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World War II veteran missed his 100th birthday, but still lived a full life

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - 9/23/2022

Sep. 23—WATERLOO — Elmore Herold was lucky to survive his time in World War II.

It was a fact that never escaped him and, according his youngest child Jeannie Woodward, he packed as much as he could into his 99 years before dying Sept. 16, less than a month away from his 100th birthday.

"He was very proud that he was one of the lucky ones that came home and he brought that up constantly," Woodward said. "Especially in his older age, where a lot of those young boys never came home ... and he never forgot that."

Serving in Europe under Gen. George S. Patton, Herold took part in operations in France and Germany, helping liberate the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald. He was wounded and came home with a Purple Heart, but he credited Patton's leadership with getting him home alive.

"His story was that Patton came to their unit and they were visiting with him, and he said Patton was standing there and all of a sudden, shots came in," Woodward said. "Patton just stood there with his shiny shoes, shiny belt, shiny hat and never moved — and never got hit."

When he got home, Herold proceeded to live out the remaining 78 years of his life in Iowa. Beyond the 42 years he spent at his job at the Rath Packing Co., the Cresco native raised three children with Lucille, his wife of 70 years. He was also a fishing guide and did extensive volunteer work for the welfare office at Waterloo'sSociety of St. Vincent de Paul and with Black Hawk County's Veteran's Affairs office.

Herold lost Lucille in 2016, but took care of her until the end. Then, when Woodward's husband passed away in 2018, she moved from Colorado to be with her father.

More than father and daughter, the two became friends. It was, however, with the caveat that she got to redecorate the home. In their last four years, they became partners doing volunteer work and while her father is gone, she says it's the perfect way to keep his memory alive.

"Because of him, when I came back here, I knew eventually we would have to maybe go this route with him getting sick, but we were very good roommates," Woodward said. "And because of him, I volunteer at hospice, Habitat for Humanity, I do the VA and ... water plants in downtown Waterloo."

Herold's funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Waterloo, after which his remains will be escorted by motorcyclists from the Patriot Guard Riders to Calvary Cemetery in Cresco.


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