Another Mt. Calvary Story

I was at Mt. Calvary on Sunday to take flowers to my dad. We had a nice chat and he is well. Typically when I’m at the cemetery, I walk back from where my parents are buried and explore that area. On Sunday, I looked down the hill

View from my parents’ neighborhood at Mt. Calvary. Their stone is the big rectangle on the right.

I noticed that big rock down the hill to the left of my parents’ marker and decided to go see who had such a big rock. It’s the Gormans. Quite a few Gormans down there. The rock just says Gorman and then there are flat markers for the individuals many of whom were born in the mid-1800s. So that’s nice. When the Gormans run out, there is this marker:

Joseph F. Fader

Joseph F. Fader


Pvt 23 Inf 2  Inf Div

World War II

Feb. 26 1914 – Aug. 2 1944

First I noticed that I was born on the same day as Private Fader. I noted the date of his death. He had to have died in Europe. I wonder if his remains are really there or if it is just a marker? Probably just a marker. There are no related markers near his. No wife or parents or siblings no other marker with the name Fader. Joseph was 30 when he died. I’m guessing with that generation that he was married, maybe had kids. But his wife would have remarried, so perhaps she is buried near her second husband. Maybe he never had kids or they moved or their step-father adopted them.

That’s all there is of Joseph Fader? It has been niggling at my brain. What was his story? Does anyone think of him other than me? Is there family out there at all that speaks of their great-uncle or great grandfather who died in WWII?

What does one do in the 21st century when one has questions? I went to the Google. Private Fader is on Oregon’s WWII Memorial. Joseph F. Fader. That’s all.

I looked up the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. Joseph was most likely in France when he died. The 23rd infantry landed at Omaha Beach June 8, 1944.

I found this on the WWII website

“In slow, painful hedgerow fighting, the Regiment inched its way forward day after day against hard fighting enemy paratroop elements. St. Georges d’Elle, Hill 192 (which commanded St. Lo), St. Jean des Baisants, Etouvy, Vire, Truttemer le Grand and Tinchebray were scenes of bitter fighting up to August when the organized German resistance in Normandy collapsed.”

I had to get a 14-day-trial subscription to to find any further details.

Joseph Fader was born in Montana and moved to Portland in time for the Census of 1930. He and his parents, Mike and Helen Fredorkovich, and his brother, John lived in Portland. If is correct, they lived a mile or so away from where I live now.

Joseph enlisted on August 2, 1943 exactly one year, to the day, before he died. According to his enlistment papers he was married. He was a woodworker, like his father and his brother. He never went to high school. He enlisted and trained in Wisconsin. Traveled to New York and then sailed to Northern Ireland arriving on Oct. 20, 1943. In April, 1944 the 23rd moved to South Wales and then on June 8 to Omaha Beach.

I don’t believe Private Fader ever made it out of France. I know the 23rd infantry went from Omaha Beach through France through Belgium and Germany to Czechoslovakia, where they were when the War ended in Europe on May 8, 1945.

I’m sorry he didn’t make it to Czechoslovakia. His parents had left that country in the late 19th century, I’m sure he would have been proud to be part of its liberation.

30 replies to “Another Mt. Calvary Story

  1. Oh my god…if there are two things in this world I love, it’s cemeteries and I just finished writing a 100 page book on my own genealogy and loved every minute of it.
    I love how you investigated the life and death of Joe Fader. He will never be forgotten by me…
    I often walk through cemeteries and try to reconstruct the lives of the people who are buried there. SO many tiny stones next to so many young mothers…and then I cry.
    Wonderful post!!!

      1. OK. Good I thought it was you and I saw that Margie was sick but then I wasn’t sure b/c I know you know my name!

        And I was thinking of you and hoping you would read this b/c I know it’s your kind of post.


  2. First of all, I hope you and your Mom and Dad made a nice connection that day and that you guys loved, laughed and talked alot.

    Secondly, what a wonderful and beautiful gesture, Mags, that you made by honoring this gentlemen, finding out more about him and honoring him as well. You gave him a voice and paid testament/honor to him and his loved ones and I think that is just so grand. But I think you are as well. :).

    1. Thank you Brigitte! We had a great time when they were alive, I miss them a lot. And thank you for your kind words on the blog. I don’t want Private Fader to be forgotten. 🙂

  3. It’s not too hard to find info on WWII veterans who died during the war, but it does take some digging, as you’ve discovered. And you’re probably right, he probably didn’t make it out of France, most of the fighting hadn’t crossed the border into Belgium and Germany by August.

    I bet you made Mr. Fader’s day, Maggie. That was a really cool thing you did!

  4. great story……it’s a metaphor?….even when you don’t think so, you can touch someone’s life. Tell the story on Friday! I was at the Somme battlefields in France in May and that is all I could think about, who did not make it home, who did they interact with while there……you get the idea. Wanted to go to Normandy, but didn’t have time. As we traveled by train, I thought some of the little villages we passed might not have looked that different in WWII. I have pictures of my dad from Iwo Jima………and now he is buried alone in New York, my mother having remarried after moving to FL. Someone could come upon his grave and wonder the same thing. I have never been to it; now I have to go.
    I shouldn’t check your blog after having a beer!

    1. What happens on Friday?
      The Somme….gah!! I haven’t read much WWI history but I know it was horrific. Where is your dad in NY? You should go see him but I notice you aren’t near NY right now 🙂 It’s nice that they let you have beer in the Peace Corps, I suppose there’s no reason why they wouldn’t, I was just surprised 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

      1. ha, ha……….the PC website is my husband’s; I just administer/moderate it (everything but write the posts). It’s me and Friday is French group 🙂

  5. Maggie,
    This was magnificent. I love cemeteries. The Ringmistress and I will often walk in some and take pictures of the oldest graves we can find. But more than anything, you’re a compelling writer, and also, a very human one. This was a good read.
    Le Clown

  6. Just fantastic. I love the part of you that yearns for a deeper connection and then takes the action to make it happen. This was a great tribute, a very interesting read, and I admire you for telling the story.

  7. I’m so glad you found about this lonely soldier. At least now he will be remembered by us even if there is no-one else left who remembers him. Lump in my throat.

    1. That’s so nice. I was thinking of him again last night. I wonder if there’s anyone out there? I searched Portland for his name but couldn’t find anyone. 😦

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