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Massillon Museum Recognizes the Centennial of the WWI Armistice

Massillon Museum Recognizes the Centennial of the WWI Armistice

At the centennial of Armistice Day (November 11, 1918) signifying the close of World War I, the Massillon Museum remembers four Stark County soldiers who were killed during World War II and buried in France.

In 2014, Museum representatives—Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Museum Executive Director, and her husband, Joshua Coon; Trisha Merchant; and Dr. Charles and Judith Paquelet—traveled to France to participate in the Bishop Massillon symposium, marking the 350th anniversary of the birth of Jean Baptiste Massillon for whom Massillon was named.

MassMu delegation at Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in Draguignan, France, 2013.
Joshua Coon, Judy and Charles Paquelet, Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Trisha Merchant

While in France, they visited the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in Draguignan to honor the four Stark County soldiers buried there. They placed a wreath at Massillonian Lewis Billman’s grave and small American and French flags at each of the other Stark County gravesites. The flags were brought home to present to the families of the soldiers if they can be located.

The soldiers were: Staff Sgt. George F. Judy (Purple Heart and Silver Star), who prior to the war worked at the Timken Roller Bearing Co; Private 1st Class Delmar W. Blyer, a Canton resident; Tech. Grade 5 Lewis R. Billman, a former Massillon resident who received a Purple Heart; and Pvt. William W. Williamson (Purple Heart) of Stark County.

In August of 2018, after acquiring a box of military medals from an auction and finding an article about the Museum visit to France, donor Dr. Joseph M. Crews of Texas presented the Lewis Billman bronze star to the Massillon Museum’s permanent collection.

“We are so humbled that Dr. Joseph Crews would choose our Museum to preserve this medal, said Massillon Museum Archivist Mandy Altimus Stahl. "We are dedicated to preserving and sharing stories of veterans from this area, and we are proud to commemorate Lewis Billman’s sacrifice.”
 
The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark.

The Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East (Ohio Route 172) in downtown Massillon.  A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free and free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots.  For more information, call the Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit massillonmuseum.org.

 

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