Eugene Coyle, Hartford, SD, died October 8, 2020, at Good Samaritan Home, Lennox, SD.
Eugene Francis Coyle was born September 18, 1926 in Dallas, SD, to John and Rose (Muller) Coyle.
In 1934, during the Great Depression, the family moved to Akron, Iowa to farm. Gene worked hard on the farm and provided his family with wild game, as he loved hunting and was an expert with rifle and shotgun.
After the family bought a farm near Hartford, SD in 1944, Gene also drove car transport trucks to Detroit from Sioux Falls for Duke Tufty Dodge.
Gene also worked for the Manchester Biscuit Company in Sioux Falls until he received his draft notice for the Korean War in 1950.
After his US Army induction, Gene was trained in mountain fighting tactics and infantry weapons at Fort Carson, Colorado. After training he was shipped to Korea on a troop ship. The ship barely survived a raging storm in transit. He was assigned to the 21st Infantry Regiment of the US 24th Infantry Division, as an M1 rifleman, Browning Automatic Rifleman, and light .30 Machine gunner. He engaged in some of the most brutal combat of the war, facing waves of Chinese and North Koreans.
He received the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense service Medal, Republic of Korea Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Expert Rifleman badge. Efforts to find his records of Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts proved futile as his records were lost in a 1973 fire in the St. Louis Records Depository. In 2017, an aid station record was found. With the help of KELO TV’s Angela Kennecke’s series of news stories entitled, Forgotten Soldier of the Forgotten War, Senator Thune was able to secure a Purple Heart for him. He was presented with a Purple heart by Senator John Thune in 2017. Senator Thune recently honored him, speaking on the US Senate floor, of his bravery in combat, thus getting Gene’s valor entered into the Congressional Record of the United States.
After the War, he returned to Manchester Biscuit Company to work. He wanted to farm, so in 1954 he settled on a farm just north of the “home place.” He farmed with his brother, John Coyle.
On April 24, 1954 he married Annella Jankord in Kranzburg, SD. They were lifelong members of St. George Catholic Church in Hartford. In 2000, they moved from their farm and retired to Sioux Falls. Annella suffered from poor health and he took great care of her at home. Annella passed away in 2015.
He is survived by three sons and two daughters. Michael (Cheryl) Coyle, Mary (John) Burke, Kenneth (Becc) Coyle, Kevin Coyle, Teresa (Alan) Sterrett. Gene was blessed with nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, four brothers and two sisters.
Gene loved pheasant and duck hunting and fishing with his buddies. He was a great wing shot. His speed and prowess with a rifle were unmatched. Gene enjoyed playing pool with his grandkids in the basement, setting up his practiced bank shots.
Gene sang in the Hartford St. George Church choir and helped with High School CCD classes for many years. He was a member of The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Funeral mass will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at St. George Catholic Church, Hartford, South Dakota, with Reverend Paul King, Celebrant. Interment will be at the St. George Cemetery, Hartford, South Dakota, with Military Honors by the US Army and Hartford American Legion.
The family will be present to greet friends from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening at the Miller Hartford Chapel, 600 S. Western Avenue, Hartford, SD, directly across from St. George Catholic Church.
Yankton Press & Dakotan
October 10, 2020