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Charter member and Greencastle VFW Post 6319 to observe 70th anniversary

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Max Izer and Rick Hess, members of Greencastle VFW Post 6319, look at 70 years’ worth of scrapbooks and honors belonging to Izer. At 96, Izer is the final living charter member of the club.

Seventy years ago Harry D. Zeigler VFW Post 6319 formed, named in honor of the first Greencastle son to die in World War II. It became part of the national organization, dating to 1899, which was created to support United States veterans who served overseas during conflicts. The club invited any veteran of any war who was honorably disharged to join.

Post 6319 was chartered Feb. 27, 1946, with 147 men joining during the open enrollment period. The group did not establish a Last Man Club. If it had, William “Max” Izer, 96, would have earned the honor to open the saved bottle of wine. He outlived all of his comrades.

The post will observe the milestone anniversary at its March 7 meeting, and present Izer with a 70-year membership pin.

Last man standing

“Can you believe I’m the only one left?” asked Izer.

Born Aug. 1, 1919 in Shady Grove, Izer graduated from Greencastle High School in 1936. He attended Gettysburg College. Draft papers arrived in 1942.

“I wasn’t that enthusiastic about going,” Izer admitted.

He was in the Army for four years, serving in the Quartermaster Corps, and coming out a 1st Lieutenant. With much of his time stateside at several bases, he also went to Okinawa. The passage on USS Bandura took forty days. The ship stopped at Pearl Harbor, and the troops were able to see the destruction caused by the Japanese bombing.

On Okinawa, Izer’s unit operated a depot being set up. They endured a typhoon while there, which he said was “horrible.”

Upon discharge in 1946, Izer moved to Greencastle with his wife Lorraine (Gordon). He had married his high school sweetheart in 1942, on his first leave. She died in 1994. He spent his career as a supervisor in the industrial engineering department at Landis Tool Co. Since 1999 Izer has lived in Chambersburg. The couple had a son, William Jr., who died as an infant; and Jack, who died in 2012.

Greencastle VFW

A past 6319 commander, Marine and Vietnam veteran Rick Hess noted that lots had changed at the VFW since Izer helped start it, and that the charter member had been extremely involved.

“He was everything,” Hess said. “He served in every capacity.”

Izer was one of the early commanders, and took on other leadership roles. He was Toastmaster for about 40 years.

Hess commented on his influence.

“Max was an inspiration to everyone there. If someone didn’t want to do something, he had a kind way of shaking a stick.”

L. Duncan Moore, manager of Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, was the first commander. The club met at various locations around town, until it purchased a private home at 408 S. Washington St., where the club still stands. Several expansions have occurred through the years.

Izer and the others were active in community events, participating on sports teams, sponsoring others, and enjoying each other’s company.

“We were a vigorous group,” Izer recalled. “We were young and glad to be back.”

The installation service for the first core of officers was held Feb. 27, 1946 in the community room of Citizens Bank. State officers presided at the formalities. In addition to Moore, the officers were: senior vice commander, George Glaser; junior vice commander, Paul Beckwith; quartermaster, Robert Ryder; post advocate, Kenneth Henson; trustees of three, two and one years, respectively - Glenn Stine, Richard Schultz and Joseph Young.

By September 1947 the club made plans for a fall picnic. At the monthly meeting leaders for the winter athletic program were announced: board of advisors - Harold Hoffman, Stine and Moore; coach of the sponsored basketball team, James Divelbiss; treasurer, Izer; business manager, Clyde Bittner Jr.; and equipment manager, George Shank.

Today the club officers are: commander, Joyce Fye; vice commander, Robert Brown Sr.; junior vice commander, Patrick Higgins; quartermaster, Michael Wood; adjutant, Duane Schroyer; and acting chaplain, Rick Hess.

John J. Alleman, Lee M. Alter, Donald L. Baker, Cyrus J. Barnhart, Wilbur E. Baer, Paul G. Beckwith, Edwin C. Bittner, John C. Bittner Jr., Raymond D. Brewbaker, Charles W. Bryan, James L. Bryan, Wilbur L. Burger, Stanley C. Chamberlin, Alan E. Clugston, John T. Conrad, Joseph F. Conrad, Wilmer L. Cooper, William C. Crider, Ralph F. Dale, Harold G. Davis, Norman J. Diehl, William A. Diehl, William E. Diehl, George A. Donnelly, George DuBrensky, John M. Ellzey, Clarence C. Finafrock, Carl W. Fisher, Charles E. Fitz,

Tom K. Fox, Wayne E. Fox, George W. Fries, Glenn L. Fries, George E. Gift, Howard H. Gift, Samuel D. Gilbert, William P. Gillan, Warren A. Gingrich, George L. Glaser, Howard E. Glaser, Eugene L. Goetz, Harvey E. Gossard, Omer E. Grosh, Charles D. Harmon, Wayne E. Hartman, Robert B. Hawbaker, Ralph H. Heisey, John D. Henneberger, Norman B. Henninger, Joseph E. Henson, Kenneth N. Henson, Karl W. Higgins, Harold M. Hoffman, Max F. Hoffman, Elbert M. Hofner, James L. Hoover, William M. Izer, Carl W. Kell.

Ellis L. Kendall Jr., William Y. Kline, Algott P. Knauff, Harold E. Krone, Joseph E. Kugler, Mark L. Kugler, Jack A. Lanehart, James A. Laubs, Fred L. Lehman, Robert L. Lenherr, Carlton H. Main, William F. Main, George L. Maley, Donald R. Martin, Louis E. McCarren, David F. Minnich, Jacob O. Minnich II, Leroy D. Moore, Linford A. Mowen, Martin J. Mowen, Preston J. Mowen, Harry M. Murray, Aden G. Myers, Arthur C. Myers, Donald E. Myers, Harold E. Myers, Marlin E. Myers, Robert T. Myers, William H. Myers, Kenneth L. Oaks,

Clinton R. Oberholzer, John W. Oberholzer, Lester C. Oberholzer, Ralph E. Orris, Clyde L. Palmer, Linford L. Pensinger, James C. Pentz, David K. Reese, Charles W. Rinehart Jr., Glen Robinson, Charles M. Rossman, John H. Roth, Samuel E. Roth, Harold D. Rowland, Robert C. Ryder, Clinton M. Schnebly, Harry A. Schnebly, Richard M. Schultz, Paul L. Seacrist, Frank J. Speelman, Dwight A. Sellers, George M. Shank, Walter F. Shank, George A. Shatzer, Franklin F. Shinham, Richard R. Shrader, James H. Snyder, Reuben C. Snyder, Robert B. Snyder, Jack L. Stahl,

Kenneth C. Statler, Glenn C. Stine, Harold A. Stine, Walter W. Stoner, Mayriale W. Stoner Jr., Mayriale W. Stoner Sr., Donald C. Strock Jr., Harry E. Strock Jr., Paul G. Swope, Paul G. Talhelm, Harry W. Tressler, Paul F. Tressler, Harry C. Unger, Robert E. Vaughn, Kenneth R. Walck, Robert G. Walck, Roy W. Walter, George H. Walters, Franklin Weagley, Owen E. Wilson, John A. Wine, Harry D. Winger, George L. Wingert Jr., Glen H. Wingert, Joseph H. Young, Robert L. Zarger, Charles E. Zimmerman, Harvey G. Zimmerman, Thomas D. Zullinger.

VFW Post 6319 Founding Veterans