Posts Tagged ‘dave shaw’

Professional Genealogist in Upstate New York Locates only Surviving Sibling of World War II Parachutist Killed in Action 1945.

News release:

Professional Genealogist in Upstate New York Locates only Surviving Sibling of World War II Parachutist Killed in Action 1945.

In Europe it is quite normal for some citizens to pay honor at the graves of American Service men who died in battle while helping to rid Europe of the Nazi menace. One such lady is Ms. Rianne Prevoo of Margraten, Holland, The Netherlands. Ms. Prevoo has taken it upon herself to visit and decorate the grave of one specific soldier, Pfc. Paul J. Scott, who was killed in the last part of the war in Europe.

Pfc. Paul J. Scott was a member of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR,) 17th Airborne Division and he was killed March 24th, 1945 during Operation Varsity. This was to be the last full scale combat airborne drop of the war. The history of this event is told on the website of the 513th PIR at .

U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was a field witness to this operation from the bell tower of a church on the west side of the Rhine.

Ms. Prevoo has been regularly visiting Scott’s grave and decorating it with flowers and flags on special occasions. She did not know anything about Scott, she just felt duty bound to pay tribute in some small way to one of those who paid the ultimate price to rescue her country from evil.

Ms. Prevoo knew that Scott was from New York State as it stated so on the gravestone. At some point in time she was zeroing in on Seneca County, NY and she was put in touch with a newspaper reporter from the “Finger Lakes Times” by the name of David Shaw.

One day at the Seneca County court house Shaw ran in to Dick Hillenbrand, professional genealogist from Upstate New York Genealogy. Shaw mentioned the story and Hillenbrand volunteered to do the research necessary to locate any possible surviving members of Scott’s family.

In a whirlwind of activity, emails, phone calls and data base sleuthing, Hillenbrand had success! He located Mrs. Irma (Scott) Gansz of Cayuga County, NY., who is the only surviving member of Paul Scott’s family. Mrs. Gansz, 84, was stunned when Hillenbrand very carefully explained to her what it was about. Her immediate response was “Well My Heavens!”

It turns out that all of Paul’s several brothers and sisters are deceased and that no one in the family had ever been able to make the trip to Holland to visit the grave in the American Cemetery in Margraten, where over 800 American soldiers are buried. Mrs. Gansz was just so appreciative of the kindness of Ms. Prevoo that she could hardly say a word.

Prevoo has been put in touch with her surrogate adopted family and photographs of the grave and the only known surviving photo of Paul are being exchanged. Pfc. Paul J. Scott was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leak Clusters, posthumously. Let us all reflect on these events and honor all of our service men and women from previous and current wars.

Hillenbrand may be reached at
Upstate New York Genealogy –

This story is told by reporter Dave Shaw in the Finger Lakes Times newspaper on Thursday July 17th, 2008. (search for “Tyre soldier’s grave.”)
(Permission is given to reprint this article in its entirety.)

(Note: this news release format is quite different than the normal Blog posts here on Upstate New York Genealogy Blog, as some other newspapers have shown interest in the story and this is the easiest way to present it to them.)

Dick Hillenbrand

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