Piron is May Vet of the Month

RAPID RIVER – World War II veteran, Reginald James Piron, will be honored during a Veteran of the Month ceremony Tuesday at the Walter W. Cole American Legion Post 301 of Rapid River.

Patterned after a national program established by the American Legion, a new Veteran of the Month is honored each month in a formal service at the Legion. The program will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The son of Joseph and Elsie Piron, the veteran was born July 24, 1920, in Green Bay, Wis. He graduated from Escanaba High School in 1938 and worked at Benefield Furniture Company in Escanaba.

Piron entered military service on his 21st birthday, July 24, 1941, in Chicago, Ill., and received his naval training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Ill. After joining the military, Piron was shipped out to Hawaii three days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

During his six years in the Navy, Piron served as an aviation machinist with Patrol Squadron 71; Headquarters Squadron FAW-2; Utility Squadron 7 (Detachment Baker); and Utility Squadron 2 (Detachment ABLE) in the Pacific Theater.

He was honorably discharged from the Navy on July 20, 1947, in San Diego, Calif.

For his military service, Piron was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Medal, American Area Medal, American Defense Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal.

Piron later worked as a machine operator for Mead Paper Company for 35 years before his retirement in 1983. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and AMVETS.

The veteran married the former Ina Bowman of Bark River on Nov. 3, 1947, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Escanaba. Together, the couple raised three children: Regina Piron, Gay (Dan) Kleikamp, and Jim Piron. They also had three grandchildren, Tricia (Scott) Pendergraft, Kelly (Scott) Arnold, and Dan Kleikamp, as well as seven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Piron died at the V.A. Hospital in Iron Mountain on Oct. 23, 1985, and is buried in the Gardens of Rest in Wells. In addition to his wife and family, he was survived by his sister, Jane Kitts, twin sister, Virginia Sucharda, and brother, John Piron.