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
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