PFC Robert Gaddy

B. 1925 D. JANUARY 30, 1945

The birth day and month for Robert Gaddy is unknown and even the year of his birth is in doubt. What is not in doubt however is he died January 30, 1945 while fighting for his Country.

There were a lot of Gaddys. His father Ernest’s first wife died leaving him with three daughters. He married again, this time to Lula Miller Gaddy and together they had one daughter and four sons. They lived on Moreland Ave. in East Griffin.

To support a family of eight children the parents, and the children when they came of age, went to work Dundee Mills. Starting to work young wasn’t a choice, it was a necessity.

Robert started his education at East Griffin Grammar School and then went on to Spalding High where his life took an unusual twist.

He was a good student and a good athlete. He lettered on the football team and proudly wore his letter sweater until he went into the service. That sweater was treasured by his mother until her death many years later.

Robert was a good looking young man of average height and build. His photograph makes him look bookish but apparently he was not necessarily so. No one remembers a particular “girlfriend” but he reportedly had a well rounded social life.

Even before his death it was usually conceded inside and outside of the family that Robert was “the best one of the children”. Never in trouble and always cheerfully “doing his part”. The unusual twist in his high school career was that, for family financial reasons, Robert dropped out of school to go to work at Dundee Mill #1. But as soon as he could he went back to school to finish his education. However his plans to earn a high school diploma were cut short again. He was drafted.

His determination to get a high school diploma may not have been completely defeated though. His family remembers that after his death fighting in the war he was awarded an honorary diploma from Spalding High School.

March 21, 1944 Robert entered the Army as serial number 34972782, 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division.

He fought across Europe with the 99th until his untimely death January 30, 1945. Little is know of the circumstances of his death.

Robert’s Mother literally went into shock upon receipt of the news of her son’s death and never really completely recovered.

After the war when our government was returning the bodies of soldiers killed overseas, families could choose to return their KIA’s body to America or not.

Mrs. Gaddy’s family believed the trauma of Robert’s body being brought home and reburied might well be too much for her to bear.

She never visited her son’s grave in Belgium but family members did. They brought back pictures and stories of what a beautiful place the cemetery was. Mrs. Gaddy’s only comment then was: “Now I can die happy.”

Consequently P.F.C. Robert Gaddy lies today where his grateful country buried him with full military honors in 1945. Plot F, row 7, grave 58 in the American War Cemetery Henri-Chapelle Belgium.