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Eugene Sarkan

September 4, 1924 — May 21, 2016

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Eugene Sarkan, 91, of Tiffin, died at 11:26 a.m. Saturday, May 21, 2016, at Volunteers of America Autumnwood Care Center.  He was born September 4, 1924, in Lakewood, Ohio to John and Anna (Milko) Sarkan, who are now deceased.  He attended Columbian High School and married Viola B. Kiesel on June 1, 1946, at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Tiffin.  She preceded him in death December 21, 1993.

Survivors include, a daughter, Karen and John Meyer; a grandson, Douglas J. Meyer all of Clyde; a granddaughter, Lauren E. Meyer of Charleston, West Virgina; a brother Jay (Carol) (Sarkan) Porinchak of Lakeland, Florida; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents; wife; two brothers, Otto and John Sarkan; a sister, Doris Cifranic; and step-mother, Jane Riley.

Eugene was inducted into the service March 23, 1943, (soon after he turned 18)  After 13 weeks of basic training, he went directly into combat.   He landed at Casablanca in Africa and went by cattle cars on narrow gauge railroads to Bizerte and then by ship to Italy. (These cattle cars were called 40 and Eights as they would hold 40 men or 8 horses.)

His unit, the “Oklahoma” 45th Thunderbird Division, fought from Salerno, Italy up through and past Naples up to “Casino” and then made an amphibious landing at “Anzio” to flank the Germans, but it didn’t work and they were stuck there for four months.  They had over 440 killed and 2,400 wounded according to figures from the higher up.  They then went on up through Italy and liberated Rome.

His unit then made another amphibious landing at St. Maxime, France and went on foot through Lyon, Dijon, Epinal and Nancy, France and on into Germany.  His unit, the 45th Division was one of those that freed the prisoners at “Dachau” prison camp where they were still incinerating bodies and they were laying all around waiting to be disposed of.  You had to see it to believe it.

He was a decorated Veteran of World War II serving as a Staff Sergeant in “K” Company, 180th Infantry, 45th Thunderbird Division in Africa, Naples, Foggia, Rome, Arno, Anzio and invasions battles in Italy and invasion in Southern France, Rhineland, “Dachau” Germany and Central Europe.

Eugene was the recipient of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the “Bronze Star Medal” the “Silver Star Medal” five Bronze Battle Stars, distinguished Unit Badge, Presidential Unit Citation for “K” Company 180th European African Middle Eastern Service Ribbon with bronze arrowheads, and the good Conduct Medal.

He was a member of Tiffin Lodge#77, Seneca Chapter 42 RAM, Tiffin Chapter 189 Eastern Star, Scottish Rite-Valley of Toledo 32nd Degree, Eagles Lodge 402, American Legion Post 169, Am Vets Post 0048 and a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 15036.  He also held a single engine private pilot’s license since 1949 and was part owner of a small plane.

Eugene retired in 1987, after 48 years working at National Machinery Company as a Test and Service Technician and Instructor.  He was a member of St. John’s United Church of Christ and was also an avid golfer at Clinton Heights.

There will be visitation from 10-11a.m. Wednesday, May 25, 2016, with the funeral service following at 11 a.m. officiated by Rev. Eric Rummell all at Traunero Funeral Home and Crematory, 214 S. Monroe Street, Tiffin, Ohio 44883 (419) 447-3113.  Burial will take place immediately following in Greenlawn Cemetery with military rites at the gravesite by the United Veteran’s of Seneca County.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s United Church of Christ in care of the funeral home.

Charitable donations may be made to:

St. John's United Church of Christ
10 Main St., Tiffin OH 44883
Tel: 1-419-447-4372

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Eugene Sarkan, please visit our flower store.

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