Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, Sunday, April 01, 1945

Cherry, Smith and Florence, Streets
of Stalwart, Fighting Sons: Take a Bow Now

By Francis C. Veach
Courier Staff Writer

From Iwo Jima to Germany, the boys of Cherry street, Smith street and Florence street, are bringing glory to their old neighborhood.

In the summer time – and I am sure those whoa re away from their homes of that neighborhood will agree – the grass and the shade trees are never such a pleasant green anywhere else as on Cherry street, Smith street and Florence street.

You can’t mention one of these short streets without mentioning the other. For each of them, a single block long, has made a mighty contribution to the armed forces with an overall total of 25 men and two women, marching on to victory in World war II.

Cherry street has only 18 houses in its entire length, but has furnished 13 men and one woman in the service of the nation. Among the 14 are a captain, three first lieutenants, one second lieutenant, a sergeant, a technician fifth grade, as well as a veteran of the 34th division, who received the Purple Heart for wounds received in Africa and a presidential citation for valor.

Florence street has 16 men and one woman in the service and of its 18 service stars, one is gold, for the parents of Lyle Francis, killed in action, now live on Florence street. Of those from the latter street are four sergeants, one master sergeant, one first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, one navy chief electrician’s mate and one navy chief gunner’s mate.

The kids from these streets, heroes in the present conflict, used to play together, storming the grad of the Chicago Great Western railroad in mock warfare. Now they are in the armed forces and some of them have stormed beaches in a grim game “for keeps.”

They are in the air corps and in the army and in the navy or the marines, fighting throughout the seven seas, or waiting to go over.

These represent several generations. Some are married and others are barely out of high school. The older ones saw the younger ones grow up and now find them service buddies. And the older ones can remember now they used to get iron “slugs” for slingshot ammunition in back of the Cement Machinery.

There were different generations but they formerly played at the same sports when they were children.

Occasionally the kids from Cherry street and Smith street would go over to Florence street to play baseball and some remember when they had snowball fights next to Bell’s house when there was a vacant lot there.

Then there were two cannons that George Feeley’s father, Tom Feeley, made by drilling out holes, five-eighths of an inch in diameter, in a couple of sawed-off box car axles. One of these cannons was mounted on wheels and would recoil when loaded with blasting powder, wadded with bread wrappers and fired on the Fourth of July.

They don’t shoot firecrackers on the Fourth in Waterloo any more, to say nothing of cannons, but the boys from Cherry street, Florence street, and Smith street, are hearing their share of gunfire, with the smell of death in the air about them.

If you have never lived on Smith street, Cherry street or Florence street, you might have whizzed past and noted that there seemed to be a considerable number of youngsters about without observing how beautiful the neighborhood really is. The stars never looked down on anything neater than the woodpile of George Baldwin, nor did the wind ever cause a cozier sound than the whirl of the miniature windmills that he made to the admiration of the neighborhood kids.

Of course everybody could not have lived there. Therefore how could they know what the days of real sport were like, the thrill of such unsupervised play as tobogganing down the “I.C.” grade on a sled, as I did so many times.

So, as I say, the leaves and grass are the greenest on Smith street, Florence street and Cherry street, and those who wait for their fighting sons are hoping [Page 13] they’ll be back while the leaves are still green this summer, maybe by the time another Fourth of July rolls around.

* * *

Former Cherry street residents are:

Lt. Wallace Kneif, fighter pilot in the Eighth air force in Europe, winner of the Air Medal; Orval Kneif, with the motor transport corps of the United States marines in the south Pacific; Eugene O. Venter, aviation machinist’s mate first class, on duty in the southwest Pacific, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Venter, 448 Cherry street; Cpl. Ardin Wilson, (now in civilian life after received a presidential citation and the Purple Heart medal); Pvt. Keith Wilson, in the army, stationed at Paris U. S. embassy; Pfc. Francis Wilson, now stationed with the army in New York.

The Wilson brothers are sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wilson. Keith and Ardin were members of the famed 34th division. Francis, a younger brother, entered the service after the war started.



Gerald Alcott, seaman second class, who saw action in north Africa, now stationed at Rhode Island, son of Mrs. Virginia Peters, 1327 Grandview avenue, formerly of 439 Cherry street; sister of the Wilson brothers; Lt. Marvin Lederman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Lederman, 426 Cherry street, graduate of the United States naval academy, and now stationed at Portland, Me.





Capt. Vernon Woebbeking, of the army, now in a hospital in Tacoma, Wash., wounded in the attack on Luzon; Second Lt. Albert Woebbeking, of the marine air corps at San Diego, Cal.; Pfc. Ewald Woebbeking, now stationed in France with the United States army medical corps; and First Lt. Dorothy Woebbeking, member of the army nurse corps, now located somewhere in France, all children of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Woebbeking, now of 233 Cutler street, but former residents on Cherry street.

Sgt. Parnie Garramoni, now with the United States army in the invasion of Germany, formerly of Cherry street, son of Mr. and Mrs. Garramoni, 414 Indpendence avenue; T-5 John Bolsem, whose wife resides at 422 Cherry street, awarded three Bronze stars for battle participation.

* * *

Smith street has contributed:

Lt. Donald Lundberg, son of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Lundberg, 133 Smith street, holder of a Master of Arts degree from Duke university and now aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific; Melvin Juel, chief electrician’s mate stationed on a P. C. boat in the Pacific, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Juel, 136 Smith street;  Second Lt. Charles Heene, with the 15th air force, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Heene, 120 Smith street; Chief Torpedoman Lee Heldt, formerly of 113 Smith street, son of Mrs. Jennie Heldt, Pomona, Cal.; Staff Sgt. Alfred Miller, of the marines, who has been 23 months in the Pacific area and whose wife, the former Virginia Heene, lives with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Heene, 120 Smith street.

* * *

From Florence street have gone:

George Feeley, 122 Lombard avenue, navy mail specialist second class, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas O. Feeley, 441 Florence street, now stationed in New York; Sgt. Arthur Widmann, now in the United States army in Persia; Cpl. Wilbert Widmann, now in France; Carl Widmann, seaman first class in Hawaii; WAC Pvt. Eunice Widmann, at Fort Des Moines; and, Pvt. Paul Widmann, formerly of the army MP’s now out on medical discharge, all children of G. H. Widman, 430 Florence street; Fred Widmann, shore patrolman specialist third class in the navy, former Waterloo policeman, son of Walter M. Widmann, 424 Florence street;





 Sgt. Donald Raine, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Raine, 408 Florence street; and Sgt. Wilmond Geissler, 408 Florence street, son of Henry Geissler, 323 Webster street; Master Sgt. Jack D. Brody, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Brody, 406 Florence street; Chief Electrician’s Mate Burnell Bandfield, in the south Pacific area, whose wife and son reside with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Bowers, 414 Florence street; Pvt. Milton Conrad, Camp Hood, Texas, son of Mrs. R. J. Holmes, 437 Florence street; Sgt. Donald Max Dawson, now in Belgium, whose wife resides at 423 ½ Florence street; First Lt. Robert Kinsell, son of Mrs. Robert Kinsell, 350 Florence street, an army air corps pilot, shot down over Germany and now in a Germany prison camp; Merwin Francis, seaman second class, gunner in the south Pacific, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Nesbit, 434 Florence street whose other son, Pfc. Lyle Francis, marine guard, was killed in action in the south Pacific.

Chief Gunner’s Mate Bernard B. Padget, in the south Pacific and Second Lt. William Padget, bombardier-navigator, missing over Menseburg, Germany, both children of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Padget, 415 Florence street.

Cpl. Theodore C. Black, another hero of World war II, who lost part of one leg below the knee while the service in Italy, is also proudly claimed by the old neighborhood. His mother, Mrs. C. F. Hansen, now of 508 Fowler street, formerly lived just beyond Cherry street on Glenwood street, as did his grandmother, the late Mrs. Sue Goodsell.





Just around the corner from Cherry street on Glenwood street and part of the same neighborhood lived Pvt. Erwin Mays, also of the famed 34th division, now in Paris with the army, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Mays, formerly of 427 Glenwood street, now live at 304 Riehl street; Pvt. Melvin Rosekrans, in a chemical battalion of the army, stationed at San Francisco, Cal.; Pfc. Earl Arthur Smith, France;  Pvt. Orin H. Smith, Pacific area, both sons of Mr. and Mrs. O. H. Smith, 403 Glenwood street; and Cpl. Howard Wilken, awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in the Philippines, whose wife resides at 403 Glenwood street.

Henrick J. Petersen, aviator ordnance man first class, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter J. Petersen, Grant highway, bombardier-gunner on the crew of a night-flying Catalina of the “Black Cats” squadron that sank a Japanese transport carrier and a Japanese freighter, was born in the house on Glenwood street, just beyond Florence street, also in that neighborhood.

Don Enfield, seaman first class in the Pacific area, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Enfield, 424 Lane street, was in the Smith street neighborhood, living in a house on the corner of Smith and Lane street.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, Sunday, April 01, 1945, Pages 9 & 13 (photos included)