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John J. Day Jr. Obituary - Hill Funeral Home


Friends may call 4-7 p.m. Monday, November 4th, 2019 at HILL FUNERAL HOME, 220 S. State St., Westerville, OH

The Honor Flight Columbus office let us know that you called about your father's passing. I remember your dad and was so honored to be part of his Honor Flight trip in 2011. We had read that he received his most recent honor from the French. What a fine recognition of his efforts.
I'm certain that he loved his role as grandpa and has watched the generations follow him in military service with great pride. Such a good role model!
I can only guess at how your heart aches and pray that warm memories and the remembering of the funny, sweet and special stories that make up your family history will continue to lighten your grief. With appreciation for having shared a few moments of his journey, I send my sympathy. Bobbi

Bobbi Richards

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Obituary for John J. Day Jr.

John J. Day Jr. 1922-2019

John J. Day Jr.

06/29/1922 - 10/31/2019

John J. Day Jr. age 97 of Galena, Ohio (formerly of Copiague, NY of 54 years)
passed away on October 31, 2019. WWII vet. Beloved husband of Mary Ann Day (Gross)
(deceased). Loving father of James (Jocelyn), Elizabeth Duckwitz (Art), Barbara (deceased),
John III (Renee). Cherished grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of ten. Visiting
hours are on Monday, November 4, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Hill Funeral Home,
220 S. State Street, Westerville, OH 43081. VFW Funeral Rite will be held at 5:00 p.m.
honoring him for his military service. Interment will be out of state on November 8, 2019,
at the Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY, with military honors conducted by
the United States Army Honor Guard.
On a Thursday in June 1922, John J. Day Jr. was the first of three sons (John, Martin,
and Thomas) and one daughter (Catherine) born to John J. Day Sr. and Elizabeth Morge in
Bronx, New York. John went to public schools, where he ran on the school’s track team, and
received several medals for competing in the 440-yard relay. He also went to vocational
schools and was part of the Golden Gloves after getting out of school.
He began his career with the Pennsylvania Railroad and was drafted (“WE WANT
YOU”) into the U.S. Amy on October 16, 1942, and immediately got a two-week leave. Then
on October 30, he went to Draft Board #100 in the Bronx, NY (located at 238 Street and
White Plains Avenue). He took the subway to Penn Station, and then took Long Island
Railroad to Camp Upton, Long Island, NY. The next day he went back to Penn Station and
then took a train to Texas.
The 90 th Division was activated at Camp Berkeley on March 5, 1942. Camp Berkeley
was a large United States Army training installation during World War II. The base was
located eleven miles (18 km) southwest of Abilene, Texas. He got there November 2, 1942,
and was attached to the 90 th Division, 358 th Infantry Regiment, Anti-Tank Company,
which later was known as the ‘Tough Hombres”. After nine months of training, he was
given a two-week leave, and then returned to Camp Berkeley. Two weeks later he went to
Louisiana for 2 ½ months of training, then back to Camp Berkeley for two more weeks of
training and then headed off to California by train for 2-1/2 months of desert training and
finally back to Fort Dix and Camp Kilmer, New Jersey where he was able to play a bit of
softball! Then at the end of March 1944, his unit took a ship to England arriving on April 9,
1944 - Easter Sunday.
After two months in England, he boarded a ship for the Invasion of Normandy. He
landed on June 8, 1944 (D-Day +2) and then fought the German Army through occupied
France. John as well as other “Tough Hombres” survived extreme conditions in the “Battle
of the Seves River”. He was taken off the front line and relieved from battlefield duty on
July 22, 1944, and sent to a hospital in England due to battle fatigue, and then went on to
continue his final overseas assignment at a Postal Unit in Avon, France (one mile outside
Fontainebleau, France). The war ended on May 8, 1945 (Victory in Europe “VE” Day) and
he was sent back to Indian Gap, Pennsylvania (Army Depot) where he remained until his
final discharge on November 12, 1945.
He earned the European Theatre (contains 2 battle stars & arrowhead for beach
landing), Combat Infantry Badge and Bronze Star medals for his courageous service to our
country and recently on October 8, 2019, was awarded the French Legion of Honor, the
highest distinction that France can bestow upon those who have achieved remarkable
deeds for France (
He returned to civilian life and his work with the Pennsylvania Central Railroad system
in New York. He met his bride to be, Mary Ann Gross, at meetings of the Catholic War
Veterans, and were married on May 28, 1949. Mary Ann was also part of the W.A.V.E.S.
(Navy) during WWII and was an Aviation Machinist Mate (AMM2). They had four children,
James (retired Navy SEAL), Elizabeth, Barbara (died at age 19 from Leukemia) and John III
(also a retired Navy SEAL). John went on to retire at age 48, and began additional service
with the Copiague School District (New York), eventually retiring from full employment in
Besides eating at their favorite restaurant, Red Lobster, John, and Mary Ann enjoyed
travelling. During their marriage, they took many trips from New York to California to see
their children and grandchildren. During their travels, they visited 49 states, which
included seeing the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, and
Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial, and climbed to the top of Diamond Head. In
November 2004, they made the decision to move from Copiague, Long Island (New York) to
Galena, Ohio and landed in the subdivision called “Meadows at Cheshire”. Sadly, Mary Ann
passed away in 2011. John said, “Having my daughter close by and the friendly and helpful
neighbors that I’ve met over the last 15 years is my favorite part of living here.”
In his earlier days, John was an avid bowler and for many years bowled in leagues two
times a week. He loved listening to Big Bands like the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the
Tommy Dorsey Band. Mary Ann’s father’s brother-in-law, Joe Bauer actually played
trumpet for Tommy Dorsey from 1937-1941. Currently, John spends time watching golf,
Survivor, Ninja Warrior, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, various game shows, and, even
the Bachelor and Bachelorette! His favorite movie of all time is from 1940, “Gone with The
Wind”, for which he stood in line with his mother for over two hours just to see it! He
loved gardening and cutting his grass using his ride-on lawn mower up until he fell two
days before his 96 th birthday which required a partial hip replacement surgery. Up until
the age of 95, he played 9-holes of golf at Arrowhead Golf Course at least four times a week.
John continues to be involved in the community. Besides belonging to Westerville VFW
Post 7883, he has participated in many Veteran celebrations and been asked to speak about
his experiences serving in the military. Two years ago he spoke at a veterans’ breakfast
celebration at Olentangy Orange High School to three classes of students. On his 95th
birthday, he was presented a Resolution from the State of Ohio, Office of Governor John
Kasich, and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, for his personal contributions as a member
of this country’s World War II “Greatest Generation”.
John would say though that his proudest achievement is his four children, seven
grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
Learn more about Utah Beach and the 90 th Division: