The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


June 30, 2012


GREENVILLE — Herman E. Molen was born Aug. 14, 1923, to Claud and Myrtie Daniels Molen in the farm community of Merit. He completed his mission on June 28, 2012, in his beloved underground home in Mabank.

He was a Baptist by faith and attended several churches. However, he kept his membership at First Baptist Church in Merit. He was considered the oldest member of the church.

Herman wrote a memoir of his experiences while a World War II POW, with a collection of pictures that is treasured by many.

He was well known and requested often to speak at schools, churches, VFWs and organizations that were interested in the history of World War II and their missions. He gave interviews to many television and newspaper people.

He graduated from Merit High School. He then went to college in Decatur to study to be a Baptist preacher. World War II started while he was in college and he felt called to serve his country — and this he did unselfishly for the rest of his life. He served in the European Conflict and on his last, 25th mission before coming back to the states, he was shot down on Oct. 14, 1943, in the famous Schweinfurt, Germany, Raid. The U.S. lost 60 B-17 bombers and 10 Americans on each plane. He was taken prisoner and was incarcerated for 19 months. He escaped twice and lived to tell about it. The movie Stalag XVII, with William Holden playing Herman’s part, was about his escape. After receiving many injuries and being awarded many medals, he came back to the USA, living in Las Vegas and continued his mission to help his fellow veterans and ex-POWs.

He was national commander for the ex-POWS and went to Washington, D.C., to meet with several presidents and members of Congress to help get better benefits and recognition for their bravery in the different wars they served.

He was a member of several organizations — SSMA, 305th Bomb Group, Texas Barb Wire Chapter, American Ex-Prisoners of War, VFWs in several locations, Stalag XVII B, Mighty 8th Air Force and East Texas Ex-POWs.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Clara Kinamon of Blue Ridge and Pearl Kearney of Canton; and granddaughter, Amy Consalvo of California.

He is survived by a brother, Ford Molen of Greenville; sisters, Billie Mayo and Mary McCullough of Arlington; daughters, Sharon (Joe) Warren of Eureka, Calif., Jeannie Munoz of Fontana, Calif., Jo Ann Molen of Mabank, and Marsha (Mark) Pennartz of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; seven grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

The family is forever greatful to Jo Ann Molen, Viva Smith, Ralph Shannon, Becky Pierce and ET Hospice for their loving care during his illness.

Celebration of his life will be held Monday at Eubank Funeral Home in Canton. Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m. The service will be at 2 p.m.. Military burial will be in Greenville, Forest Park Cemetery, at 4:30 p.m. Dr. Mark Robinson, Doug Glascoe and Sarah Lee Rose will officiate.

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