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Rotary Club of Longview Washington / History  / A Hero In Our Club

A Hero In Our Club

As we know, John Tolleshaug has departed this earth. We had him as a member of our Club for some 57 years. A few years ago, our Club held a Veteran Honoring ceremony and John participated by bringing his uniforms and other significant memorabilia and by sharing his WWII story in a self-effacing manner. John Tolleshaug was truly a hero. Here are some memories and affirmations of his hero status and the love we feel for John.
Peter Isaacson provided a clip from the Albany Democrat Herald which listed OSU graduates who took part in the Normandy invasion. John was listed as “engaged” at Utah Beach.
Keith Larson found John’s name on the Hall of Valor Project website: Silver Star 4th Infantry Division General Orders 1944. The Silver Star was awarded for Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving in the 4th Infantry Division during World War II.
Van Youngquist shared some precious memories of John – they sat next to each other at Rotary for many years and they went back to 1965 when John ran the family dairy business and Van raised cows. “… we became close friends sitting with each other in Rotary for 25 plus years. It was a good relationship that lasted for 54 years.”
John’s son-in-law penned a fond obituary: John was born and raised in Rainier, Oregon, graduated from Rainier High School and later graduated from Oregon State College in 1942. There he participated in the ROTC program and soon after WWII began, entered the army as a second lieutenant. He was part of that greatest generation, present on the beaches of Normandy (Utah) during the great D-day invasion. He functioned as a forward scout for the Fourth Infantry Division, completing his tour of duty as a first lieutenant. He met and eventually married Nell, a cadet nurse at Barnes General Hospital in Vancouver Washington, while convalescing from his war wounds.
They married and settled in Rainier where he worked in the Rainier Creamery, the family business. John remained loyal to the family business his entire working career which eventually moved from Rainier to Longview and became known as Standard Dairy. John was involved and committed to the Kelso Presbyterian church, Rotary, and the VFW. John and Nell were married for 70 years before she passed away in 2016. He was a faithful, kind, giving and caring man; highly respected right up to the day of his passing. The day did not exist where he was willing to pass up a good hand of pinochle. He will be greatly missed by all his friends and family. He said he lived a good life, with a great family.
He had no regrets.