Pinora man killed in action in World War II
PINORA TWP. — Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect on all the sacrifices made by service men and women and families torn by death when their loved ones answered the ultimate call.
The Spears family, who farmed hundreds of acres in Pinora Township, had two sons who went overseas during World War II. George Spears went to the Pacific Theatre and Harold Spears was stationed in Europe. Only George returned alive.
Born in 1916, Harold served as Private First Class with the 9th Division 47th Infantry Raider Regiment. His family was notified he was killed in Germany on Nov. 21, 1944. He was buried in Belgium in the Henri-Chapelle Cemetery. His remains were returned to Lake County to be interred in the Chase Township Cemetery in 1947.
"Harold was the first fallen soldier in WWII to be brought back for burial in Lake County," said his nephew, Sid Woods, Pinora Township resident. "The family was more concerned about Harold going overseas than George because Harold was more adventurous."
Harold was a sniper during the war and died in the Hurtgen Forest in Germany. He was said to be so successful as a sniper that the German army called in snipers to kill him in the forest.
"In his last letter home, Harold wrote about shooting a deer in the forest to eat for Thanksgiving, but he was killed before Thanksgiving. He was reported missing in action and just before Christmas, his parents learned he had been killed," Woods said. "He was only overseas a couple months."
As a young man growing up in Pinora Township, attending the one-room Spears Grove School House, he learned hunting skills and was close to nature. He had all kinds of pets including a hawk, owl, opossum, squirrels and a weasel named Dynamite, because it was kept in a dynamite box. He would spend winter evenings killing chipmunks to feed his pet hawk.
The woods were so dear to him, it was in a foreign forest where his life was taken in the name of liberty. The Spears family still own the Pinora Township farm to this day, and generations have come and gone, but Harold remains close in memory.