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Support Our Troops

Rensselaer County
2015 Honor A Veteran Ceremony's

Date of Ceremony Name of Deceased Veteran
January 12, 2015 Arthur M. Rockwell, Jr.
February 9, 2015

(None)

March 9, 2015

Saverio John Rea

April 13, 2015 CHARLES W. STRAUB
May 11, 2015 Patrick F. Buckley
June 8, 2015 JOHN J. DOUGHERTY, JR.
July 13, 2015

RICHARD P. WHALEN

August 10, 2015 JOSEPH J. CULLEN
September 14, 2015 Joseph E. Vigeant II
October 13, 2015 Anthony A. Thomas
November 9, 2015 Gerard J. LaBarge, Jr.
December 14, 2015

JOHN PURCELL HORTON, SR.

 

 

ARTHUR M. ROCKWELL, JR.
1938-2014

FAMILY HISTORY:
Arthur M. Rockwell was born in Troy, New York on November 28, 1938 to parents  Arthur Sr. and Elizabeth (St. John) Rockwell.  Arthur had two sisters, Barbara and Joan and five brothers; Charles, William, David, James, and Terry. 

EDUCATION:
Arthur attended Wynantskill School and graduated from Troy High School.

HISTORY:
Arthur entered into the United States Marine Corps on November 29, 1956.  He proudly served in B Company, First Amphibian Tractor Battalion, Fleet Marine Force.  He was honorable discharged in 1962.  For his brave and honorable service to his country, Corporal Arthur M. Rockwell was awarded the Good Conduct Medal.

PERSONAL:
Arthur married Nancy (Ritter) Rockwell on May 16, 1957 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  He was the father of 3 daughters; Kim, Tara and Jana.  He was blessed with 5 grandchildren; Jill, Karyn, Justin, Joseph, and Ryann and 5 great-grandchildren; Steven, Vincent, Madison, Logan and Jack.

WORK EXPERIENCE:
Arthur was a self-employed jeweler and the New York State Compensation Rating Board.  He had a jewelry business in Ballston Spa, Saratoga Springs, Colonie and Defreesville.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS:
He was a member of the First Reformed Church in Wynantskill for over 50 years, the Sons of the American Revolution, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association and a lifetime member of the Marine Corps League.

Arthur enjoyed painting portraits and landscapes, and was very proud to have some of his paintings permanently displayed in the Rensselaer County Office Building, Hall of Heroes.  He flew his own plane and would fly with Nancy prospecting for gold for over 40 years.  Arthur also invented the Pet Patio, was a foster parent, a volunteer at Doors of Hope, Boy Scout Leader and member of the Elks.

Sadly, Arthur M. Rockwell, Jr. passed away on September 2, 2014 and was buried at Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, New York.

 

SAVERIO JOHN REA
1923–1943

FAMILY HISTORY:
Saverio John Rea was born in Troy, New York on November 9, 1923 to parents John and Josephine (Cesta) Rea.  He had 2 sisters; Kay and Josephine and nephew, John Ostwald. 

EDUCATION
Saverio graduated from LaSalle Institute and soon after entered the United States Marine Corps.

 HISTORY:
Saverio (Sonny) entered into the United States Marine Corps on March 11, 1942.  Corporal Saverio J. Rea died of injuries received in an airplane accident at sea off of the island Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides on June 9, 1943 during WWII.     

 COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS
While at La Salle Institute he loved sports.  The CRAB Club on Hill Street in Troy is named in his and other veterans honor; Cicarelli, Rea, Agars and Bevevino.  It is well respected as a veterans social club and used for various functions. 

 

CHARLES W. STRAUB
 1954–2013

FAMILY HISTORY:
Charles W. Straub was born in Troy, New York on August 1, 1954 to parents Charles K. and Mary (Van Wie) Straub.  Charles had four sisters; Noreen, Kathleen, Tina and MaryEllen. 

He went by the nickname of Bill.
 

EDUCATION
Bill attended School 16 and later graduated from Troy High School.

HISTORY:
Charles entered into the United States Army on October 23, 1973.  He proudly served as a telecommunication specialist.  He not only served in the United States, he served for over a year in Germany.  He was honorably discharged October 22, 1976.  For his brave and honorable service to his country, Corporal Charles W. Straub was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Expert Marksman 16 Badge.

PERSONAL:
Bill married his high school sweetheart Theresa (Jubic) Straub on October 2, 1987 at St. William’s Church in Troy, NY.  

 

WORK EXPERIENCE:
He was employed with the Watervliet Arsenal as a Production Controller for 34 years until his retirement.  He was also employed with Enterprise as a driver and his co-workers nicknamed him “Good Charlie”.   

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS
He was a member of the American Legion Post 1450 and a member of the Lansingburgh Veterans Club.

Bill enjoyed the American Legion activities, swimming, going to casinos, skiing, golf and traveling.  Most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his many friends and family. 

Sadly, Charles W. Straub passed away on December 3, 2013 and was buried at Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, New York.    

JOHN J. DOUGHERTY, JR.
1924–2010

FAMILY HISTORY:
John Joseph Dougherty, Jr. was born in Troy, New York on June 24, 1924 to parents  John J. Dougherty, Sr. and Helen (McGrath) Dougherty, Sr.  He had 3 brothers; Edward, Daniel and Thomas and 2 sisters; Helen “Rita” and Jean. 

EDUCATION
Jack attended St. Patrick’s School and then attended LaSalle Institute for the remaining 3 years of high school.  He graduated from LaSalle Institute in 1942.

 HISTORY:
Jack enlisted in the United States Navy on September 8, 1942 in Albany, New York.  His brother Edward enlisted at the same time in the United States Navy.  Seaman First Class Dougherty along with his brother went to the shores of Japan and helped the naval task force hurl dynamite onto the Japan homeland during WWII.  He served aboard the battleships USS Texas and USS Quincy (CA-71) as a Gunner.  He was honorable discharged December 27, 1945.  For his brave and honorable service to his country, Seaman First Class John J. Dougherty, Jr. was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 bronze service stars, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 2 bronze service stars and Good Conduct Medal.

 PERSONAL:
Jack married Eileen (Gentleman) Dougherty, Jr. on December 13, 1949.  They were blessed with one daughter, Nancy; one granddaughter, Kelly and two great-grandchildren, Kortney and Bill.

WORK EXPERIENCE:
Before entering the military, Jack was employed at the Watervliet Arsenal as a machine operator.  After serving his country, he was employed by Norton Co/Behr-Manning in Watervliet as a foreman of the Sand Paper Department and retired after 38 years of service.
 

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS
Jack was a member of the Veterans of Lansingburgh, Past Commander of the VFW Post 469, VFW Post in Poestenkill and the North Troy Stag Rod & Gun Club.  He enjoyed hunting, fishing, archery, scuba diving, raisin pheasants, carpentry, gardening, but most of all, he loved spending time with his family and many friends. Sadly, John J. Dougherty, Jr. passed away on November 24, 2010 and was buried at Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, New York.    

 

 

 

RICHARD PATRICK WHALEN
1939–2015     

FAMILY HISTORY:
Richard Patrick Whalen was born in Hoosick Falls, New York on March 22, 1939 to parents Patrick and Marie (McDonough) Whalen.  He was an only child. 

EDUCATION
Dick attended schools in Hoosick Falls and attended Hudson Valley Community College for 1 ˝ years.

 HISTORY:
Dick enlisted in the United States Air Force on June 29, 1962 in Albany, New York.  He  received his training in Illinois and New Jersey and became an Aircraft Instrument Mechanic.  He was honorable discharged June 28, 1966.  For his brave and honorable service to his country, Airman First Class Richard P. Whalen was awarded the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal.

PERSONAL:
Dick married Joyce (McCarty) Whalen on September 24, 1966 at St. Patrick’s Church in Cambridge, NY.  They were blessed with one son, Kevin Patrick.

WORK EXPERIENCE:
He formerly was employed at Zak Incorporated in Troy, New York and retired from Flomatic Valve Company in North Hoosick, New York. 

 COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS
Dick served as a Judge for the Town of Hoosick from January 2004 until his passing, Assessor for the Village of Hoosick Falls from September 1993 to December 2003, member of the American Legion Post 40, and a VFW member, member of the Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation Board of Directors and a member of the Kiwanis Club in Hoosick Falls.  He enjoyed watching Fox News, golfing, fishing, Saratoga Race Track and delivering doughnuts to friends around the village.   Sadly, Richard Patrick Whalen passed away on February 1, 2015 and was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Hoosick Falls, NY.    

 

 

JOSEPH J. CULLEN
1918–2015  
   
 

FAMILY HISTORY:
Joseph J. Cullen was born in Hoosick Falls, New York on December 31, 1918 to parents Thomas and Anne (Evers) Cullen.  He four sisters; Mary, Anna, Katherine and Margaret and three brothers; John, Thomas and Louis.

 EDUCATION:
Joe attended St. Mary’s Academy and Hoosick Falls High School.

 HISTORY:
Joe enlisted in the United States Army at Camp Upton, New York on May 15, 1942. Private Cullen worked as an airplane and engine mechanic.  He was assigned to the 5th Combat Cargo Squadron.  He participated in a number of battles and campaigns, including Luzon, New Guinea, South Philippines and the Western Pacific.  He rose through the ranks and became a Technical Sergeant.  He was honorable discharged December 15, 1945.  For his brave and honorable service to his country, Technical Sergeant Joseph J. Cullen was awarded the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal and the Philippines Liberation Ribbon.

 PERSONAL:
Joe married Delight (Hogan) Cullen on July 2, 1950 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Hoosick Falls.  They were the proud parents of one son, Kevin and two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Patrice.   They were blessed with 5 grandchildren; Caleb, Kady, Kallyn, Connor and Payton.

WORK EXPERIENCE:
He was employed with the former Wood Flong Corporation in Hoosick Falls and retired in 1982.  Through the years, he continued to work part-time jobs at the Hoosick Falls Community Center for 35 years, the Village Liquor Store and the OTB Parlor for 20 years. 

 COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS
Joe was active in his community serving as president of St. Mary’s Academy Booster Club and Hoosick Falls Little League.  He was a communicant of the Immaculate Conception Church.  Joe was a member of the Elks, Derby Club, St. Mary’s Alumni and United Paperworkers International Union Local #1392.  He enjoyed horse racing, Notre Dame Football, Hoosick Falls Little League and St. Mary’s Academy Booster Club.   

Sadly, Joseph J. Cullen passed away on January 23, 2015 and was buried at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.    

 

JOSEPH EDWARD VIGEANT II
1926- 1992

FAMILY HISTORY:
Joseph Edward Vigeant, II (Big Ed) was born on September 7, 1926 in Hudson, New York.  Ed was the only child of the late Clarence H. Vigeant and Marie (O’Grady) (Vigeant) McDermott.  Ed was the step-son to the late Leo J. McDermott.

EDUCATION: 
Ed attended St. Peter’s, Hillside School, Troy High School and Neon School in New York City.

HISTORY:
Ed was a World War II Veteran of the U.S. Naval Air Corps. enlisting on September 7, 1942.  Seaman Vigeant began his Naval career at the Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois.

During fall of 1944, ARM3/c Joseph E. Vigeant, Gunner, was one of a ten man crew “DAMNYANKEE” on a PB4Y-A Liberator.  This crew was to be assigned to a Squadron of Fleet Air Wing – 7 of the United States Navy Twelfth Fleet.  The FAW-7 Squadrons operated out of the village of Dunkeswell in Devon, England which was the eventual destination for this crew leaving Norfolk, Virginia in their brand new aircraft on September 6, 1944.  They landed in Grenier Field, New Hampshire the same day where crew briefing continued until departure on September 10, 1944 when they headed to Goose Bay, Labrador, northeast of the United States.  Further flight briefing was given and life saving equipment was checked for the long flight over water to Europe and it was decided that life jackets would be worn during this leg of the flight to Meeks Field in Iceland.  Prior to departure the crew had little sleep and few meals of any significance.  Upon departure there was difficulty in running up engine number one and approximately 100 gallons of fuel used in the subsequent run-ups of other engines necessary to run the generators left 2900 gallons of fuel on board at take off.  The weather system south of Greenland was responsible for the first problems for the crew on this flight.  The point of no return on this flight was about four and a half hours when two position fixes were obtained.  At this point the situation was getting serious and the radio beam from the Prince Christian radio range could not be located due to static interference.  The aircraft was beginning to suffer from heavy ice formation on the wings and the de-icing equipment was only partially functional.  In the teeth of these very poor flying conditions the crew were in a difficult situation and a shortage of fuel meant that reaching Iceland was no long possible.  The moment of decision was coming ever closer.  The pilot’s options were to fly toward the Irish Coastline and attempt a hazardous crash landing on land or make a controlled ditching on the water which every pilot and crew know you have “just one chance to get it right”. 

Vigeant said that he looked through the upper hatch when the aircraft was five feet off the water.  Another crew member braced himself on the floor between Vigeant’s legs.  The aircraft was now about ten feet off the water and air speed was down to 82 knots as the pilot pulled the throttles back and dragged the PB4Y-1 into a nose up attitude just prior to impact.  The aircraft hit the top of a wave tail first, twice and then the main fuselage and nose of the aircraft hit the water with a thundering ear splitting crash.  The pilot described the landing as “like riding an egg shell into a concrete wall”.  After twelve hours in the air since department they are at last down.  Survival was now their only priority with wind speed estimated at 25-30 knotts and the waves were about 20 feet high with a continuous flying spray and spume.  The windscreen of the aircraft caved in and sea water flooded the cabin.  The crew struggled fervently and four crew members were tragically lost. 

The life raft became home to the crew for the next 33 hours battling cold and stormy conditions.  One life was lost during this time and the five remaining members hit the Irish Shoreline on September 16th, 1944.

Ed was honorably discharged on August 22, 1946 but remained in the Naval Reserves National Guard for forty years retiring in 1986.  For his brave and dedicated service to his Country, Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Joseph Vigeant was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, American Area Medal, European African 1 Star Medal, WWII Victor Medal and Good Conduct Medal.

PERSONAL:  Ed married Dorothy (Aspland) Vigeant on November 27, 1949 at St. Patrick’s Church in Troy, New York and together they had four children:  Babette Vigeant Corona, Joseph Edward Vigeant III (Ed), Judith VanAuken and William Spencer Vigeant.  They are the proud grandparents Jennifer, Allison, J. Edward (Vigeant IV), Amy, William, Dana, Hailey, Kate and Lauren and great grandparents of Nikala, Meara, Mason, Avery and Jace.

WORK EXPERIENCE:  Ed was the founded Troy Neon Sign Company in 1947 and was President of the company until his retirement in 1988.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS:
Ed was a member of the Sea Squatters Club, Fleet Reserves of Brandenton, Fla, American ex-POW’s of Brandenton, Troy Elks Lodge, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Florida Homeowners Association of Bradenton, Flying Knights, Tory County Banjo Band, American Legion Post #1489, a life member of the Emerald Athletic Club and Troy Boys Club Hall of Fame.  He was also a member of the Reformed Church of Wynantskill.

Sadly J. Edward Vigeant II passed away on April 30, 1992 and his buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York.

 

ANTHONY A. THOMAS
1924- 2005

FAMILY HISTORY:
Anthony A. Thomas on born on March 24, 1924 in Watervliet, New York.  Anthony was the son of the late Geraldine Lombardi and Joseph Thomas and brother of Ralph, James, Nicholas, Joseph, Elizabeth, Angela, Geraldine, Marty and Constance.  Tony grew up in Albany and Watervliet until 1953, lived in Troy from 1953-1986, eventually settling in Grafton until his passing.

EDUCATION: 
Tony graduated from Watervliet High School and attended SUNY Utica.

HISTORY:
Tony served in the United States Coast Guard from 1942 to 1946 and served in the United States Navy from 1950 to 1952 through the Korean Conflict.  He saw action when his unit hit the Normandy Beach on June 6, 1944 and also in Southern France on August 15, 1944 and later in Okinawa.  Before being honorably discharged in 1946 Tony served on board the USS SAMUEL CHASE, while part of Task Force 33, 3rd Fleet during the original occupation of the Japanese mainland.  Tony was a recipient of the American Area Medal, Victory Medal, European African Middle Eastern Area Medal (2 Bronze Stars), Asiatic Pacific Area Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal.  During the Korean Conflict, Tony served on the USS PCE 904, a patrol craft escort.  He was Honorably Discharged in 1952.

PERSONAL:  Tony married Helen C. Maier Thomas on May 23, 1953 at St. Mary’s Church in Troy, New York.  Together they had six children; Andrea, Charles, Mary-Beth, Robert, John and Paul, four grandchildren; Brynna, Maggie, Sophia and Dylan.

WORK EXPERIENCE:  Tony worked as a Sales Representative for the former Bearing Distributors in Troy for 32 years before retiring in 1986.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS:  Very active in his community, Tony enjoyed his volunteer work with the RPI Athletic Department for over 40 years as a player-host and coordinator.  He was a minor official for RPI hockey and football games and served as past President of the Friends of RPI Hockey.  Tony also was a volunteer and instructor for the New York Special Olympics.  Tony was the past president and board member of the Troy Kiwanis Club and received numerous awards and citations including the Legion of Merit for community service and Kiwanis Principles.  Tony was a scratch golfer in his younger years and worked as a starter at Frear Park Gold Course in Troy for 10 years.  Tony was co-founder, past president and secretary of the Frear Park Twilight League and past president of the Frear Park Golf Association.  He served as volunteer and instructor to the Blind Golfers Association.  He was a former member of the Mount Anthony Country Club in Bennington, Vermont.  Tony was a former member of the Knights of Columbus, the Troy Industrial Club, Brunswick Lodge of Elks and Junior Chamber International.  He was co-founder past vice president and instructor of the Troy Babe Ruth League.  He was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church in Berlin and a former member of St. Patrick’s and Our Lady of Victory in Troy.

 

 

GERARD J. LABARGE, JR.
1933 - 2014

FAMILY HISTORY:
Gerard J. LaBarge, Jr. was born on May 11, 1933 in Boston Massachusetts to the late Mary Elizabeth (crane) and Gerard J. LaBarge, Sr.  He was the brother of Mary Elizabeth (Labarge) Daudelin and th e late Paul LaBarge.

EDUCATION:
Gerard attended Schools in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

HISTORY:
Gerard John enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. in 1951.  He was trained to be a High Speed Radio Operator in San Diego.  After training he served with the 1st Division 5th Regiment in several combat missions in Korea.  During his time in the service, Gerard earned the Korean Service Medal with 3 starts, the United Nations Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.  Gerard was honorably discharged in 1954.

PERSONAL:
Gerard married Adele C. (Wubbenhorst) LaBarge on October 8, 1976.  He is the father of Christopher, Arlene, David, Michelle, and Matthew; grandfather of Jennifer, Adam, Catherine, David, Robert, Melanie, Spencer, Olivia and Nathan; and great-grandfather of Hunter, Madeline, Gwendolyn and Cooper.

WORK EXPERIENCE: 
Following his honorable discharge, Gerard began working as a telegrapher for the Boston and Marine Railroad before settling in Schenectady, New York where he began his career in banking.  Gerard eventually settled in Lansingburgh and retired from Key Bank after 42 years.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS: 
Gerard was an active member of the Marine Corp. League where he served as Past-Commandant of the Troy Detachment as well as a Past Adjutant of the State Organization; He was a member of the Lansingburgh Veterans, the Korean War Veterans, the Disabled American Veterans and Vice-Chairman of the Rensselaer County Honor a Vet Program.  Gerard was also very active in the Flag Day and Memorial Day Parades.

 

JOHN PURCELL HORTON, SR.
1920- 1999

FAMILY HISTORY:
John Purcell “Perk” Horton, Sr. was born on July 21, 1920 in Troy, New York.  John was the son of the late Mary Purcell Horton and Colonel Thomas Horton, Sr. and brother of Elizabeth and Thomas Horton, Jr.  

EDUCATION:
John grew up on the Eastside of Troy, New York.  He was an attendant of Sacred Heart School and a graduate of LaSalle Institute, Class of 1939.

HISTORY:
John enlisted in the United States Army on June 11, 1942. John served as a Combat Infantry Soldier.  During his time in the United States Army he served in Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland.  For his service to our Country he received the Good Conduct Medal, the Unit Citation Medal, ATO Medal and the Victory Medal.  John was honorably discharged on November 7, 1945.

PERSONAL: 
John married the late Rita Weaver Horton on February 23, 1946 at Saint Francis De Sales Church in Troy, New York.  Together they had three sons; John P. Horton, Jr. the late Robert A. Horton and Timothy W. Horton and three grandchildren; Steven, Katilin and Matthew.

WORK EXPERIENCE: 
John worked for the New York Telephone company for 38 years retiring in 1982.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS: 
Active in his community, John was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, the American Ex-Prisoners of War Club in Tory, a lifetime member of the Emerald Athletic Club , the Troy Lodge of Elks and was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church in Troy.