EWU Alumni Among Those To Honor This Memorial Day

May 15, 2023

Plus, Memorial Day events around the area

The smell of campfires, charcoal and toasted hors d’oeuvres on the grill will fill the air as many of us prepare to celebrate the freedom of a long Memorial Day weekend this May 26-29.

As the unofficial opening day for the summer vacation season, Memorial Day has long been synonymous with outdoor fun. But at Eastern, as elsewhere, the solemn occasion for the holiday will also be front-and-center, as the university community remembers those U.S. service members who sacrificed their lives for the security of our nation and the freedoms we may take for granted.

More than 630,000 Americans, in fact, have perished in defense of the nation since Eastern Washington University was founded in 1882. Among them are approximately 50 students and alumni service members who have suffered a combat-related death since World War I, according to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

To help us remember, we ceremoniously read their names, visit their gravesites, and celebrate in their honor. It’s a small homage to the high price of service to country.

The Spokane area will remember the fallen in the following Memorial Day events on May 29.

Memorial Day events for the Spokane area: 

  • Cheney, Memorial Day: Monday, May 29, 10-11 a.m. Observance, at the “Some Gave All” Veterans Memorial Park, (4th and C St.).
  • Medical Lake, Washington Veterans Cemetery Memorial Day Event: Monday, May 29, 11 a.m. – noon. A musical prelude performed by the Lilac City Community Band will begin at 10:30 a.m. The event is open to the public. 21702 W. Espanola Rd.
  • Spokane, Memorial Day Flag Cruise: Monday, May 29, starting at 10 a.m. Riverside Memorial, 508 N. Government Way.
  • Liberty Lake, Memorial Day event: Monday, May 29, from 8-10:30 a.m. Pavilion Park, 727 N. Molter Rd.


EWU alumni who have died in our nation’s wars:


World War I: 

Harry Beck

Glen Robinson

Charles Rogers

Floyd E. Woods


World War II:                          

Brad Baker                         

Ralph Noel Goodsell

Glen Parrish

Sterling L. Braaten

Wesley Malcolm Hagen

Robert Ramussen

Fred Burmister

Harold W. Holmquist

Philip W. Roberts

Fred Burban

Jack E. Danby

Arthur Milton Hughes

Louis G. Schadegg

Velmer M. Deife

Chester T. Jameson

Harvey Selner                     

Ivan Ervin

Gordon Keith Lord

Wesley Vkh Tang

Robert Lane

Charles W. Page

Perry VanPatten

Claude Murray



Richard Heimbigner

Richard D. Huston

Theodore Schierman

Joseph (Bud) Smart

Frank Donnelly Smith




Bruce Alan Grandstaff

Randall Nave Arney

Owen Ted McCandlis

Richard Dennis Ator

Randy V. Turner

Terry Bowerman

Richard Walker

Jerry Brown

William Penn Wall III

Timothy Burchett                             

Gregory Weightman

Robert L. Gregory

Al Wolf

Michael I. Hanneman

Jerone J. Warnick

Victor M. Hodson

Ronald G. Wolfe

Roy Johnson


The following excerpts are stories from past Eagles we honor today so that their stories may live on: These passages were collected by the Sons of Uncle Sam, a student club at EWU that is dedicated to supporting former Eastern students serving in World War II and provided by the EWU Library with assistance from the EWU Veterans Resource Center. Some of the excerpts are missing the year and are presumed to be written or published during WWII, between Sept. 1, 1939 – Sept. 2, 1945.


First Lt. Louis G. Schadegg

First Lt. Louis G. Schadegg was killed in action in Holland on Oct. 29, according to word received yesterday by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George J. Schadegg, from the War Department.

Lt. Schadegg was a graduate of the Eastern Washington College of Education and received his master’s degree from Gonzaga university. He’d had two years of premedical training and qualified as a medical parachutist while serving in England. Lt. Schadegg went to France of D-day and from there to Holland where he lost his life. 


Lt. Claude Murray

Lt. Claude Murray, son of Mrs. Helen Murray, head cook of the Monroe dining hall, has been reported missing over Holland since Oct. 6. Based with a Photo Reconnaissance Squadron in England since Aug. 16, Claude flew a P-38. Mrs. Murray received the notification Oct. 24. 


Lt. Perry VanPatten

A memorial service for Lieut. (sic) Perry VanPatten, who was killed while testing a plane for the Army Air Forces on Aug. 19, 1941, was held at the Cheney Federated church Sunday evening … Lieut. VanPatten, the son of Mr. and Mrs. L.C. VanPatten of Cheney, was 23 years old at the time of his death. He was a graduate of the Cheney high school and Eastern Washington College.


Lt. Ivan Ervin

Lt. Ivan A. Ervin, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Ervin of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was piloting a P-51 Mustang during combat over Germany when he was killed on Sept. 14, according to word from his widow, the former Evelyn Murphy of Washtucna, Washington. Ervin had received the Air medal and two oak leaf clusters. He had seen 140 hours of combat duty in a fighter plane, having been overseas since May of this year.


Captain Fred Burbank

Fred Burbank graduated from high school in Cashmere, Washington in 1934 before attending Eastern, where he was member of the Scarlet Arrow honorary for men “who have shown leadership and taken an active part in the promotion of college spirit.”

After graduating in 1938, Burbank served as a pilot in World War II. Enclosed in his scrapbook of Sutton Hall residents is a newspaper article on the Burbank’s death while flying a mission in the Pacific. It was enclosed in a letter from his mother.

A letter sent from Capt. Burbank’s commanding officer tells details of Burbank’s last flight and explains there [was] a chance that he was not killed “On January 15, 1943, Fred led a flight into combat. During the ensuing melee, the flight was broken up and visual contact between planes was lost. When the remnants of the flight returned Fred was among the missing.”

One of the members of the flight swears he heard Fred call on the radio and state that he was “bailing out” over the water. The action took place near a friendly shore but over an enemy fleet. (Fred at this time was carrying a small rubber boat which would safely have kept him afloat for a long period of time.) “A thorough aerial search of the area was conducted later that day, but Fred was not among those picked up. “Fred’s disappearance was great loss to all of us and came as quite a blow to the complete command. He had always been one of our mainstays and had proved himself on many occasions to be a competent and fine officer and pilot.

His recent promotion to captain had come purely through his hard diligent work and was a reward of merit. “Announcement of his winning the Distinguished Flying Cross came just a few days ago. This will probably be forwarded to his wife in the very near, never was an award more thoroughly deserved or more capably won.”

The following citation was presented to his wife at his training station where he graduated at Luke Field, Phoenix, Arizona: Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (To Personnel Missing in Action.) Fred C. Burbank, Captain, United States Army Air Corps, for extraordinary achievement while participating in an air flight on January 15, 1943, in the Solomon Islands. Captain Burbank, as leader of a flight of four P-39 airplanes was giving support cover an attack on eight destroyers off New Georgia – he led his flight into battle against some 12 Zeros attacking eight F-4F’s above.

He drove one Zero from the tail of friendly airplane and assisted in permitting the accomplishment of the bombing mission without the bombers being attacked. Captain Burbank did not return to base and is missing in action.