PVT Dale Robert Geddes

PVT Dale Robert Geddes

Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 21)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska, USA
Plot Section/Row 8, Lot 51
Memorial ID 67681287 · View Source
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Grand Island Daily Independent Sunday 14 August 2016.

U.S. Marine Corps Pvt. Dale Robert Geddes, 21

U.S. Marine Corps Pvt. Dale Robert Geddes, 21, of Grand Island was killed in action Nov. 20, 1943, on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll during World War II’s Battle of Tarawa.

He was buried on Betio and later classified as Missing in Action. The burial site was discovered in March 2015. His remains were then positively identified using DNA analysis and his dental records. More than 72 years after his death, he will be buried Monday, Aug. 22, next to his parents in the Grand Island Cemetery.

Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22, at Apfel Funeral Home.

A horse-drawn hearse, previously owned by his family’s funeral home business, will then transport Dale to the Grand Island Cemetery. Fralick-Geddes Co. Undertakers first used the hearse in 1910. Pvt. Geddes’ grandfather, father, and two uncles purchased the business in 1911 and renamed it Geddes and Company. Over time, the business has been sold and renamed and is presently the Apfel Funeral Home which is in charge of the arrangements.

Graveside services with full military honors will begin at 10:00 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22, at the Grand Island Cemetery with Chaplain Colonel Richard L. Piontkowski Jr. (ret) officiating.

Dale Robert Geddes was born Feb. 21, 1922, in Grand Island, the youngest child of William Gavin and Minnie (Kent) Geddes. His siblings were Florence (Virgil) Hutton of Denver, Colo.; Verna (Frank) Griggs of Sun City, Ariz.; John Walter (Denise Overturf) Geddes of Boulder, Colo.; and Ralph (Marian Frimann) Geddes of Rawlins, Wyo.

Dale Geddes attended Grand Island Public Schools, was president of the high school band, and was a 1940 graduate of Grand Island Senior High School. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and served as Master Counselor and Scribe in the Grand Island Chapter of the Order of DeMolay.

He worked at The Grand Island Independent as a newspaper carrier and after graduating from high school in the business office. In 1942, he moved to Cheyenne, Wyo., where he worked in the business office of the Cheyenne newspaper.

Geddes traveled to Denver, Colo on Nov. 20, 1942, and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Pvt. Geddes completed basic training in San Diego, Calif., with the Fifth Recruit Battalion. In January 1943, he was assigned to the 11th Replacement Battalion and sent to Tank School. He was transferred to Company H, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines in March 1943 and joined his unit in New Zealand to train for the Battle of Tarawa.

The family was notified that a sniper shot and killed Geddes Nov. 20, 1943, as he was administering first aid to a buddy who was a fellow Marine. Military officials notified Geddes’ parents of his ultimate sacrifice on Dec. 23, 1943.

Pvt. Geddes received the Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, U.S. Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, and U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship Badge.

A dedicated team from History Flight, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Marathon, Fla., discovered the remains of Geddes and 39 other Marines in 2015. Geddes started his journey back home in June 2015 when the Marines’ remains were flown to Hawaii to be positively identified. His remains were positively identified using his dental records and DNA analysis involving his nieces’ and nephews’ DNA.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be given in Dale’s memory to History Flight, Inc., or the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.

See also:
"Dale Geddes is Coming Home" Published in the Grand Island Daily Independent 4 August 2016.
"Welcome Home" Grand Island Daily Independent Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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  • Created by: Kay Cynova
  • Added: 30 Mar 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 67681287
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PVT Dale Robert Geddes (21 Feb 1922–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 67681287, citing Grand Island Cemetery, Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Kay Cynova (contributor 47064119) .