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Glen J Pinard

Chehalis, Washington

June 9, 2016

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
88 Army  

 

 Purple Heart

Glen J. Pinard, a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities, passed away June 9, 2016, at Ellen’s Place Adult Family Home in Chehalis. He was 88 years old.

Glen was born November 22, 1927, in Forest outside Chehalis in his grandparent’s farmhouse on Roberts Road. He was the only son and oldest child of Virgil Hiram Pinard and Hazel Elizabeth (Tanner) Pinard. His parents were married on August 18, 1926.

Growing up, Glen was a chubby toddler who enjoyed chasing after his grandfather, Knacy Tanner, to watch him milk their only cow in the big red barn on the family homestead.

In 1930, his grandparents relocated to Grand Mound while Glen and his parents moved to 1089 James Street in Chehalis. Because it was early in the Great Depression era, the owner of the residence allowed the Pinards to live there rent free for a time. The house no longer stands, but it was located near the corner and across the street from the Darigold plant by the railroad tracks. Its lowland location exposed the home to floods with the water sometimes rising so high that travel was by rowboat.

Glen and his parents remained on James Street for ten years. During that time, he attended the Cascade and R. E. Bennett schools. In Chehalis, Glen was joined by three sisters: Virginia Marion (1933), Marilyn Annette (1937), and Shirley Rose (1939).

Just up the block on James was the Benny family of eight children. The five Benny sons shared a love of basketball and, of utmost importance, they had a ball and a hoop. Almost every day Glen went over to practice and it was from the Benny boys that he learned the game. It was said that Glen’s mother never had to worry about where her son was at: No matter what, she could count on him being at the Benny house playing basketball. So strong grew their passion for the game that Glen and one of the Benny brothers broke into the Cascade School gymnasium so they could be on a real floor. Albert and Ted Benny later owned Benny’s Florist in Chehalis and Centralia Flower Shop for over fifty years. The brothers Benny amassed a distinguished record of service in the United States military as well.

In 1940, Glen and his family moved across town to 1304 Rose Street in the Logan District of Centralia. His two youngest sisters were born there: Deanna Marlene (1941) and Bonnie Belle Janice (1942).

For a year, Glen attended the Logan School up the block from his new home. Of that experience, he registered only one complaint: the lack of a gymnasium. That all changed in the fall of 1941 when he entered Centralia High School with the freshman class.

Always a very proud Tiger, Glen played varsity basketball for the legendary hall of fame coach Waldo Roberts. According to his sister, Shirley Rose, “When Glen was down there at the gym with the guys, those may have been the happiest days of his life.”

Glen gained a reputation for having the best long shot in Lewis County. It was a talent he put on display in his junior year as a member the most dominant Tiger team to take the court since the school’s 1930 state squad.

Emerging victorious in a single-game tiebreaker against the Vancouver Trappers to claim the Southwest Washington Conference championship, the 1944 Centralia cagemen advanced to the state tournament held at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. At state—for which the entire student body was excused from school to cheer on their team—the Tigers triumphed over Ellensburg in their first game, 28-22. The following day, however, they suffered a heartbreaker. Lewis-Clark beat them by a point. According to one report, the “reason for losing was a referee calling a foul and not disqualifying a basket made by Lewis-Clark.” A third-day defeat to Bellingham knocked the Tigers out of the tournament.

Lacing up as a forward in his senior campaign, Glen’s “sharp eye netted him 151 points” over the course of a 14-game slate. That tally, the third highest in the conference, netted him a First Team All-Southwest Washington Conference selection. He was the only member of the Orange and Black to be so recognized that year.

In his junior and senior years, Glen joined the Boys’ “C” Club, which was only open to students who had earned a varsity letter in a major sport. The purpose of “C” Club was to encourage participation in athletics.

In his senior year, Glen was a member of Hi-Y, a club organized “to create, maintain, and extend throughout the school and community, high standards of Christian character.” He held the office of chaplain.

Glen always looked sharp in his black letterman’s sweater that buttoned down the front or the white pullover with orange striping that he also wore.

During school vacations in the summers, Glen picked strawberries on his grandfather’s farm at Grand Mound. He also worked for a bakery located near the Liberty Theatre on north Tower Street in Centralia and he laid rails through the city for a railroad company. His father opened and closed graves for Mortimer Sticklin at the Sticklin Cemetery (now Greenwood Memorial Park) and Glen helped out there as well. Due to the enlistment demands of the Second World War, there were fewer young men available to fill positions and Glen had no trouble finding jobs.

With the money he earned, Glen bought his own school clothes as well as a cherished bike. The latter afforded him freedom and mobility and was his primary means of transportation around town and to school.

When he got his first car, he and a friend went in together on the purchase. They shared the vehicle, with each of them using it in alternating weeks.

Glen graduated from Centralia High School as a member of the class of 1945.

In his yearbook, a classmate inscribed the following message to him: “Here’s to one of the best darn guys in C. H. S. I’m proud to say that I was in the same class.” The student then added a rejoinder with a tongue-in-cheek code for Glen to live by: “P. S. Watch out for wild women, straight bourbon, and all such stuff.” His family cannot vouch that Glen followed that advice fully to the letter.

Lawrence “Mac” McNulty, a basketball teammate of Glen’s, recalled all the fun times they had had together “in the trips [they had] taken to other towns to see all kinds of sports games.”

After high school, Glen began going to Alaska in the summers. He worked in the fish canneries. During the Christmas seasons, he filled in as a sorter with the postal service.

Not everything went as he would have liked. While he was still a teenager, Glen contracted rheumatic fever. Then, after being hit by a car, he celebrated his twenty-first birthday in a Seattle hospital. Such was the force of the collision that it knocked the shoes off his feet and caused a compound fracture of his leg. The limb was placed in a cast that extended from high up on his thigh almost down to his ankle.

Happier times included the nights he spent at Woody’s Nook Dance Hall. Located on the property that currently houses the Grand Mound Station of the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority, Woody’s Nook was one of several popular dance halls in the area where young men and women met to socialize and hang out.

In late October 1950, when he was twenty-two years old, Glen received notice to report on November 2 for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States. He took his Army basic training at Fort Ord in Monterey, California. He then deployed to Japan for additional training before transferring to Korea as a light weapons specialist. Glen was assigned to the 40th Infantry Division, 223d Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion.

On Friday, June 13, 1952, at about 3:30 in the morning, the twenty-four-year-old Centralia corporal was operating with his squad in the Kumwha Valley just beyond the Iron Triangle in the North Korean sector. Their orders were to take as prisoner one or more enemy combatants and escort them behind the lines for interrogation. In a close firefight against Chinese and North Korean forces in what was known as the War of the Hills, a mortar exploded near Glen, spraying him with shrapnel from his neck down past his left collarbone. He was evacuated to a base hospital and then to Japan. Surgery and months of rehabilitation followed. Killed in action in that early morning engagement was Sergeant First Class Richard Leroy Price of Black Hawk County, Iowa. It was the day before SFC Price’s twenty-sixth birthday.

For the injuries he received in Korea, Glen was awarded the Purple Heart Medal.

Honorably discharged, Glen returned home to Centralia, resuming his annual treks to Alaska. There, in the 1960s, a serious accident befell him. A forklift ran into him at one of the canneries. Crushing his legs, the damage affected his agility for the remainder of his life.

Glen remained loyal to his alma mater and his passion for Centralia High School athletics never waned. For decades, he was a frequent spectator at Tiger football and basketball games and other sporting events.

He was also a rabid University of Washington Husky fan. For many years, he was a football season-ticket holder and he attended basketball games at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

For Glen, the best music flowed from the big bands popular in his youth. He never tired of listening to musicians such as Benny Goodman, Harry James, and Gene Krupa.

Passionate in his concern for his fellow veterans, Glen devoted himself to their welfare. He was always on-call to transport service men and women to Veterans Administration hospitals and domiciliary and to local doctors and clinics. He assisted indigent veterans in receiving needed services and completing required paperwork. He marched in local parades during holidays such as on the Fourth of July in Oakville and he participated in placing American flags on the graves of veterans at local cemeteries for Memorial Day. For many terms, he held elected office with Lewis County Post 1007, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Centralia, including the position of commander. He was there to say his final goodbyes when, on so many occasions, he attended the funerals of veterans.

Glen never married or had children, but he enjoyed several long relationships. He met Delores McLaughlin in the middle 1960s, and they remained inseparable until her death in 1988. Together they traveled to visit Glen’s sisters and his many nieces and nephews in all the far-flung cities and towns where they lived. It didn’t matter how far away or where, Glen always found a way to get there.

After Delores passed, Glen began dating Inez. They were faithful and loving partners for many years, until her death.

Attending the athletic contests of family members was a bonus for him and for us. In 1975, Glen watched one of his nephews playing in an eighth-grade basketball game for the Elma Eagles. The boy was fouled in the act of shooting and was awarded two foul shots. He went to the line and missed them both. Glen, driving his nephew home after the game, offered some sage shooting advice. “With free throws,” he counseled, “don’t aim for the center of the basket because it is too easy to misjudge the flight of the ball.” A better strategy, he said, “is to make the front edge of the rim your target and by arching the ball slightly over the top of the iron, it will fall in just about every time.”

Always agreeable to a good beer and a good song in good company, Glen could be found on many a night at one of his favorite Centralia nightspots—usually the Hub or the El Rancho taverns or the famous Olympic Club (where he ate lunches in the cafe when he was a kid).

In the final fifteen years of his life, Glen received exceptional care at Kevin’s Place in Centralia and Ellen’s Place in Chehalis. Glen’s family would like to thank each and every one who attended to him with such kindness over the years. Responding to his politeness and his unassuming ever-the-gentleman demeanor, nurses and other caregivers invariably commented on how much they enjoyed having him as their patient. He was like a member of the family to them and the feeling was mutual.

His sister, Shirley Rose, summarized the life of her brother this way: “To those of us who grew up with him and knew him, he was legendary.”

Glen is survived by his sisters, Virginia Ricker, Shirley Rose Collins, and Marlene Cothren; his nephews, Harold E. Collins, Jr., (Romana), Ray Cothren (Linda), Cary Collins (Tina), and William Cothren (Desiree); his nieces, Starrla Rivera (Miguel), Alanna Sequeira (Ron), Lissa Thomas (David), Shanna Ricker, Cindi Infante, Cheryl Thompson (Tim), and Dalene Cothren; his great-nephews, Jerry Clark, Christopher Wofford, Ron Sequeira, Jr., Travis Thomas, Isaac Thomas, Ryan Zacher, Tyler Clark, Cody Clark, Dan Sapp, T. J. Sapp, Michael Conca, James Collins, Nick Collins, Chad Workman, Chase Workman, and Vance Workman; his great-nieces, Michelle Ann Kocher, Stephanie Lopez, Kristi Clark, Saraya Clark, Alanna Collins, Tryleia Thomas, Shawnee Webster, Brittney Workman, Tiffney Workman, and Shantel Myers. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Marilyn Pinard and Bonnie Pinard; his companions, Delores McLaughlin and Inez; his niece, Deanna Cothren; his great-nephew, Harley Jack Myers; and, his brothers-in-law, Harold E. Collins, Sr., Crint Cothren, and Gerald L. Ricker.

Arrangements were under the direction of Cattermole Funeral Home in Winlock. A funeral with military honors took place at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington, on June 16 at 1:00 PM, with interment following in Section 28C, Site 1184. A celebration of life for Glen is planned for Fort Borst Park in Centralia later this summer.

For some memorial service snapshots, click photo below

June 16, 2016

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