Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ceremony honors the Hernando 16 who died in World War II

SPRING HILL

Three generations of the Mountain family gathered at a Pearl Harbor Day commemoration Tuesday to honor their father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Varise Mountain, the 16th Hernando County serviceman discovered to have died in World War II.

When the Telephone Pioneers of Spring Hill and We Remember 27-H-1 established a memorial garden at Chocachatti Elementary School 10 years ago, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided a list of 15 county natives who died in the war, said organizer Robert Muehlbauer.

The Pioneers planted 15 trees and installed a bronze plaque with the 15 names. They left a blank spot on the plaque and an open space in the landscape in recognition of the Unknown Soldier.

Four years ago, Mountain's daughter, Patty Webb of Brooksville, attended the memorial service and saw the name of her father, a Merchant Marine from Brooksville, was missing. Mountain went down with all hands when his petroleum supply ship was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland.

Webb approached Muehlbauer, who set about making the memorial right.

On Tuesday, Webb, speaking for herself and her sister, Bobbie Mosher of St. Petersburg, said, "There's a reason that space was there, for our father."

The sisters haven't missed the memorial service since, bringing along their own children and grandchildren who represent three generations of Mountains.

Noted Mosher, "There was never a grave, so that's why this is so important to us."

Webb and Mosher were invited to place flags at the plaque.

To remember those who died in the war that was ignited for the United States 69 years ago Tuesday, Chocachatti students inserted flags at each of the trees — now 16 — as school superintendent Bryan Blavatt read off the names of each man who died.

In brief comments to an audience of about 30 onlookers, Blavatt said, "It makes me happy that our schools recognize those who served (so) we have all the freedoms we have. We can never thank them enough."

He added, "We have to remember the past to move on to the future."

Chocachatti music director Nancy Kraus led the school chorale in a program of patriotic songs, with attendees invited to join in.

A dozen students performed additional pieces for strings under the tutelage of strings director Sally McCarthy.

Among the violinists, Isaiah Pederson, 10, knew about Pearl Harbor. "It was in World War II and Japan bombed it," he said.

Pederson's grandfather served in that war. An uncle is now serving in Afghanistan, he added.

Ted and Lisa Kessel of Brooksville had a dual purpose in attending the service. His grandfather fought in World War II. The couple's 8-year-old daughter, Jessica, sang with the program's chorale.

Norman Faust, 75, of Brooksville took particular pride in being on hand. "I'm part of the Telephone Pioneers. We set it up," the 75-year-old gestured to the memorial landscape. Faust was a Navy reservist in the 1950s. His late brother was a sailor during World War II.

Faust and Muehlbauer noted that when the trees were planted, they were mere sticks. Some now tower above 20 feet. Muehlbauer said the trees, donated by a nursery that prefers to remain anonymous, are of five varieties.

"The servicemen were a variety," he explained.

Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@earthlink.net.

REMEMBERING

Honored dead from World War II

Hernando County veterans who gave their lives in World War II and are commemorated in the memorial garden at Chocachatti Elementary School include:

George B. Allen

Marvin C. Baggett

Charles R. Burns

Melvin Giddens

Willis Hawkins

Fred Humphrey

Charles Keathley

Archie Kent

Joe J. Lacko

John Lewis

Chester B. McKinzie

John F. McQuire

John Patterson Jr.

Robert K. Rutherford

Ralph Smith

Varise Mountain

Ceremony honors the Hernando 16 who died in World War II 12/07/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 8:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

  2. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.

    Events

    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  4. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.

    Corporate

    DETROIT — Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the United States today.

  5. AP: Rick Scott to name Jimmy Patronis CFO on Monday

    Blogs

    From the AP's Gary Fineout:

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is turning to a long-time political ally and former north Florida legislator to take over one of the top elected jobs in state government. 

    Then state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City Beach, left, and Gov. Rick Scott, tour downtown Panama City, Fla. on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Scott will name Patronis CFO on Monday.