Frank Emert

OMAK - The 75th anniversary V-E Day - marking victory in Europe toward the end of World War II - was marked May 8, with V-J Day looming in August as remembrance of victory against Japan.

The Chronicle, celebrating its 110th anniversary this month, looks back at wartime coverage in light of the end of World War II and Monday’s observance of Memorial Day.

The newspaper reported the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into the war that had been raging in Europe since 1939.

It also marked the metal drives, rationing, victory bond sales, air raid rules, letters home from those in the service, those missing in action and, on May 8, 1942, the first death of a local resident in the war.

Donald James, 20, Omak, was killed in action, according to War Department correspondence to his family.

“He is the first man from Omak in the military service to have given his life in the present war,” The Chronicle reported.

“While no further information was given by the government, it is believed by relatives that he was on the Bataan Peninsula,” said the story.

James enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1941 - before Pearl Harbor.

He was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George James, and three sisters and three brothers.

On Oct. 14,1943, the paper reported the death of Capt. Gordon Ehlers, who was the son of Okanogan County Treasurer W.H. Ehlers and his wife, and Okanogan’s first war casualty.

Capt. Ehlers was on a transport boat in Alaskan waters when he died.

During the war, the paper also reported that German prisoners of war were brought to Malott to harvest fruit, two Omak servicemen - Jud Lockwood (later an Omak mayor) and Warren Gasser - ran into each other in a London railway station, Omak Stampede was suspended in 1943 for the duration of the war and, in June 1945 after V-E day, that all service men from the county who had been reported as prisoners of war had been released.

When the war was over, the paper rejoiced with the rest of the country.

In the waning days of the war, Chronicle Publisher Frank Emert also published a heart-wrenching tribute to his won, Winston, after learning of his son’s death while flying over Germany.

The paper had reported on July 27, 1944, that Lt. Winston G. Emert, son of Chronicle owners Frank and Edna Emert, was missing in action.

Winston Emert, a member of the U.S. Army Air Forces stationed in Italy, had been missing in action over Germany since July 7, the War Department told his parents July 20.

Winston Emert was a navigator on a Liberator bomber and had been overseas since the first part of June 1944.

Nearly a year passed before the Emerts learned their son’s fate. Frank Emert wrote a tribute to his son in the July 19, 1945, newspaper:

Chronicle loses one of its sons

Dead! Dead - they tell me. Dead - the lad whom I so proudly held in my arms only a few short years ago - who gave me my first thrill of fatherhood.


It is not so! Spirits like his never die.

I see him still as he accompanied me along the streets of Omak, as he cheerfully toiled on The Chronicle, as he represented his high school in debate, as he served as superintendent of his Sunday school.

I hear his voice in a room at the University of Washington pleading for me to give him written consent to his voluntary enlistment to help fight the nation’s battles in the skies.

I hear his voice reassuring words as he left for camp - “I’ll be all right Dad, I’ll be all right.”

I hear his voice as he told me about the planets, the constellations and galaxies in God’s great universe. Then I think how his life shines out as bright as Sirius.

I see him on the morning of July 7, 1944, as he again volunteered - that time to take the place on a mission over Germany of a comrade who fell ill. That was to be expected of him. Like the spirit of the great Galilean Navigator whom he followed, he was willing to bear the cross.

No, he is not dead. He has received a finer sextant, a perfect ship and charted his course to a better world, where his ears perhaps are now attuned to the music of the spheres he studied.

And his earthly star has not fallen. It has been purified and made permanent. His star has turned to gold!


Okanogan County’s World War II dead, according to a list compiled by and published in The Chronicle:

Staff Sgt. Lloyd L. Acord, Brewster

Pfc. Charles Allie, Tonasket

Sgt. Ross Alexander, Methow

Cpl. Wilmer A. Ayers

T-4 John H. Bloomquist

Sgt. Earl S. Boone, Omak

Paratrooper Philip Brancheau, Nespelem

T-4 Sherman E. Bumbarner, Omak

Sgt. Archie G. Dery, Omak

Frances DeSoto, Omak

Pfc. Jesse Devore, Oroville

Pvt. Lyman R. Dixon

Staff Sgt. Brethren C. Dodge, Omak

Norman Eastman, Omak

Capt. Gordon Ehlers, Okanogan

T-5 Kenneth W. Eighme, Riverside

Lt. Winston G. Emert, Omak

Capt. Robert Ennis, Winthrop

Lt. Robert E. Everett, Omak

Pvt. Glenn A. Fateley, Omak

Pfc. Wilbert H. Fredrichs

Lt. Louis J. Fuhrman, Tunk Valley

Capt. Boyd H. Gallaher

Roy Robert Grillo, Grand Coulee

Vernon Haggstom, Omak

Robert Hender

Allen Holocomb, Winthrop

Pvt. Walter Hopkins, Omak

T-5 Harold D. Howe, Wauconda

Pfc. Joseph J. Irey, Omak

Donald James, Omak

Thomas Jentoft, Omak

C.E. Johnson, Omak

Pvt. Willis R. Johnson, Omak

Col. Newton M. Jones

Paul Leonard Kermel, Omak

Sgt. Elvin T. Kirkendahl, Nespelem

Staff Sgt. Vernie D. Liebl

Lt. Loren Love, former Omak teacher

Tech Sgt. Robert H. Lull

Frederick T. Martin, Omak

Thomas Edgar McKinney, Omak

Edward Frances McKinney

Staff Sgt. Allen I. McLean, Okanogan

Sgt. Don Medford, Pine Creek

Staff Sgt. Herman Miller, Tonasket

Capt. Roger L. Miller

T-4 Sgt. Vernon Miller, Omak.

Tech Sgt. Matthew Mitchell

Pfc. Gordon H. Nickell

Pvt. Leonard Nixon

Theodore Olsen, Riverside

Pfc. Earl V. Pasley, Brewster

Staff Sgt. Arnold W. Paul

Sgt. Robert L. Perry, Omak

T-3 Gilbert E. Rise, Molson

Pvt. Joseph E.A. Ryan

Pfc. Wayne E. Siemons, Okanogan

Lt. Gordon J. Smith,Omak

T-5 Ralph H. Smith

T-5 Roger L. Stone, Pine Creek

Sgt. Matthew Swimptkin, Omak

Pvt. Ross E. Talbott

Pfc. Preston Thornton, Oroville

Pfc. Walter R. Thurlow, Twisp

Carroll Tollett, Wauconda

Lt. John J. Vandiver,Malott

Pfc. John E. Vernon

Lt. Claude W. Vroman

Raymond Weak, Omak

T-3 Lee Roy H. Weitman, Omak

Pfc. Dock M. Westberry

Sgt. Abel J. Williams, Nespelem

Lt. William Worrall, Omak

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.