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Local Death Notices

Joseph Frantz Leaves Behind Lasting Legacy Steeped in Marine Traditions

By Paul Chasko

Joseph Frantz passed on at the age of 94, a few days before Memorial Day – kind of fitting, really.

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Marine Joseph Steven Frantz

Joe was a native of Charleroi, PA and spent the remainder of his working days as an electrician at the Corning Glass Works in this quiet Mon Valley town. Catholic in faith, he and his wife Stella raised a family of three girls atop a hill overlooking the town in a house they built with their own labor. Before he took on that task, he had another task to perform.

Joe joined the U.S. Marine Corps in time to assist the Corps in the Asiatic-Pacific campaign against the Japanese. He was part of Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion Division, Special Troops, 4th Marine Division, Asiatic-Pacific Theater. He served from February 26, 1943 to November 26, 1945 along with tens of thousands of other Marines. He saw action on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Tinian in the Mariana Islands, and on Iwo Jima.

He was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, two stars, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon with Four Stars, the combat action ribbon and WWII Victory Ribbon. After active duty, Joe joined the VFW and became a member of the Mon Valley Leathernecks, who carried our country’s colors in countless parades and Memorial Day services. He re-united with members of his service unit periodically over the years; Joe was a Marine to the end.

Joe was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery just outside Charleroi with full Marine Corps honors. While ‘Taps’ was played by a distant bugler, the flag that was draped over the coffin was folded according to regulation and presented to the family by a Marine. The young Marine sergeant, who wasn’t even born when Joe served, knelt before the family and spoke: “It gives me great sorrow to present this flag of honor to the family.”

Yes, there were tears at the ceremony. Semper Fi, Joe!

Click on “gallery” for more photos of this event by Paul Chasko



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A final salute and the beginning of taps










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“It gives me great sorrow to present this flag of honor. Who will accept it?”


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