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Junior Genzlinger, age 92, formerly of Howard, SD, passed away surrounded by his loving family, on January 10, 2014 at Avera McKennan Hospital after long illness. Visitation will be held with family present at 4-7 pm on Wednesday, January 15, at Willoughby Funeral Home in Howard, with a Prayer Service at 5:30 pm. The Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursday, January 16, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Howard with burial at Graceland Cemetery, Howard and Military Honors.
Junior Adam Genzlinger, son of Adam and Anna (Walter) Genzlinger was born on July 3, 1921, in Howard. He was raised in the Howard area where he also attended school. After his school years, Junior enrolled in the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC), completing his conservation service in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Junior began his distinguished career with the military by enlisting in the Quartermaster unit in 1940, and rose through the ranks to Chief Warrant Officer. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, in the 34th Infantry Division, a division of the Army National Guard, also known as the Red Bull Division which holds the distinction of being the first U.S. division deployed to Europe in World War II. Junior's unit trained in Louisiana before deployment to Europe for continued intensive training in Ireland and England. The unit then was transported by sea to North Africa and entered combat in the European, African, and Middle Eastern Theater Campaigns, before moving on to Italy, where Junior spent the majority of his service time overseas. Among Junior's awards and citations to recognize his service to his country are three Bronze Star Medals, for meritorious service in a combat zone; the Presidential Citation for heroism against the enemy in World War II; the Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptional meritorious conduct of outstanding service, heroic deeds, or valorous actions of a unit; the Combat Infantry Badge which recognizes the sacrifices of infantrymen who faced the greatest risk during World War II; and the Croix de guerre Medal, an award for bravery, presented by the French military to those who fought with the Allies against the Axis force during World War II.
When World War II ended, Junior was discharged at the time the US Armed Forces was demobilized and the SD National Guard was disbanded. In 1946, the State of SD was authorized by the War Department to reorganize its National Guard. Junior's commitment and dedication to his service for his country continued, as he played an active role in the post-World War II reorganization of the SD Army National Guard.
On April 8, 1945, after his return from service in the war, Junior was united in marriage with Betty Lou Rogers in Clinton, IA. The couple moved to Omaha, NE where Junior accepted a job in the US Postal Service. The couple moved to Winfred, SD, when Junior transferred to a Rural Mail Carrier position, before finally settling in Howard, where they raised their three daughters. Junior also worked as an electrician, installing and repairing furnaces and air conditioners in the Howard area. Later in life, they lived in Madison, SD and Chanhassen, MN.
When the SD National Guard was called to active duty service during the Berlin Crisis in 1961, Junior left his wife and three daughters and his job with the US Postal Service to serve at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. He was stationed there for approximately one year while the Crisis was resolved. Junior retired from his service with the US Army and the SD Army National Guard in 1981.
Junior was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Howard, and later the Bethany Lutheran Church in Howard, where he served as a Church Council Member. He was a member of the VFW and the American Legion in Howard. Junior was a voracious reader of a myriad of topics, with special interest in Christian theology and other religious history and literature. His hobbies also included woodworking, gardening, pheasant hunting, fishing, and camping with family.
Grateful for having shared his life are his three daughters: Renee (Joe) Deiter of Casper, WY, Valerie (Gary) Kuhl of Madison, and Gayle (Wayne) Wenzlaff of Chanhassen, MN; grandchildren: Tara Deiter, Andrea Wenzlaff, and Jason (Carrie) Kuhl; and great grandchildren: Katie Deiter and Maxen Kuhl.
Junior was preceded in death by his parents; his 11 brothers and sisters; a grandson, Trevor Deiter; and his loving wife on November 19, 2013.
Published in The Argus Leader on Jan. 14, 2014
Willoughby Funeral Home Inc
301 N Main Howard, SD 57349