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Matagorda County War Memorial Dedication

Memorial Information Brochure               Dedication Photos                 Matagorda County Veteran Memorials

Program and articles courtesy of the collection of the Ladies Auxiliary Philip H. Parker VFW Post 2438.

Veterans Day Ceremony to Dedicate War Memorial

By Elaine Richards

Organizers are putting the finishing touches on Wednesday’s program to dedicate the memorial commemorating Matagorda County’s war dead.

The hour-long program will feature several prominent guests, including State Rep. D. R. “Tom” Uher, D-Bay City; state Sen. Ken Armbrister, County Judge Burt O’Connell, Rev. W. A. Haskell, Rev. Joe Ramsey and various representatives of area patriotic organizations.

Aubrey Bullard, retired director of the Texas Veterans Commission, will deliver the keynote address, and Armbrister will dedicate the marker.

Unveiling of the monument which is encased in black plastic until the dedication, will be conducted by a representative of each service organization, and the U. S. Marine Corps reserve unit of Houston will present the colors.

Music will be provided by a combined band comprised of high school bands from Bay City, Van Vleck, Palacios and Tidehaven. Seventh Street adjacent to the courthouse will be closed to traffic during the ceremony, which will begin at 11 a. m.

The Promoters of Patriotism, the committee that spearheaded the monument project, raised about $29,000 for the memorial in contributions solicited from area civic organizations. The 15-ton, 12-foot marble monument, which stands on the north side of the courthouse square, was crafted in Elberton, Ga., by the Standard Granite Company at a cost of $27,000.

The extra $2,000 will be used to cover costs of promotion and the dedication ceremony, according to committee member Mary Belle Ingram. Any money left over after that is to go into the flag fund.

The Daily Tribune, Sunday, November 8, 1987

County Patriots Remembered

By Elaine Richards

This Veterans Day, Matagorda County will pay tribute to 112 soldiers who left home to take part in wars from which they would never return.

In remembrance of those men, a 15-ton, black-and-white marble monument bearing their names recently was erected in front of the courthouse and will be dedicated during ceremonies at 11 a. m. Wednesday on the courthouse square.

Among the list of men who died in four different wars, six have the distinction of having area American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts named after them. Friends and family members have provided the following information about these men.

Philip H. Parker was the son of Allie and Herbert H. Parker, who donated the first property for the first VFW Post in Bay City, at the corner of Buck’s Bayou and Nichols Road.

He attended Bay City school, graduating from Bay City High School in 1938. Parker served in the Air Force during World War II, where he died while flying over Burma in August 1945.

In memory of Parker, Bay City VFW Post 2438 established in 1940, was renamed the Philip H. Parker VFW Post after his death.

Several of Parker’s family still live in Bay City, including cousins David Hinton, Sarah Hinton Hilton and Lula Mae Hinton. A sister, Elizabeth Parker Barnes, lives in Las Vegas, Nev., and a brother, Eugene E. Parker, now lives in Jackson, Miss. Eugene Parker will be present at Wednesday’s ceremonies.

William Lloyd Queen was the first veteran from the Palacios area to be killed in WWII. His P-47 fighter plane was shot down while on a combat mission near Foggie, Italy, December 24, 1943.

Queen was born Nov. 9, 1917 at McQueen, Okla. He attended school in southwestern Oklahoma until his mother’s death in 1923, and arrived with the John Queen family in Palacios in 1924.

While attending Palacios schools, Queen was active in the Boy Scouts and athletics, lettering in football, basketball and track at Palacios High School.

After graduating from PHS in 1937, Queen spent 18 months in the Civilian Conservation Corps at Globe, Ariz. In May 1939 he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to Company L 15th Infantry at Fort Lewis, Wash.

After applying for foreign service he was transferred to the Air Corps and was stationed at Albrook Field in the Canal Zone. Queen trained at Kelly, Ballinger and Goodfellow fields and received his wings at Moore Field.

Overseas, he was assigned to a 325 Fighter Group, 317 Fighter Squadron flying a P-40 Curtis Warhawk in North Africa. The squadron was converted to a P-47 fighter shortly after his arrival.

According to a War Department news release sent to the Palacios Beacon, Lloyd was one of the P-47 pilots escorting B17 Flying Fortresses in the first air raid over Italy. He participated in the Tunisian, Sicilian, Sardanian and Palermonian campaigns. At the time of his death, Queen had 407 hours and 10 minutes pursuit flying time to his credit.

Queen’s remains returned in 1949 and were buried in the Palacios Cemetery. Two sisters, Edna Hamlin and Opal Carter, and one brother, Alton Queen, now reside in Palacios. The Queen-Hamlin VFW Post 2457 in Palacios was originally named in honor of him.

Queen’s nephew, W. L. “Dub” Hamlin, was the first veteran from the Palacios area to die in action during the Vietnam conflict. He was killed by enemy fire on June 23, 1967, while on a security mission, according to a news release from the U. S. Defense Department.

Hamlin entered the Army in September 1964 and went through basic training at Fort Polk, La. He served 18 months in Germany before being sent to Vietnam in September 1966. Tommy Hamlin, his brother, was serving with the Marine Corps in Camp Lejune at the time.

Known by his classmates as Dub, Hamlin was born March 12, 1943, in Palacios. He played football and basketball and was active in Future Farmers of America, graduating from PHS in 1962.

Hamlin went on to attend business college in Houston and worked at odd jobs before entering the military.

The Lt. Wm. Lloyd Queen VFW Post 2467 was renamed the Queen-Hamlin Post 2467 in September 1978 in memory of Hamlin.

W. L.’s graduating class was the last class to graduate from what was then the new Palacios High School building. Recently renovated, the building is now the East Side Annex, and during a class reunion in conjunction with the building’s dedication, W. L.’s classmates presented Superintendent Bill Reaves a plaque in memory of Hamlin. The plaque is on display at PHS.

Hamlin’s parents are Edna Hamlin and the late Reagan Hamlin. His brother Tommy now lives in Rosenberg, and his sister, Alta Marie White, resides in Cold Spring, Texas.

George Miller Curtis was the son of Ethlyn Miller and George Wright Curtis, born in Palacios July 19, 1919.

As a boy, Curtis (known as “George M.”) was active in the Boy Scouts, eventually achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. His love for animals spurred him to save up his money and buy a Shetland-Mustang pony, which he rode to deliver magazines for the Curtis Publishing Company.

Curtis graduated from PHS in 1937 and enrolled in Texas A & ! University at Kingsville. With WWII imminent, he left school after one year and joined the Air Force. During this time he also married Avis Gregory and the couple moved to Savannah, Ga., for his first assignment.

Curtis’s group was sent to the Philippine Islands when the United States became involved in the war. He died there of malaria and malnutrition. The now-defunct Palacios American Legion Post was renamed the Curtis-Greenwood American Legion Post 476 shortly after WWII in memory of Curtis.

The Curtis-Greenwood American Legion Post was founded in 1927 and originally named for Clarence Greenwood, who died in World War I.

Cecil L. Lee, for whom the Blessing American Legion Post is named, served in the Marine Corps during WWII. He was killed during the invasion of Guam in 1944,

Lee grew up in the Blessing area and played football for Blessing high school. He enlisted in the Marines shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack.

His mother, Mrs. Gus Lee, still resides in Blessing.

The Daily Tribune, Sunday, November 8, 1987

Monument Unveiling Nov. 11

Johnny Paul Winfrey, son of Lois Winfrey and the late Lewis “Pete” Winfrey, was the first Bay City Vietnam War casualty, killed in action, Sept. 18, 1965. He served with the Green Beret paratroopers and the Airborne Screaming Eagles.

Winfrey and 111 others from Matagorda County who died fighting in four wars will be honored at 11 a. m. Wednesday with the unveiling of the 15-ton, black-and-white marble war memorial on the courthouse square. Several dignitaries will be present for the ceremonies, including State Rep. D. R. “Tom” Uher, D-Bay City, and State Sen. Ken Armbrister, D-Victoria. Area high school bands will provide music, and the monument will be unveiled by representatives of county service organizations.

The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, November 10, 1987


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Aug. 11, 2012
Aug. 11, 2012