|Birth: ||Dec. 26, 1920|
|Death: ||Jul. 20, 1944|
Billy Ray Ketter was the eldest son of Beatrice and Raymond Ketter. According to WWII Army enlistment records, he was born in Hendricks County, Indiana in 1920. At age 23, he enlisted as a Private in the Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison on May 12, 1941. At the time, he had 2 years of high school and was an automobile serviceman. He was 5'6" and weighed 128 pounds. He was single.
On July 14, 1944, he landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, as a gunner with the 51st Armored Infantry Battalion of the 4th Armored Division. His battalion drove inland to secure the Coutances area. They entered combat on July 17. Pvt Ketter was killed just three days later in Blehou, France, outside of Carentan (county of Normandy). He was originally interred at Blosville. He was awarded the Purple Heart. [Information in this paragraph provided by James Mooney whose information source was Pvt Ketter's Individual Deceased Personnel File from the national archives and combat reports from his unit.]
His youngest brother, Harry, died two years earlier in a drowning accident near home and his other brother, Jack, died in Iwo Jima, Japan, less the 8 months after Billy's death.
Pvt Ketter's remains were returned to the United States on April 30, 1948. Baker and Son Funeral Home, Danville, handled the arrangements with burial in Danville South Cemetery.
His obituary from the August 10, 1944 Republican:
Pvt William Ray Ketter, age 23, was killed in France, July 20, according to a telegram received Friday afternoon by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Ketter. Pvt Ketter left Danville High School at the end of his junior year to enlist in the Army May 12, 1941, exactly twenty-seven years after his father enlisted for World War I. He was sent to Pine Camp, New York, for training and was on desert maneuvers in California before being sent to Fort Bowie, Texas. He had served with a tank battalion but his small stature hampered him in handling the heavy tanks and he transferred to the 51st Armored Infantry, Company B, in June 1943, while in Texas. He was sent to New York for embarkation and arrived in England in January where he remained until D-Day when he took part in the invasion. Pvt Ketter was born in Indianapolis but attended grade and high school in Danville. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church here. A brother, PFC Jack Ketter, is with the Marines in the southwest Pacific and was home on furlough in June before being sent across. A brother, Harry, was drowned in a swimming hole just north of Danville park July 7, 1942. Mr. and Mrs. Ketter left Danville last October when Mrs. Ketter's health failed and the spent the winter in the southwest near their son. Mrs. Ketter served as production chairman of the the Hendricks County Red Cross for the last two years, but resigned last fall. The father is an engineer employed in defense work in Indianapolis.
Special thanks to GeneGraver for sponsoring Pvt Ketter's memorial.
Raymond Ketter (1896 - 1975)
Beatrice J. Parsons Ketter (1901 - 1981)
Billy Ray Ketter (1920 - 1944)
Jack Allen Ketter (1925 - 1945)*
Harry Edward Ketter (1933 - 1942)*
World War II
Note: Some information conflicts with the obituary. The information is reported as found except his father's name which was recorded in his obituary as Raymond H. Ketter.
Danville South Cemetery
Created by: J.Sullivan
Record added: Aug 07, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28832925