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I met this man about 3 years ago. I joined a local chapter National Railway Historic Society, NRHS for short. He never said much and always kept to himself. He always had a friendly smile for everyone. Not an outgoing man by any means. His wife had passed on a few years before and he didn't have any children. Eventyally he gradually stopped coming to the meetings.

 

I didn't even know he was sick until I saw his name in the obituaries yesterday. Upon reading his obit I saw that this man had a really facinating service record in WWII.

 

I terribly regret I didn't take more time to get to know this fellow. So instead of telling him thank you, I am left to wonder the circumstances surrounding his Bronze Star.

 

Rest in peace, Mr. Gum.

 

Charles Wallace Gum

 

 

Charles Wallace Gum, 88, born June 12, 1918, near Mill Point, son of the late Charles Emory and Rachel Ruckman Gum and a resident of Oak Hill, died Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006, at Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill.

 

On May 28, 1954, he married Melissa Gwinn Payne. She preceded him in death on May 9, 2000.

 

Mr. Gum was a 1936 graduate of Hillsboro High School and received his B.A. degree from Fairmont State College, magna cum laude, 1947, and his M.A. from George Peabody College, Nashville, Tenn., in 1948. He taught three years in Pocahontas County, six years in Fayette County and served as principal in Warren County, Ohio, and 21 years in Middletown City Schools in Butler County, Ohio, from which he retired in 1979.

 

Charles was drafted into the military service April 26, 1941. He served in the 201st Antitank Company at Fort Greeley, Kodiak, Alaska, for 15 months after which he was transferred to the Antitank Company, 350th Infantry, 88th Division as a reconnaissance non-commissioned officer at Camp Gruber, Okla. The 88th Division was the first all draftee division placed in combat in the European Theater. He arrived at the front lines March 4, 1944, north of Naples at Minturno, Italy, and was the first allied division to enter Rome on June 5, 1944, and continued to the Italian Alps at Bassano, Italy, until May 2, 1945, at the surrender of the Italian and German armies in Italy.

 

He received many service awards, including Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star, Sharpshooter Badge, American Defense Medal with Foreign Service Bar (often designated the Pre-Pearl Harbor Service Medal), Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal with bronze campaign star, American Theater Service Medal, European-African-Middle East Service Medal with three campaign stars: 1. Rome-Arno, 2. Northern Apennines, 3. Po Valley, Good Conduct Medal and World War II Victory Medal. He was discharged Aug. 11, 1945, Fort George G. Meade, Md., after 52 months of service of which 36 months were overseas duty.

 

Mr. Gum was a 60-year member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 

He was a member of Oak Hill United Methodist Church, where he assisted in writing the latest addition to the history of the church. He was a member of the Fayette County Historical Society and served as a tour guide at the George W. Eads Museum and “Contentment,†the home of George W. Imboden, lieutenant colonel, CSA, in Ansted. He also assisted in writing and editing the 1993 Fayette County History.

 

Survivors include sister, Madeline Ruth Gum Ruckman of Selma, N.C.; brother, Max L. Gum of Buckeye; five nieces and five nephews.

 

A sister, Verna Kathleen Gum Robbins, and a brother, Alfred Renick Gum Sr., preceded him in death.

 

Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.

 

Service will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the funeral home with Dr. John Sauvage officiating. Entombment will be at High Lawn Memorial Park Mausoleum, Oak Hill, with military graveside rites by VFW Post 3110, Oak Hill.

 

Pallbearers will be Patrick Payne, Buren Payne, Glen Warden, Karl Williams, Glenn Morris and Lowell Payne.

 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Fayette County Historical Society, HC 66 Box 94, Hico, WV 25854, or Oak Hill United Methodist Church, 205 E. Main St., Oak Hill, WV 25901.

 

Online condolences may be sent at www.tyreefuneralhome.com.

 

Arrangements by Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.

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Sounds like QUITE a man, and yes he had a very distinguished service record too. Too bad and how sad that he quietly slipped past you and so many others. Makes you wonder how many more like him there are?

 

Here's to Charles Gum!

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