D-Day and the insurance man

The 71st anniversary of World War II’s D-Day invasion was remembered Saturday at a cemetery in France overlooking Omaha Beach.  Thousands of young American boys died there. Thousands more were badly wounded as our troops took the beaches and proceeded north to Germany.


Lawyer Elaine Mittleman, who is a regular reader and sometimes guest writer for this blog, suggested that we ought to remember those heroic kids and those other heroic youngsters who fought their way through Europe and survived to take their places in American civic life. She was correct to do so, and I appreciate her prompting.

Elaine enclosed an obituary from the father of a friend of her’s. It is worth quoting from that obituary:

Charles Gardner Beatty, 89, passed away at 12:40 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007, at his residence. Mr. Beatty retired in 1981 as president of Hobbs Miller Insurance. His insurance career began in 1954 and he remained as chairman of the board of Hobbs Miller Insurance and Beatty Insurance Inc. after his retirement.

Charles Gardner Beatty

Charles Gardner Beatty

He was a 1936 graduate of Shields High School. He was a World War II veteran serving as a tank commander with the 746th Tank Battalion. He landed on Utah beach on D-Day with the Allied Forces at Normandy. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge and other combat until he was injured so seriously he had to be shipped back to the US for treatment. While in combat he received the following citations, European-African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with four bronze service stars, one Bronze Arrowhead for the D-Day Invasion, a Bronze Star medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, a Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters, a World War II Victory Medal, an American Theater Ribbon, and the Croiz de Guerre with a Silver Star from the French Government. While at Schick Orthopedic Hospital in Clinton, Iowa [for two years], he met his future wife, Herta Gutzeit. He was separated from the service on Oct. 17, 1947, as a captain.

Mr. Beatty was a member of First United Methodist Church of Seymour and an associate member of United Community Church, Sun City Center, Fla. He was a life member of the Seymour Elks Club, Seymour Eagles Club, American Legion, Jackson Lodge 146 F&AM, Yorkrite bodies, Murat Shrine, Scottish Rite Valley of Indianapolis and a recipient of the Honorary Thirty Third degree of the Scottish Rite.

Prior to his retirement Mr. Beatty was active in many community and civic organizations including, Seymour Lions Club (Past President and Keystone Award Member), Seymour Chamber of Commerce (Past board member and Treasurer and recipient of Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award), Boys Club of Seymour (Past President, Honorary Director, Past Chairman of Hoosier Area Council, Bronze Keystone Award winner and recipient of Man and Boy Medallion), Jackson County United Fund (Past President and Drive Chairman), Independent Agents of Indiana (Past member of Board of Directors and recipient of Larry McClain Community Service Award). He was former recipient of Seymour Jaycees “Boss of the Year” award. He served as a board member and secretary of all the Seymour Community School Building Corporations from the Seymour High School through the Seymour Middle School building projects.

Born July 23, 1918, he was the son of Guy and Mary Gardner Beatty, both of whom preceded him in death. On June 8, 1946, he married his army nurse, Hertz Gutzeit. They were married 61 years and she survives.

Charles Gardner Beatty was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things during World War II. He returned to civilian life, after having been grievously wounded. He built a meaningful life. We should remember Charles as an exemplar of all the young men and women who did so much to make this world a better place.*


* In like manner, we should also remember Judge Heaney and the Silver Star. We need to remember him for the extraordinary courage he displayed as an Army Ranger during two days in June, 1944 and for so much more.

5 responses

  1. From something I was reading about Omaha Beach:

    “My friend got a tour as well. His kids were too young to know anything about it other than it was a beach. The tour guide brought the whole group to the water’s edge, and then spoke to the children of the group and said, “Who’s the fastest? Who can reach the cliffs first?” And off they ran. There stood the parents, standing in silence, watching their children run up the beach at Normandy, having D-Day become very real to them, very quickly.”

  2. Thanks to Judge Kopf for posting this. I spent yesterday thinking about my Dad, Ed Elsner, and the other members of the Greatest Generation. Charles Beatty was a friend of my Dad and his son, Bob, was in my class at Seymour (IN) High School. The smile on Charles Beatty’s face shows what a friendly person he was. Those who fought in WWII came back and lived a full life, often as community leaders in towns all over this country. They did not bring attention to themselves or ask for any glory because of their service and sacrifice. They remain the Greatest Generation.

  3. Judge:
    It is a question that has been asked many times by those far more intelligent than I, yet I ask it again: “Where do we get such men?”

  4. Thank you for posting this. My father was there and lived to tell us his stories.

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