William Harold Van Tyle, 93 of Frankfort, died at 6:30 p.m. December 13, 2011 at Wesley Manor. Born in Lafayette, IN on February 15, 1918, the second son of Jennie Cleo (Street) and Thomas Sanford Van Tyle. In his youth his family moved to Frankfort where he attended grade school and Old Stoney, graduating in 1935. While in high school he developed an interest in men’s vocal music, a passion he pursued in various venues his entire life. In 1942 he joined the war effort as an engine and airplane mechanic in the 195th Field Artillery Group, Third Army, under the command of General George C. Patton.
As a light aircraft mechanic, he supported low level aerial reconnaissance missions in Normandy, northern France, the Rhineland and central Europe and saw action liberating Auschwitz, a German concentration camp. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the relief of Bastogne by Patton’s Third Army in the winter of 1944-45, the largest land battle of WWII. In a three-day period and in freezing temperatures, ice and snow, the Third Army halted a full scale attack they had started to the east, pulled back the entire army, swung around ninety degrees to the north, and then began another full scale attack on the southern flank of the German forces, a nearly impossible maneuver which historians credit as being critical to the ultimate Allied victory. He achieved the rank of technical sergeant and was awarded the American Theatre Ribbon with 4 bronze stars prior to his military discharge in 1945.
Following the war he was employed by the Shanklin Hardware store in Frankfort, Alcoa in Lafayette and Kramer Brothers Lumber Company in Rossville. In 1958 he moved his family to Monticello, IN where he was co-owner of the Monticello Lumber Company until his retirement in 1983 when he returned to Frankfort. While in Rossville he was commander of the local American Legion post. In Rossville, Monticello and Frankfort, he was an active member of the Presbyterian Church as deacon, elder and choir member in addition to providing countless hours of community service through the Rotary in Monticello and Habit for Humanity both in Monticello and Frankfort where he helped establish the Frankfort Habitat for Humanity chapter. He was a member of the Frankfort Country Club where he enjoyed playing golf and also the Elks Lodge. In retirement he was a devoted grandfather to his two granddaughters making bed for their dolls and spending countless hours playing games.
Visitation and Services
A celebration of life will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, December 17, 2011 at the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 352 W. Clinton St., Frankfort, IN. The family will receive friends following the service in the church Fellowship Hall. Private family burial with Military Rites will be in Green Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Rainbow Haven, envelopes will be available.
He married Virginia Claire Hibbard on March 30, 1941 in Greencastle, IN and she survives in Frankfort. Also surviving are a son William Kent (wife Jeanne) Van Tyle, two granddaughters, Rachel Elizabeth and Emily Kathleen Van Tyle of Indianapolis, IN.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Floyd and Clifford Van Tyle.