CPT Johanna Marie Louwerens Veenendall

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Marie is the perfect example of a patriot who answered the recruiters call. She served on active duty and in the reserves. Also, she contributed as a teacher in the Department of Army overseas schools during occupation. Her roots extended from the Netherlands and South Africa to Grand Rapids, MI, which her parents chose as home. South High School, Grand Rapids Junior College and Western Michigan University provided her education and profession as a teacher.

She taught in the Lakeview School System and at Henry School before volunteering for military service in 1943. She was assigned to Personnel Section at 3rd US Army Air Force HQ. She left that station to attend Officers Candidate School.

Upon discharge, Marie used her GI Bill to earn a Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan. She then went overseas to teach in the Army school for dependents at Mannheim, Germany. Despite the major destruction all around, opportunities existed for travel and attending Opera performances. She visited Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England and Berlin. Going to the Opera in these countries was a special treat. She heard Faust, Aida, Carmen, and Madam Butterfly among others. A highlight of her overseas service was having attended a Pearl Mesta party.

Marie joined the Army reserves. When she returned to Grand Rapids, she served as the Training Officer for the 454th General Hospital. She left the Reserves, in 1963, when she married Laurens Veenendall. Upon return to teaching in Grand Rapids, she found a need at the Eastern Orthopedic School, for which she qualified by obtaining a 6 year Specialist Degree in Special education. Her pupils were mostly Polio and Cardiac victims. She also assisted in the establishment of Ken-O-Sha School and Indian Trails Camp for special needs children.

We honor you, Johanna Veenendall .

(#Repost @The Grand Rapids Press)

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