WAKARUSA — Edward Henry Monhaut, 94, passed away at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, July 28, 2019, at Miller’s Merry Manor in Wakarusa.
Edward was the third child, and second son, of Harry A. and Margaret (Dundon) Monhaut.
He was born Feb. 1, 1925, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mishawaka.
He went home from the hospital in a Ford Model T. Harry and Margaret bought a dairy farm just north of Bremen in early 1928.
Ed reported that he could remember the drive to their new home as a 3-year-old. The farm remains in the family to this day.
Edward cherished his many wonderful memories of growing up on the farm with his nine siblings (four boys and five girls). Sundays often included visits from his Uncle Raymond Monhaut (who served as general manager of the Mishawaka Farmers Dairy for 30 years) and his wife Frances (who was also Ed’s mother’s sister) and Aunts Anna and Cecelia Monhaut.
It was a special treat when Edward’s maternal uncle, Walter Dundon, and his wife, Marie, visited from Frankfort, Michigan. “Uncle Walter” served as a sergeant in the 339th infantry division (nicknamed the “Polar Bears”) during the latter part of World War I. The 339th, officially called the “American North Russian Expeditionary Force,” arrived in the far northern reaches of Russia in September of 1918. Their mission was to prevent the Bolsheviks to the south, and the Germans, from reaching Murmansk, where the World War I Allies still maintained a munitions store. Uncle Walter was a key organizer of the “Polar Bear Expedition” to Archangel, in Soviet Russia, in late 1929. He and a small team of volunteers successfully located and retrieved the bodies of 84 fallen American soldiers who had served with them in the 339th. Their bodies returned to America with a well-deserved heroes’ welcome. It was a very arduous, and at times harrowing, mission. Ed was very proud of this bit of family history.
Edward was also a proud 1943 graduate of Madison Township High School. He often spoke of his classmate, Robert Mochel, class president, who, along with his brother, Evans (Class of ‘42, and also class president), were killed in the European Theater of Operations during the final six months of World War II. Ed never forgot them and always wondered what they would have gone on to accomplish in their lives, as both Mochels were also valedictorians of their classes.
Edward reported to the Army on July 25, 1944. He served in the 70th Division “Trailblazers.” The Trailblazers were assigned to the 7th Army when his troop ship arrived in Marseille, France in early January 1945. He shared vivid memories of traveling to northern France on a troop train that followed the Rhone River. He took note of the beauty of the Rhone Valley even on his journey to join the fighting and recalled it throughout his life. Upon reaching northern France, the 7th Army joined forces with General Patton’s 3rd Army.
The 70th Division saw sustained action in and around Saarbrucken until the Germans retreated on March 20, 1945. Ed remained in southwest Germany for one year after VE Day as part of the U.S. occupying force.
Upon returning home, like many local vets, Edward worked at Studebaker.
He married Donnabelle Hepler of Nappanee, the love of his life,Oct. 10, 1959, in Nappanee. They bought their farm south of Nappanee in 1963. Both worked at CTS in Elkhart for many years. Ed retired in 1989 after 28 years of service. They enjoyed a very happy marriage until she passed away after a short illness on Sept. 5, 2016. They especially enjoyed a trip to Hawaii to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
Edward is survived by his dear siblings Helen Smogor of Mishawaka, Cecelia (Bill) Dolan of South Bend, Joan Richard of South Bend and Patrick (Joyce) Monhaut of Bremen and sister-in-law Norma Monhaut of Bremen; brothers-in-law Eldon Hepler of Jacksonville, Florida and Russell (Ardala) Hepler of LaGrange and sisters-in-law Ruth (Merlin) Yoder of Nappanee, Marge Hepler of South Bend and Marlene Hepler of Arizona and many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews.
Edward was preceded in death by his parents and cherished siblings Margaret (and Louis) Williams, Joseph (and Martha) Monhaut, Ruth Monhaut, Ralph (and Irene) Monhaut, Richard Monhaut and infant brothers David and John; brothers-in-law Clem Smogor and Roger Richard, nephew Michael Eugene Monhaut and nieces Ellen Marie Monhaut, Teresa Marie Williams and Marcia Williams Hill; brothers-in-law James (Dorothy) Hepler, Willard Hepler, Allen Hepler and Richard Hepler and sisters-in-law Florence (Richard) Fleck and Jane Hepler.
Edward was raised on Notre Dame football and followed the team his entire life. He also enjoyed watching Notre Dame Women’s basketball.
He continued to mow his own lawn until just beyond age 90. Ed took a great deal of pride in his lawn.
Friends may call at Thompson Lengacher & Yoder Funeral Home in Nappanee between 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 and one hour prior to the memorial service.
The memorial service at the funeral home will commence at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, with brother-in-law Pastor Russell Hepler officiating.
Edward will be laid to rest next to his beloved wife Donnabelle at Hepton Union Cemetery in Nappanee immediately following the service.
A military graveside service will be provided by the Nappanee American Legion Post 154.
Thompson Lengacher & Yoder Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Memorials in Edward’s memory may be made to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the American Lung Association.