Lt. Col Thomas Brandon Epps Sr USMC (1925 -1999) was born in Cedartown, Georgia and grew up in Hahira, Georgia. He joined the Marines in 1943 at age 18 and retired in 1969 after completing 26 years of service through WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He and his wife Lorene Bryant Epps had three children. His grandsons, Stuart Thomas Brooks and Mason Rogers Brooks, recently presented the museum with a shadow box containing Epps’ WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Campaign Medals. He is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Pavo, Georgia.
Epps’ medals are now on display in the Vietnam Exhibit located on the main floor of the museum.
Thomas Brandon Epps Sr’s. wife, Lorene Bryant Brooks, is the author of the book Jimmy Bryant: Fastest Guitar In The County, a biography about her brother, a musician from Moultrie, Georgia.
Evans 2016-30 TB 85R8Se3
E. J. “Jack” Evans (Dec 29, 1918- July 21, 1999) was born in New Jersey and enlisted in the Navy in 1942. He was assigned to the 130th Bombing Squadron in Brazil in 1943 as an Aviation Machinist Mate. During his time in the Southwest Pacific, he was involved in antisubmarine patrols and convoy coverage. The squadron was transferred to the Manus Island in New Guinea in October 1944 for anti-shipping patrols and later to Leyte Island in the Philippine Islands in November 1944. He flew 65 missions. He received an Air Medal for “meritorious acts in aerial flight, flying 5 combat missions over operational hostile airfields from February 20 through March 4, 1945. While returning home, his plane crashed at the U.S. Naval Station on Whidby Island, Washington. He survived his injuries and months later was released from the Naval Hospital in Seattle.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three stars, WWII Victory, American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon with one star, and Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star.
He moved to Valdosta and married Mildred Sheffield in 1945. They remained in Valdosta and raised a family. He worked for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company and his work uniform is housed in the museum’s Textile Collection as well. He retired from Valdosta State University as the Director of Physical Properties. He is buried in Riverview Memorial Gardens in Valdosta, Georgia.
Jack Evans’ extensive collection at the museum was donated by his family and includes his bomber jacket, his dress blues and summer whites uniforms, a survival kit still packed with fishing equipment, iodine, a signaling mirror, a small saw, and matches. This collection includes his stencils used for marking his clothing, photos, and newspaper clippings.
Green 2000-30 TB 95 R8Sd4
Dr. Worth Clarence Green, Jr. (b Oct 23, 1921, d. July 29, 2002) served his country as a Naval Air Marine Officer, entering service on June 30, 1942. In 1943, the Naval Air muster listed Green as a 2nd Lieutenant stationed in Miami, Florida, and by 1946 he is listed as a 1st Lieutenant with the 6th Reserves at the Naval ship yard in Charleston, South Carolina. The museum houses his Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Marine Corps “dog tags”, as well as his U.S. Aviator Certificate. Under heavy enemy fire Green’s airplane was damaged and he had to bail out into the ocean. He was picked up 8 hours later. To read more of Green’s story visit our WWII Calender page at http://valdostamuseum.com/collections/wwii_album_veterans/
In the early 1950’s Dr. Green Jr. lived in Valdosta with his wife Dorothy and practiced dentistry.
Godwin 2009-060 TB 35R10Se1
Claude Goldsmith Godwin (1898-1953) grew up in Valdosta and fought in both WWI and WWII. The Lowndes County Historical Museum is honored to house his uniforms from both world wars. In 1942 Godwin served as a Marine Platoon Sgt. In 1944 he was working in motor transport and then service supplies for the 1st Company. After being wounded in action, Godwin was honorably discharged April 1945. Claude G. Godwin is buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, GA.
Please also read about this Marine’s service in World War I and see his WWI uniform.
Claude Godwin’s WWI uniform and medals are currently on display on the main floor of the museum in the WWI Exhibit. To see information on Claude G. Godwin’s WWI uniform on our web site, please visit our WWI textile page by clicking on this link. http://valdostamuseum.com/collections/textiles/military/wwi/
Graham 91-2 TB 86R9Se4
Warren C. Graham’s 1942 Marion Military Institute Cadet Uniform is housed in the Lowndes County Historical Museum. He was born in Valdosta and graduated from Valdosta High School where he played in the Drum and Bugle Band and was the Senior Class President. After high school Graham attended Marion Military Institute and enlisted as a seaman apprentice with the US Navy in 1942. He was commissioned an officer in 1948 and was attached to the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th fleets. He became the first Commanding Officer of the Naval Ship USS Shasta (AE-33) commissioned in 1972. Graham’s Valdosta High Drum and Bugle cape is also housed in the museum (TB 121b 91-2-4) and will appear on a planned page on this museum’s website in the future under Collections/ Textiles/ High School. For more information on Warren C Graham Jr. , please visit the museum.
Harmeyer TB 93R11Sd4
Sara Virginia Murphy Harmeyer (b. 23 Oct 1915- d. 9 Mar 2006) was born to James K. Murphy and Fannie Peurifoy in Blakely, Early, Georgia. Her parents, who were farmers, lived in Alabama according to the 1920 US Census, and are found in the 1927 Business Directory in Dallas Texas. In 1937- 1939, Sara Virginia is listed as a staff nurse Instructive Visiting Nurse Society in Washington, D.C. She worked as a Public Health Nurse for LaFayette, Walker, Georgia 1940-42 before she became a staff nurse for the US Navy 1942-43. Her WWII cap has the Navy Nurses Corps pin and her name sewn to the inside attesting to her devoted service to her country. The museum also houses her dress blues Naval Nurse’s jacket and skirt.
Her nursing and education story continued after the war. She was an educator of nursing at Murray State University, Northwestern Louisiana State University, Southeastern Louisiana College, and Our Lady of the Lake Hospital School of Nursing in Baton Rouge, LA. And Director of Division of Nursing at Valdosta State College (now Valdosta State University) 1972-1981. She received her masters degree from Emory State University in 1961 and at the age of 60 received her PhD from University of Texas.
She also continued her work after retirement forming the first Alzheimer’s Caregiver Time Out Program. To name just a few of her many contributions, she was on the Board of Public Health, Home Health Inc,and was a Board Member of South Georgia Council on Aging, Advisory Council for Southwestern State Hospital, Lowndes Co. Diabetes Association, Mental Health Association, the American Cancer Society Board of Directors, the American Association of University Women and was on the District XV Home Health Services Advisory Council. She was recognized for her many accomplishments by the Georgia Senate and Legislature in 1997 and these plaques are also housed in the museum. For more information on her many accomplishments please visit the Lowndes County Historical Museum.
Henderson 1979-9, 2012-18 TB 18aR9Sd1, 18bR9Sd2
Thomas R. Henderson (1918-2012) was born in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Atlanta when he was 8 months old. He attended Georgia Tech before entering the Army on April 14,1942. He was one of the first troops to arrive at Moody Field when the base opened, working in Base Operations. It was in Valdosta that he met his future wife, Mary Theron Roberts (1917-2004). Henderson later enrolled in Officer Candidate School. After receiving his commission as an officer, he was transferred to Spokane, Washington and attached with a unit preparing for the Pacific. On December 5, 1943, between Sunday school and Worship Service, Thomas R Henderson and Mary Theron Roberts were joined in matrimony at the St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. Henderson then received orders to Accra Air Force, Gold Coast. There he met several others that had also been transferred there from Moody Air Force Base. Henderson directed airfield construction in North Africa, Greece, England, and Italy. Patches originally contained in his WWII scrapbook, donated to the museum by his daughter in 2012 (SB PEO-4 2012-18), show that he was attached to the Army Air Corps Headquarters, 4th Army Air Corp. This scrapbook also contained Henderson’s Engineer patches and Honorable Discharge patch. However, because these patches are of a textile nature and require similar care as his uniforms, they are now located with his uniforms. A copy of the original page is housed in his scrapbook. Henderson was a lifetime member of the Lowndes County Historical Society.
Henderson’s photo and information is also contained in the Calendar for 1995: A Family Album of World War II Memories Book 1 page 71 which can be viewed on this website at http://valdostamuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Part-3-1995.pdf
Holcombe 1990-586-1 TB 55aR10Sc1
His older brother,Thomas Norwood Holcombe, Jr. also served in WWII with the US Navy.
Roger Furman Holcombe was assigned to the Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He was among the first troops deployed on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and was killed in action July 5, 1944, in an engagement at St. Lo, France, Battle of Normandy. He is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in St. Laurent France. There is a memorial for him at Sunset Cemetery. He received a Purple Heart.
The museum is honored to house his casket flag which is 5’X9′ and is pictured here as well as a photo of him parachuting housed in the museum’s electronic archives and a photo of his memorial at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia.