By Tim Vandenack
The Elkhart Truth
All Theresa Lewis wants is a small spot on the sprawling World War II memorial that covers part of a hallway wall in Elkhart City Hall.
An inch or so by 6 inches would suffice.
There, the Elkhart woman wants to place a small wooden nameplate reading “Leon Ellis Anglemyer.” That’s her father, a prisoner of war from World War II who grew up in Elkhart County and died here in 1964 when he was just 40 years old. The memorial at city hall honors those from the community who served in the war, and she noticed five or so years back that her dad’s name was absent among the many inscribed nameplates up there.
She’s been lobbying on and off ever since to get Anglemyer’s name on the memorial, largely without success. But she’ll keep at it.
“To some people it might seem trivial,” she told The Elkhart Truth. “But for families who have had family in the service, it’s not trivial.”
Reps at City Hall and the Elkhart County Veteran’s Service Office, contacted by The Elkhart Truth, initially passed the buck, each pointing the finger at the other as responsible for deciding who gets a spot on the memorial. Then Arvis Dawson, assistant to Mayor Dick Moore, relented.
“I don’t see any problem,” Dawson said. Protocol needs to be followed, confirmation of the relevant details needs to made, he indicated, but steps would be taken to address the matter.
Enter City Hall, go down a few steps to the lower level of the building and you’ll see three huge wooden boards containing name after name after name — those from the community who served in World War II. When Lewis first stumbled upon it while visiting City Hall with a friend who had business there, she did a double take.
“I looked over at the A’s and there was no Leon Anglemyer, and that just kind of made my heart sink,” she said. Her friend looked for the name of her own father, also a World War II veteran, and found the Bristol man’s name.
Over the years, Lewis, who used to work as a registered nurse, hasn’t gotten much of a response from her efforts, so she came to The Elkhart Truth with her story. The urge for action intensifies about this time each year — around Memorial Day, Anglemyer’s July 5 birthday and the day of his death 50 years ago, June 10, 1964.
“I want, somewhere, his name to be listed with the people who served with him,” she said.