Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Francis Eugene Dyer (1925-2009)
When death comes near a holiday,
Christmas, it seems to hold an extra measure of sadness.
My brother, my hero, Francis Eugene Dyer,
drew his last breath on
He was born on
On his father’s side,
With this list of ancestors, all of whom pioneered and settled land and became landowners, solid citizens, farmers, and some businessmen and teachers, we should not wonder that Eugene himself became a World War II soldier with a heroic and distinguished career, a businessman, a farmer and for 36 years a member of the Union County Board of Education. Family matters. Family helps to make us who and what we are. And he was, indeed, from “solid” stock.
Eugene Dyer served in the Army Air
Force during World War II from September, 1942 through the end of the
war. He was a bombardier in the famed
Fortress, B-24, serving in the Liberation Group of the 15th
Force. He saw action in the European,
African and Italian Theaters of War, participating in more than 400
missions. He was awarded the Soldier’s
Medal of Heroism when he saved the life of a fellow flyer.
He and the one he saved were the only
survivors of the plane’s crew when its oxygen system was bombed out. Other decorations included the Purple Heart,
the Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, the Good Conduct Medal, the
European-African-Middle Eastern Theater War Ribbon with five campaign
and the Distinguished Unit Badge with two oak leaf clusters. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. He spent fifteen months in
As a merchant, he operated a grocery, gasoline, feed, seed and fertilizer store from 1947 through 1989. He was known for his credit to farmers that badly needed his help to get their crops planted. In this respect, he followed the practice he had observed from his grandfather, Francis Jasper “Bud” Collins, who also had extended credit to hurting families during the Great Depression, and before and after.
As a school board member in
He was a family man. His wife Dorothy, his children Connie, Ivan and Tim, his grandchildren Jason, Alexandra and Emily, and his brothers and sisters and a host of cousins can all attest to his love, respect and reverence for family ideals and priorities.
And as a church man, he was quiet and
often did not say much, but when he spoke on matters of building
church finances, and expansion, he was heard and heeded.
His devotion to
Going Out a Boy, Returning a Man
(For my hero, my brother, Eugene)
The call to arms came when he was but a lad,
A farm boy following the plow.
Defending one’s country couldn’t be bad;
That duty in patriotism called him now.
Hardly had he been beyond the hills
That tied him closely to his home;
Dearly he loved the farm, its rocks and rills,And the seeds planted in the fertile loam.
Out beyond the mountains duty lay,
To boot camp, training, assignments read;
A gunner in a B-24 was to be his way,
And into European combat his path led.
Soon he learned what courage meant
Through sleepless nights and anxious days;
The enemy like a blast of locusts sent
Volleys into the blue untrammeled ways.
Came then the day when the plane crashed
And many were the casualties of war;
A boy no longer, a brave man lashed
Onto life and fought another kind of war—
A war to readjust when peace was signed,
Seeking to reestablish a solid way of life,
A way to make a difference, be refined
Amidst whatever came of peace or strife.
-Ethelene Dyer Jones
c2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 7, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.