born Dec. 8, 1922, in Grant Twp., Adams County, and was killed in action in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. He went through the same grade school as his father and grandmother and was graduated from Lenox High School in 1940. He was active many years in 4-H Club work and won many prizes both at Corning and the State Fair.

Since he has been in service he has invested 40 to 50 per cent of his savings in War Bonds to establish a herd of Shorthorn after the war. He worked several months at the Curtiss-Wright Airplane plant at Buffalo, New York, quitting there to enlist in the Parachute Infantry, August 17, 1942. He was assigned to the Headquarter Company, 2nd Battalion, 506 Parachute Infantry at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. This battalion was activated July 20, 1942, and was identified by above date of activation and camp on the evening of D-day, by a reporter who had made the plane trip across the channel with the boys and witnessed the jump. He remarked that this Battalion had an extraordinary record in that it had suffered only two casualties in its entire training period. It received a citation for outstanding performance of duty Dec. 1 to 4, 1942, in marking a forced march from Camp Toccoa to Atlanta, Georgia, a distance of 118 miles in three days, carrying full field equipment which included machine guns and 81 M.M.’s. Almost the entire distance was over rough, muddy roads with rain or snow the entire trip. The actual marching time, according to the citation was 33 hours and 30 minutes which established a world’s record.

Other training camps included Fort Benning, Georgia and Alabama, Camp Mackall, North Carolina, Maneuvering in Tennessee and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From there he was sent to England where he was stationed until D-day.

He was a quiet and unassuming and had sincere admiration for his entire staff of officers. He was a member of the Presbyterian church. He was preceded in death by an infant brother and sister. He leaves to mourn his loss, his parents, an elder brother, Lew of Lenox, a sister, Mrs. Flora Saccaro of Waukegan, Ill., his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Huxtable, two nieces, Louise and Carole Eckles, and a nephew, Richard Saccaro, besides a host of friends and other relatives.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, August 10, 1944, Pages 1, 6 & 8

Lenox Legion Pays Final Tribute to
Pfc. Donald Eckels, Paratrooper Killed in France


Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, August 31, 1944, Page 1

Posthumous Awards to Lenox Couples

LENOX, (AP) – Two Lenox couples have received the posthumous award of the purple heart from the war department in behalf of their two sons.

Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckles accepted the award for Pfc. Donald Eckles, killed in action in Normandy on D-day. He was a paratrooper.

Mr. and Mrs. Pearl Reynolds have received the medal for Pfc. Harold C. Reynolds, killed in action on Bougainville Nov. 9, 1943.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Wednesday, October 04, 1944, Page 7

News About Adams County
Men and Women in the Service

Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels, of near Lenox, have received from the government the certificate of the award of the Purple Heart to their son, Donald Eckles, who was killed in action in France.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, October 05, 1944, Page 6

Receive Information On Donald D. Eckels Burial

Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels,  of near Lenox,  have received information from the office of the Quartermaster General giving them information about the burial place of their son, Pfc. Donald D. Eckels, in France. Donald was an American Paratrooper and was killed in Normandy on D-Day, June 8, 1944. The letter gives the following information:

“Information submitted to this office reveals that the remains of your son were interred as one of our honored dead in a respectful and reverent manner. The cemetery is known as the U. S. Military Cemetery, St. Mere Eglise No. 2, St. Mere Eglise, France. The remains are in Grave 63 of Row 4, Plot E. An Army Chaplain conducted a Protestant ceremony at the Grave and a temporary marker with a fitting inscription thereon has been erected. The cemetery is under immediate supervision of our military authorities. Please accept my sincere sympathy in the loss of your son.”

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, December 07, 1944, Page 1

Three Soldiers Dead
Returned For Burial

The bodies of three more of the fifty Adams County young men who lost their lives, many of them on foreign soil in World War II, are soon to be returned home for burial. Sgt. William R. Thompson, Pfc. Donald D. Eckels and Pvt. Donald Nevius. All will be shipped to the Graves Registration and distribution center at Kansas City, later to be shipped to home stations for burial.

[NOTE: Portions of this article regarding Sgt. Thompson and Pvt. Nevius have been omitted but appear on their individual webpages within this site.]

Pfc. Donald D. Eckels

Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels of Lenox have been notified that the body of their son, Pfc. Donald D. Eckels, is being returned from Normandy [aboard the U. S. Army Transport Lawrence Victory]. Donald was a paratrooper and was killed in the invasion of Europe in June, 1944. He had been overseas 11 months. A member of the 1940 graduating class of the Lenox High school, he was employed by the Curtis Wright Co. of Buffalo, N. Y. before volunteering for service.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, September 02, 1948, Page 5


Memorial services were held at 2 o’clock Friday, September 17, at the United Presbyterian Church in Lenox for Pfc. Donald D. Eckels. Pfc. Eckels, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels of Grant Township, was killed in action on June 6, 1944 during the Normandy invasion. He was a member of the paratroopers and was 21 years of age at the time of his death.

Donald Dean Eckels, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Eckels, was born on the family farm near Lenox on Dec. 8, 1922. He was one of five children, two dying in infancy, and those surviving with his parents being Lew Eckels and Mrs. Angelo (Flora) Saccaro.

Donald graduated from the Lenox high school with the class of 1940. On August 17, 1942, he enlisted in the Parachute Infantry at Des Moines. Basic training followed at Camp Tocoa, Ga., and jump training at Ft. Benning, Ga. He left the United States on Sept. 5, 1943, and remained for a time in England, until the invasion of France, June 6, 1944, when he gave his life in defense of his country. Final interment was made at the Lenox cemetery.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, September 22, 1948, Page 1