Veteran's Memorial - Hopedale Village Cemetery

      The veterans' memorial at Hopedale Village Cemetery was dedicated on November 9, 1994.
    According to a lengthy Milford Daily News story at the time, at a meeting called to disband the
    Hopedale V.F.W. post, Carl Stanas suggested establishing a veterans' memorial. The V.F.W. voted to
    donate $5,000 to start the fund. The Hopedale Foundation also gave $5,000 and the American
    Legion, $3,000. Major contributions also came from Bill and Nancy Gannett and the BonTempo
    family. There were several dozen other donors listed. Following are excerpts from the Milford News
    article, about the days when the families of servicemen killed in action were notified by telegram,
    often delivered by taxi.

      The first interview was with Gertrude (DeRoche) Santucci of Milford. Her brother, Francis D.
    DeRoche gave his young life for his country in World War II.    

      Francis, a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, was the son of the late Augustine "Gus" and Leonie
    DeRoche. One of his parents went to Boston to see him off when he left for military service. That was
    the last time the young man's family saw him.    

      The DeRoche family lived at 7 Maple Street in Hopedale at the time. PFC DeRoche was killed in
    combat in Epinol, France on Jan. 24, 1945.    

      How did his family learn of his death? A Begian Taxi Cab pulled up in front of the DeRoche home.
    The driver handed a telegram to the person answering the door. Mrs. DeRoche, seated in a chair at
    the time, read the announcement of her son's death.    

      Mrs. Santucci recalls that her mother's life stopped for two days at that moment. Mrs. DeRoche
    never left that chair nor changed her position for two days. Mr. DeRoche suffered a stroke soon
    afterwards, which ultimately took his life.   

      Sometime after the receipt of the telegram, the family received a cardboard box containing Francis'
    personal belongings. They learned later that Francis is buried in Epinol, France in the town's
    cemetery.

      Francis' only surviving brother, Joseph DeRoche and his wife will be present for the dedication on
    Nov. 11 as will Francis' three sisters, Agatha Connor and Gertrude Santucci, both of Milford and
    Margaret Canali of Framingham.

      The family of Harry W. Kimball also plans to be in attendance for the occasion.   

      Harry Kimball was the son of the late Esther (Knights) Kimball and Clifton Kimball, and he attended
    Hopedale schools. He was married to the former Marjorie O'Neil, who was a Hopedale resident. The
    couple were the parents of an infant son, Paul, when Kimball was drafted on July 18, 1944.    

      Harry was killed in combat seven months later, on Feb. 26, 1945 in the European Theater of
    Operations His wife learned of his death via a telegram that declared him dead. This communication
    came a day after Mrs. Kimball had received a telegram saying Harry was listed as "missing in
    action."    

      The day that the first telegram arrived, Mrs. Kimball had taken the couple's son, Paul, who had
    attained his first birthday, to have a picture taken. It was to have been sent to his dad.    

      Kimball is buried in Margarten, Holland. His two brothers, who were both veterans of the European
    battlefront, visited Harry's grave in Holland before they returned home following WWII.    

      Kimball's son, Paul, is now a resident of Palmdale, California. Visitors to the South Hopedale
    Cemetery will find that there is a bronze plaque at the Kimball family plot which bears Harry's name,
    rank and unit. The family has placed this plaque on the plot, although Harry is not buried there.
    Milford Daily News, November 9, 1994.

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