Farewell to nine honorable men

Eighty-six men and women have been featured in The Morning Call series War Stories: In Their Own Words, since I started it in 1999. More than a third of them are now deceased.

As 2010 comes to a close, I say goodbye to the men who died this year – old warriors who now belong to the ages. I will miss them.

Earl “Lee” Leaser, B-17 pilot, Army Air Forces, World War II

Julius Barkis, Army medic, World War II

Ernest P. Leh, Army infantryman, World War II

Jared S. “Jerry” Webre, Navy cargo pilot, World War II

Aleck H. Jensen, B-29 navigator-bombardier, Army Air Forces, World War II

Graydon “Woody” Woods, Army infantryman, World War II

Stanley A. Parks, Marine Corps flamethrower, World War II

Gene Salay, Army infantryman and POW, Korean War

Donald F. Mack, Navy, survivor of USS Indianapolis, World War II

Stanley’s story ran on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Just days before I started interviewing him, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He died Dec. 19.

Gene died in the summer, and his widow, Ellie, followed him on Dec. 19.

Don, whose story ran this July 30 on the 65th anniversary of the Indianapolis’ sinking, died Dec. 28.

I am grateful for having gotten to know these veterans and for the opportunity to get their stories into the newspaper. Their accounts of what they experienced will live not only in the archives of The Morning Call and on its website, but also at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, which accept copies of my work for their archives.

May these nine men, and the others who have died since I wrote about them, rest in peace.

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