Hargus Pearl Church of Oliver Springs completed his life’s journey on Friday, Jan. 10, following a lengthy illness. He had been a resident of Ben Atchley State Veterans’ Home since July 2013. He was 88 years old.
He was born in Jewel Ridge, W.V., and later moved to Pine Creek, Va., where he grew up. He joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17 and had his 18th birthday at Paris Island. Following boot camp, he was sent to Philadelphia Naval Yard to serve as a guard. Disappointed at not being sent overseas to fight for his country, he went AWOL…not running away from battle, but running TO it… and hitchhiked from Philadelphia to San Francisco, where he turned himself in, explaining that he didn’t want to sit out the war in the states while others were fighting. After three months in the brig, he got his wish and was shipped out to the South Pacific, where he fought in several campaigns before being wounded in combat on Okinawa. He was awarded a Purple Heart and letter of commendation.
After the war, he married his childhood sweetheart, Zella Dye. They moved to Tennessee in 1949 and he went to work at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility, where he worked for many years, as well as running his own tire retreading business. [Read more…]