First, some sad news for members of the Class of '68 at Dulles High School. Our classmate and class president, Henry DeLeon died on December 29th. Click here to view an obituary. I think Henry was a life-long resident of Arcola, although I'm not absolutely certain if he lived elsewhere in his later year. Henry was a good guy, and my condolences go to his family.
On a brighter note, I want to report some info on Mr. Billie Wright. My thanks to Jon Pitts (DHS '61) for informing that Mr. Wright was taken prisoner in the Philippines and became one of the 'Battling Bastards of Bataan.' Like Buster Court, he survived the Death March. Jon told me he had shrapnel wound on his right leg and sometime showed them to his class. [David Wickersham (DHS '63) mentioned Mr. Wright's extraordinary experiences in WWII, but I didn't realize they included Bataan.]
I've tried to research him on WWII POW lists, but I haven't had much luck. Apparently, records for the Bataan prisoners are spotty because many of them escaped and hid for extended periods of time.
I thought the following story from Travis Gandy (DHS '64) was hilarious. Here's what Travis said:
Hey Chuck,Boy, do I remember Mr. Wright. My rear end felt that board many times in shop class. I remember when you got in trouble with Mr. Wright, he would take that board to you (and you probably deserved it), but he would also line up the "whole cheese" (that is what he called the entire class), and they got licks also. I remember when I was in the Air Force and came home on leave, I went to school to visit in my uniform, and I went to Mr. Wright's class. He lined up the "whole cheese" just because I came to see him, and I got a lick for old time sake.