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Civil War Round Table of Kansas City

Remembering Jack Brooks

At our January dinner meeting, Don Bates spoke about former member of the Civil War Round Table, Colonel Jack Brooks who died recently at the age of 99. Don said the memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on March 9, 2020 at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, located at 6630 Nall Avenue, Mission KS 66202.

Colonel Brooks served as president of our Round Table in 1987 and 1990. He received the Steve Treaster Civil War Preservation Award in 2012 and the Valiant Service Award in 1989. Colonel Brooks was also a World War II hero. The following article was published in the Johnson County magazine The Best Times in June of 2014:

D-Day Veterans Recall Landing at Omaha Beach

By Gerald Hay

Most of them were teenagers. They were drafted into the military or joined to help turn the tide of World War II. Seventy years ago, on June 6, 1944, now known as D-Day, many of them had their first taste of combat.

Retired Colonel Jack Brooks, 94, Leawood, was landing on Normandy from the sea. He was in the first wave to storm Omaha Beach. The assault had the most casualties on D-Day.

Back then, he was a 24-year-old captain of an Army company with the 1st Infantry “Big Red One” Division. Before Normandy, he had fought in Northern Africa and Sicily. “I could think of a thousand other places I would rather be than Omaha Beach," Brooks said with a smile.

D-Day seemed like mass confusion. The noise was deafening. Big guns fired, men shouted, and geysers of water erupted around scores of landing craft as they reached the beaches. The Germans had every inch of the beach pre-sighted for accurate firing of mortars, machine guns, and 88 mm cannons.

His advice to his troops was simple: When the ramp of the landing craft drops, go out, and don’t stop for anything in trying to reach a protective berm. Wire and a minefield stalled their advancement to the bluffs until holes were blown in the wire and a pathway cleared among the mines.

By nightfall, about 175,000 Allied military personnel were ashore in France. But the cost had been very high -some 4,900 died on the beaches and in the battle further inland that day. “We lost 48 men,” Brooks said, referring to his company of 140 soldiers. “Our regiment of 3,200 troops lost 35 officers and 950 men on the first day.”

Following D-Day, he said the campaign across France was easier than getting off the beaches, as Allied forces headed to the Netherlands before crossing into Germany. He was awarded four Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts in WWII.

Brooks entered the Army six months before Pearl Harbor and made it a career after the war, serving a tour in the Korean War and two tours in the Vietnam War before retiring in 1966. His medals also include a Legion of Merit and French Legion of Honor.

Aside from serving in three wars. Brooks didn’t come away empty handed when the fighting ended in Europe in 1945. While stationed at Bamberg, Germany, he met Ingeborg, his future wife, but wasn’t allowed to marry her while he was overseas.

After returning stateside, he had to post a $500 bond with a stipulation that the wedding would occur within 60 days or she would have to return to her homeland. He has been married to his war bride for 66 years.

Remembering Scott D. Richart

We are very sorry to report that Round Table member Scott D. Richart passed away on June 17, 2019 at the age of 66.

Scott was bom on August 10, 1952, in Williamsport PA. After receiving his master’s degree in civil engineering from Syracuse University, he worked for Pullman Power Products, then 25 years for Bums & McDonnell in Kansas City, from which he recently retired. Since then, he enjoyed volunteering at the Overland Park Arboretum and playing on a local pool team with friends. A member of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City since 2013 and a patron of civil war sites, he had a passion for U.S. history. An avid reader, he meticulously documented over 500 completed books of all types in a log kept since 1980.

Scott is survived by his wife, Susan Richart, who is also a member of the Round Table, his son, David Richart, daughter, Michelle (Grant) Wittenbom, grandsons, Owen and Luke Wittenbom. Please keep Susan and her family in your prayers. Scott will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

A memorial service will be held at Church of the Resurrection, Wesley Chapel, at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, July 12th, with a reception following the service.

Remembering John M. Coleton

Round Table member Mary Vorsten sent the following e-mail on June 30th regarding former Round Table Member John M. Coleton:

A note to say the obituary for John M. Coleton, a Civil War Round Table member is in today's KC Star. I don't think he has been a member in recent years but he was involved in the 1990's and may have been the Chaplain as some point. I met him when he was doing Clinical Pastoral Education at Baptist Medical Center and recruited him to the Round Table. He attended in the era of Jack Brooks and Oivis Fitts and had much in common with them regarding WWII. My last contact with him was seeing him with Doris (another Baptist Medical Center employee) at Sweet Tomatoes just east of State Line, that was several years ago. He always enjoyed the dinner meetings and hearing the speakers.

John M. Coleton, 95, died on June 25, 2019. He was bom April 25, 1924. He attended LaSalle Institute in Troy, NY, and received a degree from Alfred University in Alfred, NY. During WWII, John enlisted as a volunteer in the infantry and was wounded in action at Coblenz, Germany. He received the Silver Star, Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars, European Theater with three campaign stars for The Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe, and the Good Conduct Medal. He received a battlefield commission, Expert Infantry Badge and Combat Infantry Award. He was also a member of the Civil War Round Table through 2013.

John was employed by Western Auto and transferred to Kansas City in 1962. He retired as Senior Buyer of major appliances. Ordained in the Sacred Order of Deacons by the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, he served at several local Episcopal churches. He also completed Clinical Pastoral Education and served as a hospital chaplain. An inurnment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington VA, at a later date.

Remembering Purd B. Wright III

Purd Wright in a photo taken on October 24, 2015

Long-time Civil War Round Table member Purd B. Wright III passed away at the age of 88 on Thanksgiving, November 22, 2018. Purd was born in Kansas City MO in 1930 and attended an all boys boarding school in Kent CT. He earned varsity letters in football and rowing. He attended Princeton University, but left to join the Air Force in 1951.

Purd was assigned to the Strategic Air Command Survival School at Fort Carson CO and was trained as a combat intelligence instructor. Purd was sent to Morocco, where he served at Sidi Slimane Air Force Base and the Headquarters of the 5th Air Division. He was Honorably Discharged from the service at Camp Kilmer NJ in 1954. Purd went back to Princeton and graduated with Honors in History in 1956.

Purd was employed as a traveling salesman and sales manager for 41 years with International Paper Company, FMC Corporation, and GardenWay, Inc. He was a member of the Saddle and Sirloin Club of Kansas City and was a dedicated trail rider.

Purd and his wife Peggy have been regular attendees at our Civil War Round Table dinner meetings. Purd loved history. He will be greatly missed by all of those who knew and loved him.

Remembering Betty Ergovich

Betty Ergovich at the CWRT-KC dinner meeting held on December 19, 2017

Long-time Civil War Round Table member Betty Ergovich passed away on Monday, October 22, 2018. Betty served as president of the Round Table in 1999 and was presented with the Valiant Service Award in 2012. She most recently served as Historian for the Round Table.

Betty cared deeply about the Round Table and loved going to the Round Table dinner meetings. Betty suffered a stroke in 2016 and had been living in the memory care unit at Villa St. Francis in Olathe K.S. Betty last attended a dinner meeting with her daughter Phyllis Ergovich-Marshall in February of this year.

Remembering Joelouis Mattox

Former Civil War Round Table member Joelouis Mattox passed away, at his home in Kansas City MO, on March 20, 2017. He was 79 years old. The memorial service was held on March 30th and Joe was buried at the Leavenworth National Cemetery.

There was an excellent article about Joe in the Kansas City Star on March 22nd. The article states that Joe "spent his life researching, writing, and lecturing about the contributions of African-Americans in Kansas City and throughout the region. Since the early 1990's Mattox was an independent scholar and volunteer at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center and State Museum in Kansas City."

Joe was a member of the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund and was a volunteer at the Battle of Westport Museum in Swope Park. Joe was a true gentleman and was recognized as a "Living Historian." Joe will be greatly missed by all those that knew him.

For more remembrances of Joe follow these links:

Civil War Round Table of Kansas City
P.O. Box 6202
Shawnee Mission, KS 66206

Email: info@cwrtkc.org          Membership Application

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