Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 140
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
military police, before he was finally sent to Europe in January 1945. He served with the
328th Regiment, 26th Infantry, which fought in Germany. On February 19, 1945, in
fighting that led to the crossing of the Rhine River, Hodde's company advanced on the
heavily-fortified houses of Fraulaurtern, Germany. Encountering heavy resistance,
Hodde and a small group of other men took refuge in a barn. Shortly afterward, a bazooka
shell hit the building, igniting munitions that were stored inside. The barn collapsed,
burying the men who were inside. Efforts to rescue them were fruitless, as the Germans
kept up heavy fire all day and, aided by flares, all night.66
Hodde is believed to be the last World War II casualty returned to the county
for burial His remains were not returned to Eagle Lake until 1950. On September 22,
1950, Rev. D. Rhea Allison conducted services for Hodde from Eagle Lake's Mill Funeral
Home. He was buried in the Lakeside Cemetery. As had become routine after the war,
all businesses in Eagle Lake were closed for a couple of hours for the funeral. Hodde was
survived by his wife, Beatrice, his father, Ed, both of whom resided in Houston, Texas;
plus two sisters and four brothers, Edna Taylor, Sophie Zoeller, W. E. Hodde, Floyd
Hodde, Dallas Hodde, and Ben Hodde, who was on a submarine tender in the Pacific
when his brother was killed. In addition to local memorials, Hodde's name was inscribed
on a plaque in Bear Creek Park honoring Harris County's war dead, and, in October 1945,
he was selected to represent Houston's war dead at the Disabled Veterans National
Sgt. Harold W. Runk
September 13, 1921 - March 4, 1945
Harold W. Runk was born September 13, 1921, the son of I. M. and Marie
Runk. His father had died in 1933. Harold attended Columbus schools and the Baptist
Church. He entered the service in 1942, and arrived in Europe with the 29th Infantry
Division in June 1944. Serving as an infantryman with the newly organized U. S. Ninth
Army under General William Simpson, Runk entered Germany through Belgium. He had
participated in substantial action, including the Battle of Aachen, which was the first
German city to fall to the Allies. It was captured only after bitter fighting in mid-October
1944. In December 1944 Runk was promoted from private first class to sergeant.68
Runk reportedly died at Bardenburg, Germany on March 4, 1945 as the result
of an accidental gunshot wound. His death occured on what would have been his late
father's birthday. Runk was survived by brothers Dick, Gus, and PFC J. C. Runk, who
was serving in the army in France when Harold was killed. At the time, a memorial service
for him was held in Columbus. In 1949, Runk was reinterred in the Odd Fellows Rest
Cemetery in Columbus.69
66 Eagle Lake Headlight, March 30, 1945, August 31, 1945, September 7, 1945, October 12,
1945. Additional information was provided by Sophie Zoeller.
67 Eagle Lake Headlight, September 14, 1950, September 21, 1950. Additional information was
provided by Sophie Zoeller. One article regarding the return of his body to Eagle Lake said he had been killed
in Luxembourg rather than Germany.
68 Colorado County Citizen, December 21, 1944, March 22, 1945.
69 Colorado County Citizen, March 22, 1945, January 29, 1949.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995, periodical, September 1995; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151395/m1/32/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.