|Birth: ||Jun. 2, 1925|
St. Charles County
|Death: ||Jun. 29, 2001|
Norb Heidenfelder was born on June 2, 1925 in St. Peters, MO. His parents were Paul and Catherine (Meurer) Heidenfelder. He was one of 12 children who survived to adulthood: Finton, Johanna, Paul, Christine, Marie, Margaret (Dolly), Joseph (Bud), Katheryn, Virginia, Bernard, and Robert.
He grew up in St. Louis, MO, and joined the Marine Corps in 1942 when he was 17. During WWII, he served in the South Pacific and fought in the battles of New Britian, Peleliu (perhaps the bloodiest of all island struggles with the Japanese) and Okinawa. He served in the Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. In Peleliu, the Japanese eventually inflicted 60% casualties on the 1st Marines, who lost 1749 out of approximately 3000 men.
As he wrote his parents, "I can't tell you much about it now--censorship regulations, but I can tell you how close I came to being a casualty in one instance not counting numerous other instances. A shell hit just a few feet from me killing and injuring others near me and all I got out of it was a hole through a can of C-rations which I had in my pack and several holes in a shelter--half of which I had tied on top of my pack." He mentions in the same letter that he hasn't heard from his brother Bernie lately, (also serving in the military) and suspected that he was in action.
Shortly afterward, Norb found out that his brother Bernie had been killed in action in the Philippines. He learned of this when a letter he sent to his brother was returned to him marked "Cannot deliver, deceased."
After the war, he was sent to China to help with the Japanese being returned to Japan. He received an honorable discharge in 1946 with the rank of corporal.
Like many veterans, Norb did not speak of his combat experiences very often, but at Camp Pendleton, Norb spoke to a sizable number of young Marines. He spoke of the carnage and terror and the sounds and smells of battle. He took the audience back with him to the horror that he and a other brave Marines endured, and to the courage it took to stay and keep fighting and move forward when your mind and every one of your senses cries out to get as far away as possible from the killing field as quickly as possible.
He then attended Washington University and studied commercial art. He started his career as a graphic artist and owned printing companies, first in St. Louis and later in California. He and his wife, Gloria Heidenfelder, lived in Irvine for 21 years.
Norb was very proud of having been a Marine and belonged to the 1st Marine Division Association, Southern California Chapter, and participated in many events at Camp Pendelton.
He loved golf and played often. He and Gloria enjoyed many trips in their RV.
He was survived by his wife Gloria of Irvine, Katie Heidenfelder of St. Louis, Teri Galate of Oak Grove, MO., Kathy Rogers of TX and Julia Fabela of CA., and eight grandchildren.
Paul Henry Heidenfelder (1885 - 1965)
Catherine Elizabeth Meurer Heidenfelder (1882 - 1968)
Alice M. Mueth Bosch (1931 - 1996)*
Pacific View Memorial Park
Corona del Mar
Plot: Ocean View section, grave712C
Created by: Katie
Record added: May 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27111168