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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