The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC William J. Pearson, 39475310, who died in the service of his country on April 24th, 1945 in Luzon. The cause of death was listed as DOW. At the time of his death William was 25 years of age. He was from Cedarville, Washington.
The decorations earned by PFC William J. Pearson include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
PFC Pearson was a lumberman and was single when he enlisted at Seattle on 07/07/1944.
He is buried in Oakville Pioneer Cemetery, Oakville WA.
From the May 18, 1945, issue of the Oakville Herald:
William J. Pearson Killed In Philippines
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pearson of Cedarville were notified by the war department May 9 that their youngest son, Pvt. William J. Pearson, has been killed in the Philippines. No details were given.
"Bill", as he was known by his many friends, was born at Cedarville, February 19, 1920 - 24 years ago - and was a graduate of the Oakville high school.
Besides his parents, he leaves three brothers, Don Pearson of Oakville, T. Sgt. Lee B. Pearson who is now in Georgia after having served in Europe in a bomber unit, Sgt. Delbert Pearson now in Europe serving in a bomber unit; and one sister, Margaret Pearson, employed in Centralia.
By Faith Perry
"William Pearson of Oakville died April 24, 1945, of wounds received on Luzon a few days earlier.
I was not much acquainted with the young soldier who left this brief record but once knew very well a sturdy little urchin with blue eyes and flaming hair and a varied assortment of freckles, who lived next door.
He loved to gather my horse-chestnuts and slip them into his mother's cook stove slyly and to gleefully wait for her to jump when they exploded.
When Bill was between four and five, and Peter was a little older [Peter was Faith's son, probably 7 or 8 years old at the time], with some other boys they once decided to cross the railroad track in front of an oncoming engine. All made it safely until Pete, the last of the gang, stumbled and struck his head on the rail, knocking him out cold (Peter still carries a scar in the parting of his hair). Frightened, all of the boys drew back - all but little Bill. There was not a second for him to hesitate when he threw himself upon the track, clutched Peter by the shoulders and dragged him to safety as the train thundered by.
We do not yet know the details of Bill's tragedy but I am sure that the quickness of thought and action, the fine forgetfulness of danger to self and the matter of fact heroism that characterized the little boy were also evident twenty years later in the young man whose life was offered, not for one playmate, but for the whole world."
[NOTE: In 2015, Pete's son said he believed the above story actually happened. He remembered his father telling about falling down on the railroad tracks as a train approached. More importantly, Pete's son remembered that his father always visited Bill Pearson's grave when he made return visits to Oakville in his later years.]