George E. Phillips, 82, of Vermilion, Ohio, died Sunday, June 11, 2017, at his home after a brief illness. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1970 for helping save a 48-year-old woman from drowning after she suffered a debilitating back injury while trying to navigate floodwaters in the 1969 Vermilion River flood. Phillips, with two others, piloted a 15-foot racing boat around much debris to the woman’s drifting cruiser. While the other men lifted the woman into their boat, Phillips used his boat to control the cruiser. As both boats moved to within 1,200 feet of a lower bridge, which only had 1 foot of clearance above the water, Phillips disengaged from the cruiser and maneuvered the boat, with all four people aboard it, to a location where the woman could be taken to the hospital for treatment of her injury. The woman’s cruiser hit the bridge, capsized, and sank. Phillips was born in 1935 in Lorraine, Ohio, and was a lifelong Vermilion resident. A veteran of the Army, Phillips built the Valley Harbor Marina, which he owned and operated for more than 50 years. He is survived by his wife, Dolores Phillips, a brother, three sons, two stepchildren, two granddaughters, and two great grandchildren.
Edsel G. Lorenzen, 88, of Radcliffe, Iowa, died Nov. 16, 2017, at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa. Lorenzen received the Carnegie Medal in 2006 after, at the age of 75, he removed a 21-year-old man from a burning vehicle in Radcliffe. Lorenzen suffered minor burns to his face and hands, but removed the man, who was not burned. Lorenzen, born in 1929, in State Center, Iowa, married his wife, Donna Mae Elwick, in 1952. Lorenzen was a farmer for more than 50 years, restored antique tractors, and was an active church member, including participating in jail ministry as a member of Gideon’s International for more than 20 years. Lorenzen is survived by his wife, a brother, four children, five grandchildren, and three step grandchildren.
Connelly Phelps Parker, Jr., 59, of North Myrtle Beach, S.C., died Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, after a 20-month battle with Glioblastoma. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal for an Aug. 14, 2010, act of heroism in which he helped save a 59-year-old man from drowning in North Myrtle Beach. Despite operating a fiberglass skiff that was inadequate for use in rough surf, he piloted to the man who had been swept into the Atlantic Ocean by a strong tidal current. Waves swamped his boat, and it capsized, but Parker supported the unconscious man with one arm and grasped the overturned boat with the other until others assisted in getting them both to shore. Both men survived. Parker, born in 1958, in Burlington, N.C., loved work, running, boating, a good drink, and his family, according to his obituary. He is survived by his wife, Tami Ewart Parker, three daughters, and two grandchildren.
Curtis Ray New, 91, of Anderson, Ind., died Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1977 after rescuing a 50-year-old woman from her burning home in Anderson. The woman returned to the house after flames had broken out and was heard moaning inside. New crawled into the smoke-filled kitchen, passed under an archway that was engulfed in flames, and crawled to a utility room, despite dense and smoke. He then dragged the woman to safety. New was born in 1926 in Somerset, Ky., and served in the U.S. Navy before his 1948 marriage to Bonnie Jean Clyde, who preceded him in death. He worked as a toolmaker until retiring in 1988, and enjoyed motorcycling and traveling throughout the U.S. in a motor home with his wife and dog, Benji. He is survived by two daughters, one grandson, and one great-grandson.
John M. Greig, 83, of Estherville, Iowa, died Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 at the Mayo Clinic Hospital Methodist Campus in Rochester, Minn. A Carnegie hero, on Jan. 26, 1966, Greig attempted to save a well driller, 45, who had entered a 7-foot-deep well in Estherville to save another man who had passed out from a lack of oxygen inside. The well driller lifted the first man to the top of ladder where Greig and others removed him from the well, but then lost consciousness and fell from the ladder. Greig took a deep breath and descended into the well to loop a rope around the man’s leg and then exited the well, while coughing on fumes. Using a tractor, the men hoisted the well driller from the well, but he had died. Greig was born in 1934 in Estherville, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 1956 and a master’s degree in agriculture from Iowa State College University in 1960. He married Connie Kint in 1958, and served in the U.S. Army and in the Iowa state legislature. He founded North Star Bank in Estherville, and was a member of the founding board of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, later being inducted into the Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and four grandchildren.
Gerald W. Quigley, 73, of Grenada, Calif., died Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal 46 years earlier after helping save a firefighter from suffocation in a gold mine, 132 feet below the ground, in Foresthill, Calif. The firefighter had entered the mine with breathing equipment to help retrieve a man who had become unconscious from lack of oxygen at a point about 2,700 feet from the mine’s entrance. The firefighter and others reached the man and carried him 30 feet toward the mine’s entrance, when the firefighter lost consciousness. Quigley, a forest fire apparatus engineer at the time, then entered the mine with breathing equipment, and, upon reaching the firefighter, revived him, and shared his breathing equipment with him while aiding him back to a safe area. Born in 1944 in Portland, Ore., he served the state of California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for 29 years, retiring in 1955. He married his high school sweetheart, Marsha Sides. He is survived by his wife, three children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Graham W. Fath, 16, of Schaumburg, Ill., died Sunday, March 11, 2018. He, with his brother and two friends, was awarded the Carnegie Medal for, at the age 11, for saving a 45-year-old father and his 10-year-old son from downing in the Vermilion River near Oglesby, Ill. The father and son were rafting on the river, when the raft became caught in a rolling boil at the base of a low-head dam. Despite seeing the danger, the boys maneuvered their raft to the dam and took the boy from the father, when their raft also became stuck. Others assisted the boys away from the boil. Graham was a member of the Conant High School band and French club. He participated in a local police explorer program and is survived by his parents, Holly and Dennis Fath; and two older brothers.
Alejandro J. Muñoz, 45, of Fontana, Calif., died Wednesday, May 2, 2018. In 2004, he helped rescue a 46-year-old woman from a burning sport utility vehicle in San Lucas, Calif. As flames reached the vehicle’s dashboard, Muñoz and another man entered the back of the car, pulled the woman from the front, passenger seat to the backseat area, and removed her from the vehicle through a rear door. Flames shortly engulfed the interior of the vehicle. Muñoz was born in 1972 in Los Angeles, and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. He enjoyed spending time with his children, riding quads, mini-trucking, and watching sports, including the Lakers, 49ers, and Dodgers. He is survived by his mother, Maria Muñoz; fiancée, Pauline Copas; and four children.
Lawrence Wm. Haywiser, 89, of Baldwin Borough, Pa., died Monday, May 21, 2018. Haywiser worked for 42 years for the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission until his retirement. He was hired at the age of 27 as chief clerk, and was named assistant treasurer of the organization in 1970, a title he retained for 27 years. In the minutes of the Executive Committee from the month of his retirement in 1997, the Commission noted,“The soundness of the Commission’s financial record keeping was due in no small part to his meticulousness of control that was equaled by his devotion to his employer and its goals. Chief among his accomplishments was his oversight of the Fund’s beneficiaries, whose well-being received his sure defense.” Investigations Manager Jeffrey A. Dooley said Haywiser was reliable, honest, polite. “He was a gentleman,” Dooley said. Haywiser also volunteered for many years as a Eucharistic Minister for Jefferson Hospital and enjoyed gardening and traveling with St. Elizabeth seniors. He is survived by his wife, Florence (Bayer) Haywiser, six children, 18 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Christina York, 81, of Presque Isle, Maine, died Thursday, April 12, 2018. York was the widow of Herbert Daniel York, who died in 1977 attempting to save a 14-year-old boy from drowning in the Aroostook River near Presque Isle. In keeping with Commission founder Andrew Carnegie’s wish that those financially dependent upon heroes “should not suffer pecuniarily,” York was given a continuing monthly grant for 40 years, lasting until the time of her death. In 2016, York wrote to the Commission thanking it for their assistance. “It’s as though Herb is helping out the family as he did when he was right here with us,” she wrote. York was born in 1937 and earned an associate’s degree in office assistance from Northern Maine Technical College in 1993. She enjoyed knitting, playing dice, playing cards, and puzzles. She is survived by five children, Robert Lee York, Herbert Allen York, Bruce Wayne York, “Chee Chee” Levasseur, and Deborah Ann Beckwith; three sisters, 15 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.
V.E. Kilpatrick, Jr., 74, of Brinkley, Ark., died Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Little Rock, Ark. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1969 after he saved a boy from being struck by a fast freight train in 1968 in Weiner, Ark. After seeing a mother and her two children inside a pickup truck stalled on train tracks with a train approaching, Kilpatrick and another man attempted to push it off the tracks. Unable to move it, the other man, opened the driver’s door and removed a woman and her daughter. With the train only 500 feet away from striking the truck, Kilpatrick then entered the truck, pulled the boy to his chest and dived from the train’s path. The train demolished the truck and came to a stop about a half-mile past the point of impact. Kilpatrick was born in 1943 in Orange, Texas, and worked as a brakeman and conductor for the railroad for 38 years. He enjoyed mechanical work, and, according to his obituary, one of his proudest moments was getting his old tractor running again. Kilpatrick was survived by his wife, Joan Kilpatrick; four siblings, four children, nine grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Evelyn M. Larsen, 71, of Minden, Nev., died Thursday, June 21, 2018 at her home. On Dec. 31, 1964, at the age of 17, she saved four children from their burning home in Glendale, Mo. After discovering a fire in the home where she was babysitting, she ascended the stairs three times to remove the children, ages 1, 2, 4, and 5, from the home, having trouble locating the 2-year-old boy amid dense smoke filling the brick home. After he responded to her calls and she found him, Larsen (then Evelyn M. Neininger) ran down the stairs a final time, carrying the 1- and 2-year olds, losing her footing and sliding down the last few steps. She was within 2 feet of flames when she exited the home, the inside of which erupted in flames immediately. She received the Carnegie Medal one year later. Larsen was born in 1947 in St. Louis. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969 with a degree in teaching. According to her obituary, after becoming a grandmother in 2005, she became a fixture at her grandchildren’s school. She is survived by her husband, Jim Larsen; three siblings, two children, and two grandchildren.
Edmund L. Zernach, 81, of Peachtree City, Ga., died Saturday, July 28, 2018. More than 60 years earlier, he helped save a 14-year-old boy from falling off the edge of a drop-off 150 feet high. Attempting to reach the boy, Gordon fell on the steep slope above the drop off, and securing a tree at its base to the ground, bent it toward the boy, who used it to guide himself to a safer position on the slope. Unable to ascend the slope, they then were rescued by others. Zernach was awarded the Carnegie Medal a year later, along with other accolades including the Young American Medal for Bravery from President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Zernach was born in 1937 in Milan, Ind. He graduated from Purdue University in 1959 with a degree in forest management, and married Jane Anderson in 1962. A U.S. Army veteran, Zernach enjoyed the outdoors, golfing, traveling, and sports. He was a member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, and St. Vincent de Paul, and he also delivered food to those in need. He is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandson.
David J. Gretkowski, 54, of Burlington, Vt., died Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, of glioblastoma. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1989 after he saved a 15-yearold girl from drowning in Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, N.Y. The girl was trapped in an air pocket beneath a sailboat that had capsized. Wearing a life jacket, he swam under the boat to the girl, and assisted her in reaching safety, but his life jacket snagged on a line as he was escaping, barely allowing his head to surface. A woman from another boat swam to him and freed him from the life jacket. Gretkowski was born in 1964, and after graduating from Rice High School and Saint Michael’s College with a degree in business management, he moved to Florida to work at the PGA National Golf Club. He then entered a career in the pharmaceutical industry. According to his obituary, Gretkowski was known for his humility, playfulness, and humor. He is survived by his wife, Stefanie Gretkowski; his parents, Henry and Elizabeth Gretkowski; and three brothers.
Mary Austill Samford, 88, of Opelika, Ala., died Sunday, Sept.9, 2018, of Alzheimer’s. She was awarded the Carnegie Medal at the age of 9, when she rescued another 9-year-old girl from drowning in the deep end of a swimming pool in 1939 in Spring Hill, Ala. As Samford (then Mary Austill) reached her, the girl was frantic and grabbed her and wrapped her legs around her, submerging her several times before a man aided them to the shallower end. Samford was born in 1929 in Mobile, Ala., and attended the University of Alabama and was amember of Kappa Delta sorority. She married Yetta G. Samford, Jr., who preceded her in death. Samford was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames and a lifelong active member of First Baptist Church. According to her obituary, she was known for her wonderful culinary skills and artistic projects, and will be remembered for her warm and generous hospitality. She is survived by daughters Austill Samford Lott and Katie Samford Alfor, five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. One son preceded her in death.