THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Mr. Earl C. Valley
Earl C. Valley, 95, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at home.
Born May 18, 1922 in Harmony Corners, to Levi and Lillian (LaPlant) Valley, he grew up in Wabeno where he met his future wife, Georgine Ison. In high school, he played basketball, football, baseball and boxing and was the feather weight Golden Glove Champion. He attended River Falls State College and was the drum major and a football team member.
He missed the northern woods and returned to Wabeno where he married Georgine on Oct. 18, 1941 and they were together for 69 years. As World War II progressed he enlisted in the United States Army, where he was the "runner" of messages that could not be written down but had to be told in person. In doing this, he met Eisenhower and General Patton and after "running" his message to Patton, he looked at Valley and told him to "go and clean up" from the dirt and dust from riding in his jeep.
He invented a way to stop the decapitation of jeep driving soldiers by making a "hook" on the front of his jeep that cut the piano wire strung across the roads by the Germans.
He was captured by the Germans and was a Prisoner of War for 11 months and when he was moved to Poland, he and another soldier escaped. They found a Red Cross container of food that was stolen by the Germans and they ate a bit of a Hershey candy bar so their bodies didn't go into shock as they starving. He received two Purple Hearts and five Bronze Stars for his service.
After service, he became a logger in northern Wisconsin and worked with his father, Levi. He was a pioneer in the logging industry as the first to use a power saw and hydraulic dray. He became an investment strategist and had a business mindset.
An outdoorsman, he loved hunting and fishing and after a forced retirement at 48 for physical reasons, he became an award winning longevity swimmer. He joined the YMCA and swam 7,200 miles and is logged at the Y pool. He was an avid Packers fan. A good Catholic, he attended Mass in his wheel chair.
He is survived by a son, Earl Valley, Jr. of Marinette; a daughter, Deborah Emery of Dennis, Mass.; three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
He was preceded in death by three children, Kari LaPorta, Cindy Hegemann and an infant son, Bobby Lee Valley and a grandson, Jarrod Armbruster.
A gathering for family and friends will be held at Hansen Onion Martell Funeral Home in Marinette on Friday, Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., followed by a Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at Holy Family Parish-Our Lady of Lourdes Church by Rev. Celestine Byekwaso. A military Honors Ceremony will be held at the church following the Mass. Entombment will be in Forest Home Mausoleum.