World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient dies at age 95

Published: Dec. 6, 2018 at 6:34 PM EST
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Gillis Clawson, a World War II veteran and Purple Heart Recipient died on Sunday.

Clawson's family and friends say he was known for his strong, but gentle spirit.

"He would look and me and he would say, 'miss, it is tough in that outer world and you've got to be tough too," says Sandy Brannon, Daughter.

Staff at Whitley County High School say Clawson enjoyed getting to come to the school every year for Veterans Day, to see the kids.

This year, Clawson was awarded his high school diploma, as he had went into military service before later receiving his G.E.D.

"He just loves, he just loved the kids. Loved doing stuff with them. Matter of fact, the kids loved him. They would argue over who was going to help him walk, or who was going to push his wheelchair," says Donald Gross, Sergeant Master at Whitley County High School's JROTC.

Clawson's daughter says she knew her father was special to her, but did not realize how much impact he made on his community, until she began talking to people at his funeral services.

"The legacy that he has left for us, I don't think we really realized how much it was and how meaningful it was. Until, we were talking to people last night and again today, you know, about how he had touched their lives in different ways," says Brannon.

Family say Clawson was known for his work in the area not only at the D.A.V., after becoming wounded in the army, but for starting a local fire department and perpetual care for local cemeteries.

"It was very special to me, because you know, he was my dad. So of course he was special. But to see how he impacted other peoples' lives has been interesting to hear," says Brannon.

Those close to Clawson say the upcoming generation of soldiers should look to him as a model.

"The kids learn about showing proper respect for our veterans and our flag. Today they are actually getting the opportunity to carry out that mission. And, it enhances the learning response," says Gross.

Friends, family, and neighbors agree he will be missed. But, say they know they will see Clawson again.

"That, to me, is one of the greatest legacies he left to me. Is that, this time is not a time to say goodbye. This is a time to let go and let him go on and I will get to see him again some day," says Brannon.

Clawson's funeral was held at the Ellison Funeral Home at 1:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Clawson was buried at the Broyles Cemetery in the Rockholds community, the Whitley County High School performed military graveside honors.

Gillis Clawson was 95 years old.