Hero’s granddaughter marks grave as a gift for mom

The headstone of Walter R. Fuchs, who died in 1948 after rescuing an 11-year-old girl from drowning in Huffman Lake in Dayton, Ohio. His granddaughter recently requested a grave marker to identify him as a Carnegie hero.

The family of Walter R. Fuchs has received a grave marker from the Hero Fund to place on his headstone.

The 3.75-inch medallion that is cast in the likeness of the Carnegie Medal can be mounted onto a headstone or urn and is provided at no cost to the family members of deceased Carnegie Medal recipients.

According to Hero Fund records, Fuchs sacrificed his life to save an unidentified girl from drowning on June 27, 1948. While bathing in Ohio’s Huffman Lake in 10 feet deep water, 25 feet away from the bank, an 11-year-old girl struggled to stay afloat and screamed in distress. Fuchs, a 30-year-old welder, ran to the water and, after removing his shirt and wallet, swam to the girl, who had by then become unconscious and submerged. Two couples were within 60 feet of Fuchs before he went into the water and at least nine other adults were nearby. Fuchs took hold of her and turned toward the bank, where several of the nearby men had also entered the water to help. Fuchs handed the girl to two of them, and they brought her to the bank, where she was revived. About a minute after, Fuchs sank at the spot where he had helped the girl. His body was recovered five minutes later, but he couldn’t be revived. The girl recovered.

At the time of his death, Fuchs left widow Marie M. Fuchs and four small children. Fellow workmen of Fuchs raised $4,700 in donations, which was applied to Fuchs’ burial expenses and paying off the mortgage owed on his home. Marie spent the remainder on his other debts and improvements to the home. In addition the Hero Fund provided a monthly stipend to her from 1949 until her death on Aug. 13, 1992. Fuchs’ daughter, Rose Marie Fuchs continued to stay in contact with the Hero Fund and his granddaughter, Linda Groover, requested the grave marker.

“Rose Marie Fuchs is [Fuchs’] only surviving child, and I would like to honor her father’s memory with this gift,” Groover wrote to the Commission.

Fuchs is bured at Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.

To further honor those who have been awarded the Carnegie Medal, the Hero Fund is pleased to offer at no cost a bronze grave marker to the next of kin of any awardee who has passed away.

The medallion will be sent with a packet containing supplies to affix it and directions for application.

To order the medallion, email us at
carnegiehero@carnegiehero.org or call 1-800-447-8900.

15:13 calls to mind those in the Hero Fund’s 118-year history whose lives were sacrificed in the performance of their heroic acts. The name identifies the chapter and verse of the Gospel of John that appears on every medal: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Of the 10,291 medal awardees to date, 2,101, or 20% of the total, were recognized posthumously. They are not forgotten.