Veteran of the Week: Columbiana’s Edmondson brothers served in WWII
Published 9:57 am Thursday, December 17, 2015
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist
Two Columbiana native sons and World War II veterans, Jefferson Eugene (Gene) and Jefferson Wiley Edmondson Jr. received memorial bricks at the Hume Scout Park next to the Columbiana City Hall on Memorial Day 2015.
Gene was born on May 9, 1919, and J.W. was born on Aug. 17, 1925.
The brothers were the sons of P’lona and Jeff Edmondson, attended Columbiana Grammar School and graduated from Shelby County High School.
They had two sisters, Maurene (J.C.) Reinhardt and Ruby Faye (Woodrow) Shirley.
The Edmondsons owned the Edmondson café located across the street from the Shelby County Courthouse.
Gene joined the U.S. Army in 1942 and went to basic training in Louisiana where he joined the 23rd Engineers, 3rd Armored Division, followed by assignment with 33rd Engineers, 7th Armored Division, both at Camp Polk.
He was promoted from Private First Class to Staff Sergeant and transferred to the 56th Engineers, 11th Armored Division as was known as Old Sarge, “top Kick.”
He entered Officers Training School and graduated on May 15, 1943, as second lieutenant. He went to Camp Ellis, Ill., in July 1943. On July 26, 1944, he was promoted to first lieutenant and later captain and served in France with the Corps of Engineers. He was honorably discharged in 1945.
J.W. was inducted into the Army on Nov. 13, 1943, and went to basic training in Texas.
He was transferred to Camp Ellis, Ill., where his brother was also stationed.
He left the states on July 6, 1944, for overseas duty in England, France and driving an ambulance with the 115th General Hospital in Germany. He was also honorable discharged in 1945.
The brothers returned home to Columbiana. Gene married Adell Isbell, daughter James Laney and Samantha Adams Isbell of Columbiana.
They had three children, Rev. Mac Stinson (Glenda), Mary Gene Denney (Robert), and Dell Moody (Freddie).
Gene died in 2001 and Adelle died in 2014. They are survived by their children, four grandsons, two granddaughters, nine great-grandsons and four great-granddaughters, and one great-great grandson.
J.W. has been married to wife Margaret Wilson Edmondson for 64 years and they have two daughters, Judy (James) Branch and Jane (Wray) Stainback, and one granddaughter Christy Edmondson.
Mildred White Wallace, editor of the Shelby County Democrat – precursor of the Shelby County Reporter – wrote in 1945 about the two brothers serving in WWII.
“J.W. is somewhere in England worthily representing his native Country that proudly salutes him today…Greetings and good wishes from The Democrat are on their way to Gene today to an hospital in England where he is convalescing from wounds received in a recent battle for ‘Freedom.’”
Today, the Shelby County Reporter salutes Columbiana native sons and WWII veterans, J.W. and the late Gene Edmondson.