Tree #1: Triumph Elm
HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD.
Dedicated by donor Paul Michaels
Tree #2: Triumph Elm
This tree is a symbolic dedication to all service members who are missing or held as a prisoner of war. According to the Pentagon’s Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, there are currently 83,204 unaccounted for U.S. personnel, including 73,547 from World War II, 7,883 from the Korean War, 126 from the Cold War, 1,642 from the Vietnam War, and six from Iraq and other recent conflicts.
Dedicated by the Sycamore Rotary Club
Tree #3: Hackberry
Branch: U.S. Air Force
Marilyn served honorably in the Air Force nurse corps for 3 years. Her military responsibilities included nursing care as well as all base education for corpsmen and Red Cross volunteers.
Following discharge from the military, she obtained a Doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from NIU and certification as a nurse practitioner from Rush University. Marilyn was a NIU Professor in the School of Nursing for 29 years (Chair of the NIU School for ten years). At the age of 50, she attended the NIU Law School in addition to holding a full-time faculty role. Upon retirement from NIU, she entered the legal profession in the DeKalb County State’s Attorney Office as an Assistant State’s Attorney and then designing and implementing the Drug and DIU Court.
Dedicated by her husband, Paul Stromborg, Jr. of Sycamore
Tree #4: Hackberry
Rank: Specialist E-4
Branch: U.S. Army
Herb was drafted into service with the US Army on April Fools Day 1968. He choose to serve as a Medic with the 25th Infantry Division.
He was medically retired in 1970 after being awarded 3 Bronze Star Medals. The family moved to Sycamore in 1979. He was instrumental in setting up the DeKalb County Veteran’s Assistance Commission and served as its first Superintendent.
Dedicated by his wife, children and grandchildren.
Tree #5: Ohio Buckeye
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Branch: U.S. Air Force
Paul Stromborg enlisted in the Air Force, and after pilot training he flew KC-135A air refueling tankers as part of the 410th Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command. He had several deployments to SEA (Southeast Asia) supporting combat air operations.
After his initial service he went on to medical school and specialized in internal medicine. He joined Irving Frank, MD in 1977 and practiced medicine in Sycamore for the next 40 years. In 1989 he joined the Illinois Air National Guard as a flight surgeon and was assigned to the 169th Tactical Fighter Squadron at the Peoria Airport. He flew regularly with the squadron in A-37s and F-16s.
Dedicated by his wife, Marilyn Stromborg of Sycamore
Tree #6: Kentucky Coffee
Rank: Tech E-5
Branch: U.S. Army
Paul Stromborg, Sr. served with the 732nd Operational Railroad Battalion in Europe. He received the European Theater of Operations Ribbon with 3 bronze battle stars and the WWII Victory Medal. After the war he returned to Chicago where he worked in banking for the next 40 years, and raised his family.
Dedicated by his son, Paul Stromborg, Jr. of Sycamore
Tree #7: Autumn Fantasy Maple
Branch: U.S. Army
Dr. Frank served as a medical officer at various army bases in Texas and at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His responsibilities were to give medical care to the POWs from Rommel’s Africa Corps.
After the war he joined the Bureau of Indian Affairs and provided medical care to Native Americans at Ft. Defiance, Arizona (Navajo tribe) and Ft. Lewis in Washington (Nisqually Tribe). He left the Indian Service in 1949 to practice family medicine in Sycamore for the next 50 years. He founded Kishwaukee Medical Associates in Sycamore which attracted young physicians to Sycamore.
Dedicated by daughter, Marilyn, and son in-law Paul Stromborg of Sycamore
Tree #8: Hackberry
Branch: U.S. Army
Dr. Sanford M. Cohen, O.D., was born Jan. 9, 1943 in Flint, Michigan and died on November 9, 1991. He graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago, in 1967 and married Rebecca Frank, from Sycamore, on June, 23, 1968. From 1968-1970, during the Viet Nam War, he served as the Senior Captain of the Optometry Clinic, US Army Medical Service Corps, Womack Army Hospital, Ft. Bragg, N.C.
After his honorable discharge from the Army, Sanford (“Sandy”) and Rebecca settled in Sycamore to raise their children (Aaron Frank Cohen and Joshua Dov Cohen) and start an Optometric practice. Sandy loved being part of the Sycamore community and the people that he met every day. He served on the board of directors of the Sycamore Rotary Club and was a Paul Harris Sustaining Member. He was also a member of the Sycamore VFW, Sycamore Music Boosters, Omega Pi Optometric fraternity, helped to create and develop the Sycamore High School soccer team in 1982, and was part of a choir that nourished his love of singing.
Dedicated by Dr. Rebecca Frank Cohen, loving wife
Tree #9: Burr Oak
Branch: U.S. Army
Service: World War II
Peter Johnson and both of his brothers Frank and Wesley, served during WWII. Their mother was an immigrant from Denmark and was widowed when the boys were very young. She was so proud of the service her boys provided for her new country.
Peter left college to enlist in the Army after World War II started. He worked in communications in Saipan. During training before leaving for Asia, he married his high school sweetheart, Rhoda. Upon returning, Peter finished college and started a career in education. His father passed away during the depression and he credits many in Sycamore for helping his family during that time. He chose to work and raise his family of three children in the community he loved. He was an innovative teacher, coach and administrator in Sycamore for 34 of his 49 years in education. In his early 90’s, Pete went on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. where he was asked to participate in the Posting of the Colors at the beginning of a ceremony at the World War II Memorial. He enjoyed meeting and talking with his fellow veterans. Pete proudly wears his World War II veterans cap whenever possible.
Dedicated by his children, Jill Johnson Rahn, Rebecca Johnson Feaster and Peter N. Johnson
Tree #10: Triumph Elm
Rather than be drafted into the Army or Marine Corps and sent to Vietnam, Larry instead joined the Navy with his future brother-in-law, Tim Holmes.
After boot camp, the Navy thought better and in August of 1968, sent Larry to Vietnam to ply the rivers of the Mekong Delta in support of the Mobile Riverine Force (PBRs and Swift Boats and the Army’s 9th Infantry). Assigned to the USS Madera County (LST-905) and the USS Page County (LST-1076), he supported the MRF by providing ammunition, food and other supplies for 18 months. After Vietnam, he was stationed at Norfolk, VA, Cape Canaveral, FL and Pearl Harbor, HI. In 1975, Larry, his wife Steph and their family (Jeremy, Scott, Carin & Katie) settled in Sycamore and he was in the insurance business.
Dedicated by his wife and children.
Tree #11: Autumn Fantasy Maple
Bill Holmes was on Liberty Ship, SS Peter Silvester, when torpedoed on Feb. 6th, 1945 by German U-boat-862. The Liberty Ship had 174 crew consisting of several different service branches and 317 mules aboard to take them to their destination, The Burma Trail.
142 men scrambled aboard four life rafts and six life boats. Some were rescued after 2 days in the water. Bill’s group (92 men) were rescued by the Coast Guard ship, USS Corpus Christi, after 7 days, with 2 more rescues at 16 and 32 days. All men were taken to Australia to recover from their wounds and trauma from the incident. Bill was awarded the Purple Heart.
Bill’s daughter, Stephanie Forsberg, researched this incident and found four survivors of the SS Silvester, including Bill’s best friend.
Dedicated by his daughter, Stephanie Forsberg, of Sycamore.
Tree #12: Burr Oak
Rolando was born in Laredo, TX. He was stationed in Paris, France 3 out of his 6 years in the Army. His primary responsibility in Paris was as a Special Carrier of top-secret documents by automobile and train, from one base to another in France for top military officials.
Rolando completed the remainder of his time in the service stationed in Germany and Maryland, WA. as a Telecommunication Specialist. Rolando met his wife Julia and were married in Paris, France. During their 54 years of marriage, they had 3 sons, 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Dedicated by Manny Peña, of Sycamore.
Tree #13: Triumph Elm
Ben joined the Naval Reserve directly after graduating from high school, knowing he would have to serve his country. His decision allowed him to have some choice about training and assignments that most young men at the time didn’t have, especially if they were drafted into the Armed Services. He chose to follow his father’s Naval footsteps, served two years then went on to college upon discharge.
His helping personality was evident in his career choice of Firefighter and EMT in the small town of Sycamore. Ben is a model of a husband, a father, and a citizen who would fight for the ideals of this country while accomplishing his life’s goals. His children Benjamin III, Heather and wife Cindy are proud to be the family he embraced more than life.
Dedicated by his wife, Cindy, of Sycamore
Tree #14: Autumn Fantasy Maple
Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
Charles L. Weeden was born on the family farm in Sycamore, IL on April 28, 1924 and finished his chores May 31, 2019. After high school Chuck enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1942 and was discharged a Second Lieutenant on March 31, 1946.
Trained as a pilot and pilot instructor for B/17 planes, he was then trained for the B/29 Flying Fortress and sent to Tinian in the Mariana Islands to engage in the war against Japan, during which many missions were flown. When returned from duty, Charles married Donna Gillis and pursued his farming career, and “SO GOD MADE A FARMER”.
Dedicated by David Stran
Tree #15: Ohio Buckeye
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Branch: U.S. Army
Service: World War II
Donald Josh served in WWII with the 38th Infantry “Cyclone” Division under General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific area. He was cited for bravery under fire as a combat medic and received the following citations: a victory medal in American Theatre Ribbon, an Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon with three bronze battle stars, a bronze service arrowhead and the Philippines Liberation Ribbon with one bronze battle star and three overseas service bars.
Dedicated by Maggie Peck
Tree #16: Triumph Elm
Warren “Mack” McGee enlisted in the Navy on July 10, 1944, leaving his devoted wife Doris home with their first two children Tommy and Carolyn. After completing Basic Training, he was assigned to the SS Albert K. Smiley, listed as a Liberty ship built just months before he reported aboard. He was assigned to one of the ships’ two 20-millimeter Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. After the war he was honorably discharged on January 22, 1946.
Mack was awarded 4 campaign ribbons for his service.
- European Theater Ribbon
- Asiatic Pacific Ribbon
- American Theater Ribbon
- Victory Ribbon
Dedicated by his children, Tommy, Carolyn (Sis), Ernie and Mark McGee
Tree #17: Kentucky Coffee
Kurt Peter Klein served in the United States Army from 1962-1965, including overseas in Japan during the Vietnam War. Following his service, he attended law school and became an attorney in 1972, prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
He began his career in DeKalb County in 1977 as first assistant state’s attorney and was later a founding member of the Gallagher, Klein and Brady law firm. He was appointed to serve DeKalb County as a Judge in 1995 and was Presiding Judge for the county for 11 years, retiring in 2012. He was a leading force in creating the 23rd Judicial Circuit, facilitating the expansion of the DeKalb County Court House, and developing a safe house for at-risk youth.
Dedicated by his wife, Linda of Sycamore
Tree #18: Hackberry
Branch: U.S. Army
Service: World War II
Charles Gilleland served in World War II. After his service he worked and lived in North Dakota and in Minnesota as a farmer and a union pipe fitter. After he retired, he lived on a hobby farm in Minnesota where he raised red deer and enjoyed working on classic cars. He had a huge passion for Chevrolet cars, and that’s why I am proud that I was able to buy a Chevrolet dealership in the great town of Sycamore.
Dedicated by his grandson, Ryan Gilleland of Sycamore
Tree #19: Triumph Elm
Marian (Hooker) Stran graduated from the St. Charles Hospital School of Nursing in 1942 and later served as an Army nurse from December 1943 to January 1946. She worked in a surgical ward in a hospital in New Guinea for 19 months and later provided pre-surgery care as well as emergency care before patients who had returned home. She also supervised corpsmen and Filipino nurse’s aids.
Her awards and decorations include the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star, the Philippine Liberation Campaign Medal, the Meritorious Unit Award, the World War II Victory Medal and 2 Overseas Service Bars.
Dedicated by their son, Dave Stran
Tree #20: Red Oak
Richard was actively involved in the Sycamore community, to include positions as Vice President of Seymour of Sycamore, Farmers and Merchants Bank Board of Directors, Twelve year member of the Sycamore School Board (serving at one time as President), Charter member of the Sycamore Education Foundation, Sycamore Chamber of Commerce and Sycamore Human Relations Commission member, Member of the Sycamore Lions Club, Elks Club, and Kiwanis Club and NIU Foundation Board member.
Dedicated by his daughters, Beth and Sue
Tree #21: Autumn Fantasy Maple
David Dosier enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1987 and was commissioned as an officer in 1992. David served on active duty for the next 24 years, retiring in 2015. He was an Army aviator and had operational deployments in Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
David’s last assignment was as the Professor of Military Science at Northern Illinois University, which brought him and his wife, Dawn (Weaver), back to her hometown of Sycamore. Upon retirement, David and Dawn chose to stay in Sycamore, where he works for Northern Illinois University.
Dedicated by Curt Lang of Sycamore
Tree #22: Kentucky Coffee
Terrence Edward Ward (Terry), September 5, 1934 to December 24, 2016. Terry graduated from Marquette University where he attended on a full Athletic Scholarship for football. Subsequently, he served 5 years as a U.S. Naval Aviator.
Following the Navy, Terry spent many successful years as a Senior Corporate Executive. After climbing the corporate ladder, Terry founded his first company in Aerecibo Puerto Rico and later started Viking Electronics in 1986. Terry credited his success with his military training. Terry had the most wonderful stories about his Naval Career and remained close friends with many of his Navy buddies for his entire lifetime.
Dedicated by his children Terry Ward, Chris Ward, Darby Dwyer, Tammy Ward and David Ward
Tree #23: White Oak
Bob Wildenradt graduated from Sycamore High School in 1948 and spent the next four years in the U.S. Air Force.
Upon his discharge in 1952, he married his wife, Norma, and they moved to Champaign, IL, where Bob later earned an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Illinois. Bob and Norma then moved back to Sycamore, where they’ve been ever since.
Dedicated by his wife, Norma, of Sycamore
Tree #24: Triumph Elm
Stanley Larson graduated from Rochelle High School, where he was an accomplished athlete, scholar and leader. He joined the Army in July 1943 and was assigned to the 99th Infantry Division. He died during the opening hours of the Battle of Bulge on December 16, 1944, being later awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions. His remains were left behind as the enemy advanced.
In 2001, after missing for 57 years, two Belgian members of the MIA Project recovered PFC Larson’s remains and he was returned to his family. He was buried at the Lawnridge Cemetery in 2002. His mother wrote this poem when he said good-bye to her on 22 July 1944.
You said that morning as you stood there
All dressed and ready to go
“Mother, it’s going to be years
Before I return to you”.
Dedicated by his nephew, Michael Larson, of DeKalb
Merle L. Swedberg
Tree #25: White Oak
Merle L Swedberg served in the U.S. Air Force from 1948-1952. He was stationed in England at Sculthrope Air Force Station and later at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico. He is pictured here (on the right), with his hand on his hip. Merle was a lifelong Sycamore resident and after his military service, he returned to the Swedberg family farm. He then pursued a career as a stone mason bricklayer and worked at Swedberg and Associates, located in Sycamore, for many years. During his career he took pride in working on many projects in and around the Sycamore area.
Dedicated by Jim and Jessie Swedberg for their grandfather
Tree #26: White Oak
Eldon Lang was one of three brothers that served in World War II. They were 2-3 years apart in age, but all went to serve at the same time.
Eldon was in the Air Force and achieved the rank of sergeant. He mostly served in aircraft maintenance, but also had some flying experience.
He died in 1962 from heart disease at the age of 44. He did not talk about his service in the Air Force, however I know he had many close friends. He showed his family a picture of him and his fellow airmen with the saying “Lucky Seven”. I asked him about the meaning of “Lucky Seven”, and he only said “We came back and returned to our families.” I understood he did not want to talk about it, and it was very emotional to him, so that was the end of the discussion.
Dedicated by his son, Curt Lang of Sycamore
Tree #27: Autumn Fantasy Maple
Magnus was stationed in New York. His primary responsibility was to plan and prepare all the mess responsibilities for his unit to travel overseas for combat in Europe. Here is a photo of Magnus playing baseball while stationed in New York.
After World War I ended, Magnus returned to Chicago where he married Henrietta Caroline Rienholtzen and raised their 4 children. Magnus worked at the Continental Bank and Trust Co of Chicago from age 13 to age 65 where he rose from a page to vice-president.
Dedicated by Chelsea McGhee, Jessica Swedberg and Nelson Lang and others for their great grandfather
Tree #28: White Oak
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade (John) and Cadet (Leila)
Branch: Navy & Cadet Nurse Corps
Service: World War II
This 1945 photo shows my father, John A. Ronning, who served as a dentist, a Lieutenant JG in the US Navy and his wife, my mother, Leila S. Ronning who served as an RN in Cadet Nurse Corps. Together they served at Sampson Naval Base, in Geneva, New York, and Paris Island in Beaufort, South Carolina during WW 2. In 1952 John was recalled into military service during the Korean War and served at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Following military service, John returned to Hinsdale, Il where he practiced dentistry for 45 years. John and Leila had 3 children, 8 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. They lived into their 90’s a full and blessed life. Throughout life, they were a team- in every way. They lived a life of service- to their God, their country, their community, and their family.
Dedicated by their daughter, Karen (Ronning) Lang of Sycamore
Tree #29: Hackberry
Walter was born in Oconee, IL and was the eldest of 10 children. He left high school at 17 to take part in the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he planted trees from Decatur, IL to Rockford, IL along Route 51, among other tasks. After his family moved to Waterman, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on February 16, 1942.
He served in the Pacific, mainly in Guam and surrounding islands. His unit maintained and repaired aircraft. He was hospitalized in December 1944 for injuries sustained from an artillery shell blast. He was part of the servicemen who were fed flour made from the Cycad bush, later discovered to be a neurotoxin. He later developed Parkinson’s Disease. He was discharged in 1945 and lived in Waterman, DeKalb and Sycamore. He was a member of the Sycamore Lions Club, along with several veteran’s groups. He was the father of Juanita Carroll Mundy.
Dedicated by is daughter, Juanita Mundy
Tree #30: Autumn Fantasy Maple
Ken enlisted in US Navy in 1966. He was trained at Great Lakes, Illinois in the use of radar. He married Juanita Carroll, his sweetheart from Waterman, Illinois at Great Lakes. They were transferred to San Diego, California in 1967.
He was assigned to the USS Black as a radarman and was sent to serve in the Vietnam War. Their assignment was to coordinate shore bombing for the support of the ground troops. Ken was also involved in many exciting events while serving in the Navy, some of which were in Hawaii, the Philippines, Japan, Midway, and Hong Kong. He was discharged in 1970 and they returned to Sycamore, Illinois where he served as Mayor for 16 years.
Dedicated by his good friend, Dan Hamingson
Tree #31: Ohio Buckeye
Maurice was born in Canton, IL and moved to Dixon, IL as a child. After marriage, he moved his family DeKalb. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1942. He served on Guam, building runways for the Air Corps. He was a Carpenter’s Mate (CM2c) and part of LST744.
He was in Mios Woendi in the Padaido Islands and mustered to Morotai Island on September 23, 1944 in the Halmahere Group during the large battle there for the Pacific Islands. After discharge in 1945, he moved with his family to Sycamore. His son, Ken Mundy, later became mayor of Sycamore.
Dedicated by is daughter-in-law, Juanita Mundy
Tree #32: Burr Oak
Daniel Hamingson was assigned to US Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) in the Headquarters and Headquarters Command (HHC) of the XXIV Corps Field Artillery. There he served as an Operations and Intelligence Assistant. Daniel served in Vietnam from March 1970 to April 1971 and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during that tour.
Dedicated by his sons Zack and Eli Hamingson
Tree #33: Autumn Fantasy Maple
Branch: U.S. Army
Kenny Westberg, enlisted in the Army while he was still in high school in 1943. He served four years and was stationed in Germany. While in Germany he was a dispatcher with the European Transport Service. This organization furnished the transportation for the occupational forces in Europe. Kenny also received the Purple Heart.
After his discharge he came back to his hometown of Sycamore, and married Peggy Kallembach. They had three children. Kenny loved being active in the community and belonged to several organizations. He served as Commander of the Sycamore Veterans Organization, as well as belonging to the Sycamore Elks, Moose, and local Shriners.
Dedicated by his children, Kenda Westberg Jeske, Sherry Westberg Johnson, and Kenneth E Westberg II
Tree #34: Triumph Elm
Walter (Lefty) Guzy was born on May 5, 1916. He was a lifelong Chicagoan. Wally was drafted into the Army in November, 1943. After completing Basic Training he landed on Omaha Beach 8 days after D-Day with other replacement solders.
Assigned to Patton’s 3rd Army as part of the 90th Infantry Division, he fought as a 30 cal machine gunner. He marched through France, Germany, and Belgium, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and met up with the Russians at the Czechoslovakian border. He was awarded the Bronze Star and was promoted to Sergeant. He married Josephine in 1940, had 2 daughters, 3 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Two of the other memorable times in his life were attending the 3rd game of the White Sox 2005 World Series and being part of the Honor Flight in 2014. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 101.
Dedicated by Carol Buras, Diane and Bob Brown and Family
Tree #35: Ohio Buckeye
Rank: Specialist E-5
Branch: U.S. Army
Russ joined the U.S. Army before finishing a music degree in college. After completing Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, he played French horn in an Army band for the rest of his service (the last year of which he spent in the central highlands of Vietnam).
When returning home from Vietnam, Russ went back to Northern Illinois University to earn a Bachelor of Education degree with a major in history. Most of his teaching career was spent in the Shabbona/Indian Creek School District teaching social studies. Russ married his college sweetheart Carol three weeks before leaving for Vietnam. They now have two children and five grandchildren and currently live in Lee, Illinois.
Dedicated by his children and grandchildren
Robert L. Brown, Sr.
Tree #36: Triumph Elm
First Lieutenant Robert L. Brown, Sr. was recipient of both the Bronze Star Medal and the Silver Star Medal. He earned the Silver Star for gallantry in 1945 for leading multiple teams’ attacks on the German Siegfried Line (a massive 390 mile defensive concrete series of forts) where he led different teams, capturing 9 pillboxes, 2 machine guns, and 25 prisoners.
He also personally destroyed an enemy machine gun and its crew of 5 with hand grenades. He never bragged about his war record and didn’t feel right taking any glory when so many had lost so much. He had no interest in guns or hunting. After WWII, he returned home, married, had a large family of 8, built a 2 story home and succeeded as a sales manager for Specialty Plywood Company in Franklin Park. He died in 1966 of arteriosclerosis at age 46. We pray and thank God for him!
Dedicated by the extended Brown family
Tree #37: Autumn Fantasy Maple
James H. Boddy, born October 2, 1941, son of Henry and Alta (Westlake) Boddy of Sycamore. He was inducted into the US Army in April, 1965, serving two tours in Vietnam before being honorably discharged in April, 1967 at the rank of Specialist E-4.
He served in the National Guard for six years prior to his active duty enlistment. Awards include Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, Combat Infantryman Badge, M-14 Army Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge & Parachutist Badge. Upon discharge from the service, Jim successfully owned and operated Boddy Concrete for 30 years; his expertise and pride can be seen in the many concrete projects completed throughout the community and also in the Virgin Islands where he and his family lived for five years. Favorite things include spending time with this family, antiquing & collecting old things. For your bravery, hard work and dedication to our country, we thank you.
Dedicated by his family
Tree #38: Red Oak
Rank: Specialist E5
Branch: U.S. Army
Tom Carls was born and raised in Sycamore. Tom voluntarily joined the Army upon high school graduation. He was sent to Vietnam at 18 years of age and became a tech inspector, helicopter mechanic, and a door gunner on a CH37.
During one of their reconnaissance missions, his CH37 helicopter crashed into a rice paddy. Tom was credited with saving a fellow crew member who was drowning. They remained lifelong friends. During a second crash, the CH37 ended up on a beach surrounded by “hostile fire.” Tom received a letter of accommodation for “coolness while under enemy attack.” After his honorable discharge, Tom returned home to his beloved Sycamore. He and his wife, Debbie, owned and operated the Fargo Hotel and Carls Fargo Restaurant from 1972 until 2007. During those 35 years, Tom and Debbie loved and adored their thousands of customers who supported them. Awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the Marksman Badge (with the M-1 rifle).
Dedicated by the Carls Family of Sycamore
Tree #39: Red Oak
Terrance C. Bunge served in the United States Marine Corps from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean War. Being just 20 at the time, he left his family and girlfriend, Dolores, to serve his country. He was very proud to be a Marine and to serve the country that he loved. Although stationed on a battleship, Terrance says he never saw any real conflict. However, when ordered to “blow the top off that mountain”, Terrance would fire the ship’s mighty guns and “that mountain would disappear”. Upon his return from service, Terrance married Dolores and together they raised 4 amazing children: Debra, Trudy, Erin & Kevin. During their 49 years of marriage, Terrance and Dolores enjoyed many vacations in Florida alongside the ocean he loved. “Once a Marine, always a Marine” is a phrase he often repeats.
Donald & Thomas Sundly
Tree #40: Ohio Buckeye
Ranks: Donald – Sergeant; Thomas – Technical Sergeant
Branch: U.S. Air Force
Service: Korean War (1950-53) and Desert Storm (1976-1992)
Donald (father): After completing Basic Training at Lackland AFB, Don went to Kessler AFB, MS, for mechanics technical school, before being stationed at Thornbrough AFB, Cold Bay Alaska. He spent his time in the Air Force working on C-47 airplane engines and in the motor pool, as a mechanic and driver during the Korean War. Salmon fishing was just an added benefit. Don returned to Sycamore after his service, married the love of his life Barbara and had four children (Thomas, Catherine, Daniel, and Denise). He worked as a Tool & Dye Maker at Ideal Industries, for 34 years, in his beloved Sycamore.
Thomas (son): Like his father, Tom completed Basic Training at Lackland AFB, and received his tech training at Brooks AFB, TX. He then went to Kedena AFB, Okinawa Japan, as an Aerospace Physiology Training Specialist. He was then stationed at Beale AFB, CA, as a pressure suit technician, working with the record-breaking SR-71 and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Returning to Brooks AFB, Tom worked in Hyperbaric Medicine, treating patients daily in a dive chamber. Tom ended his Air Force career at Edwards AFB, working with High Altitude Special Projects and being a member of the Space Shuttle Recovery Crew. Tom met and married fellow Air Force veteran, Dawn, and raised three children (Christina, Alex, and Zackary). They settled in Harris, MN, where Tom continues as an instructor, training Union Trade workers on safety requirements.
Dedicated by The Sundly Family
Tree #41: Kentucky Coffee
Rod graduated from Sycamore High School as president of his class and in 1942 at 20 years old enlisted in the Army Air Force. He served in the Pacific Theater in China, Burma and India in aircraft support and repair, primarily for B-25 bombers engaged with Japan. He served for four years, achieving the rank of sergeant with two bronze battle stars and good conduct medal before being honorably discharged in January, 1946.
Rod had a younger brother, Jim Breunlin, who also served in the war with the Navy aboard a destroyer in the Pacific Theater. After military service Rod returned to Sycamore, attended the University of Illinois, married Harriett and raised a family of four children; Doug, Billy (deceased), Becky and Jim. He founded, owned and operated a heating, air conditioning and sheet metal business, Breunlin Sheet Metal, until his passing in 1979.
Dedicated by his son, Doug Breunlin and Diane Breunlin, of Sycamore
Tree #42: Autumn Fantasy Maple
Joe was an avid “Big Band” fan when he joined the Army. Although he aspired to be the next Gene Krupa, he wound up in training to be a radio and radar operator.
Joe spent most of his service time in the Asian Theater, primarily in India. Being a northerner, he always would remark about how hot the climate was in India. Joe spent his service time installing and operating tactical field radio transmitting and radar equipment. He became an expert in international Morse Code and utilized that expertise to send and receive messages on a daily basis. Like most of his brother World War II veterans, Joe didn’t really talk very much about his time in the service. However, he was a devoted patriot and if you spent any time with him, you knew that. One exception to sharing his story happened every year when he visited Mrs. Liebhaber’s class at North School where he would regale the students with his war stories.
Dedicated by his son, Jim Dombek, of Sycamore
Tree #43: Hackberry
Bob proudly served in the United States Air Force from November 1960 to November 1964. After technical training at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado, he was stationed at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine as a member of the 75th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.
After his discharge, Bob worked as a television technician for several years in Mars Hill, Maine and then in Rockford, Illinois at WCEE-TV. Bob and his family moved to Sycamore in 1971. Continuing with his interest in electronics, Bob went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Illinois University. He and his wife owned and operated R. W. Brown Electronics, Inc. in Sycamore for 27 years. Bob called Sycamore his home until his passing in 2019.
Dedicated by his wife, Joanne Brown
Tree #44: Tree TBD
This tree is dedicated to all Sycamore veterans of World War II. A number of Sycamore residents fought in the Second World War and 32 who perished are listed on our website here.
Dedicated by corporate sponsor Sycamore DeKalb Chevy
Tree #45: Tree TBD
This tree is dedicated to all Sycamore veterans of World War I. A number of Sycamore residents fought in the First World War and 11 who perished are listed on our website here.
Dedicated by corporate sponsor First Midwest Bank.
Tree #46: Tree TBD
This tree is dedicated to all veterans of the American Revolutionary War. While Sycamore and the surrounding settlements wouldn’t be established for another 50 years or more, early settlers likely had family ties to our country’s first military members and certainly were beneficiaries of their sacrifices, as are we all today.
Tree #47: Tree TBD
This tree is dedicated to all Sycamore veterans of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Sycamore has five known fallen from this war, who are listed on the “Our Fallen Soldiers” page.
Dedicated by corporate sponsor First State Bank
Tree #48: Tree TBD
This tree is dedicated to all Sycamore veterans of the Gulf War (1990-1991).
Dedicated by corporate sponsor Comcast
Tree #49: Tree TBD
This tree is dedicated to all Sycamore veterans of the Korean War (1950-1953). Sycamore has one known fallen warrior in this war, Warren G. Harding.
Dedicated by corporate sponsor, Segall, Bryant & Hamill
Tree #50: Tree TBD
This tree is dedicated to all veterans of the Civil War. A number of Sycamore residents fought in the Civil War and 46 who perished are listed on our website here.