Pfc. Donald Mason DeGroot

Gravestone photos are courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Gravestone photos are courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

(November 19, 1912 - August 11, 1943)

Johnny & Margaret Thon Files
August 12, 1943

Pfc. Donald M. DeGroot Succumbs to Heart Attack and Heat Exhaustion at Brunswick, Ga.; Services to Be Here

Thon Book 9
Niobrara county saw its second gold star added to the honor roll of World War II service with the death of Pfc. Donald M. DeGroot at 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, August 11th at Camp Brunswick, Ga. Word of Private Degroot's death, caused by a heart attack following heat exhaustion, was received by his mother, Mrs. C. E. DeGroot of this city, this (Thursday) morning. It is believed here that the intense heat of the southern state, along with the heavy duties which he was undergoing were the direct causes of the heart failure.

Private DeGroot was serving with the Combat Training Team, 144th Infantry at Brunswick, and was on active coast guard duty, according to relatives here. He had been stationed at Camp Brunswick for the past several months. He was 30 years, 8 months and 23 days of age.

Private DeGroot had been in military service since March, 1942 when he was inducted from this county. He received his basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash., and upon completion, was transferred to California for active guard duty. He was sent from California to Camp Brunswick in February of this year.

From the DeGroot family four brothers had been taken into the armed forces of the United States. The deceased was the first to be called, and others are Corp. Carl J. DeGroot, Radio Div. 317th Inf., 80th Div., now on maneuvers at Nashville, Tenn.; Pvt. Val R. DeGroot, Ground Crew, Army Air Corps, Wright Field; Dayton, O., and Pfc. John A. DeGroot, Ground Crew, Army Air Corps, Lincoln, Nebr. These have been notified of the brother's death, and it is expected they will be permitted leaves to attend last rites.

Other survivors are Private Degroot's parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. DeGroot, four sisters, Mrs. Ben Sturman, Mrs. James Tenney, Ada and Phyllis DeGroot, all of Lusk, and one other brother, Everett, also of this city. The latter had just recently returned home from California where he had been located for the past two years. The deceased's father is now employed at Custer, S. Dak., and notified as soon as he could be reached after the message had been received here. He will return home tomorrow (Friday).

The remains of Private DeGroot are being shipped here for burial, and although funeral arrangements are yet incomplete, pending word from the other three brothers in services, tentative plans are for services next Monday or Tuesday. Private DeGroot will be accorded military honors under the combined direction of Derk J. Wieten Post No. 4, American legion, and Lusk Troop D. Wyoming State Guard. George Earl Peet will have charge of arrangements, and services will be held from the chapel of the Peet Funeral home.

Private Degroot was born at Riverton, Wyoming, November 19, 1912. He lived there and at Shoshoni with his family until 1925, when they moved to this city. He attended the Lusk schools, and later became engaged as a truck driver, following this occupation for a number of years. Besides his family he leaves a host of friends who will miss his cheerful personality which was always one of his outstanding characteristics.

Thon Book No. 2
August 19, 1943
Military Services Conducted For Donald DeGroot

Pfc. Donald M. DeGroot was buried with military honors in the Lusk Cemetery Tuesday afternoon August 17th.

Lusk residents were grieved when the word of his death was received here by his mother, Mrs. C. E. DeGroot last Thursday. He had died from heat prostration at Camp Brunswick, Ga., August 11, where he was serving with the Combat Training team of the 144th Infantry and had been on active coast guard duty.

The remains were accompanied home by Sgt. Jenkins, arriving here Monday. Funeral services were conducted from Peet Funeral Chapel August 17th with Rev. M. H. Marshall officiating.

A choir of young folks sang several selections. They were Betty Allender, Yvonne Voge, Neoma Taylor, Frank Kuhn, and Palmer Watson. Mrs. Lester Meade presided at the instrument.

The Pallbearers were Walter Fernau, Arthur Deetjen, Dr. A. B. DeCastro, Sgt. Jenkins, Floyd McCleery and Kenneth Erlewine.

Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery with the Home Guard firing the military salute.

Donald Mason DeGroot, second son of Carl Everett and Maud Alice Maxon DeGroot, was born Tuesday, November 19, 1912 at Riverton, Wyo., departed this life, Wednesday August 11th, 1943 at Brunswick, Georgia, in the service of his country at the age of 30 years, 8 months and 23 days.

He resided with his family at Shoshoni, Wyoming until 1925 when they moved to Lusk where they since made their home. Donald attended the local schools and was a favorite among his classmates. He took an active part in athletics, being one of the outstanding basketball players. His schooling was completed in 1931, and he thereupon became engaged in the trucking business with his father.

On March 4th, 1942, he answered the call of his country. He received his basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash., where he was attached to Company 2-G, of the 144th Infantry. He was transferred to Eureka, California and various other points of the California coast, being on active coast guard duty. In January 1943, his company was sent to Brunswick, Ga. In February of this year he was home on furlough. Shortly after entering the U. S. Army he attained the rank of Private First Class, which he held at the time of his passing.

He is well thought of by his commanding officers and comrades. Each duty assigned him was cheerfully and well done. While on march in line of duty, he was overcome by the excessive heat and was forced to drop out of rank, death resulting without regaining consciousness.

He leaves behind him his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. DeGroot, four brothers, Everett of this city, Corp. Carl DeGroot, Pvt. Val DeGroot and Pfc. John A. DeGroot, four sisters, Mrs. Ben Sturman, Mrs. James Tenney, Ada and Phyllis DeGroot, all of Lusk, as well as many friends of his school and boyhood days.

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