T.f. Mcdonough Sr., Pow In Korean War

Posted: January 02, 1996

Thomas F. McDonough Sr., a prisoner of war of the Korean conflict, a Purple Heart recipient, and one of the many soldiers who went off to war and never came all the way back, died suddenly Thursday. He was 63 and lived in Grays Ferry.

McDonough served in the Army from 1948 until 1953. Assigned to ``H'' Company of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, McDonough was a POW for more than three years. During that time he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. At one point he and another soldier briefly escaped. The Chinese troops who re-captured McDonough and his buddy summarily executed two Koreans who had hid the GIs.

McDonough recounted that story years later to a friend, Jack Kilgore, though it was rare for McDonough to speak about his time in Korea. One reason psychiatrists were of only limited help was that he wouldn't open up to them.

``He was active with the veterans groups,'' said Kilgore, president of the CPL William McAllister Chapter 1509 of the Korean War Veterans POW-MIA. ``He didn't talk, but he suffered a lot.''

Kilgore said McDonough's nickname was ``Shake-Em Up'' because ``he'd walk into a place and really shake a place up when he was drinking.''

People who knew Tommy McDonough said that he could get off the track sometimes and that sometimes his grip on daily life could get tenuous. But there were enough people in Grays Ferry who knew Tommy and what he had been through and who were there to help catch himwhen he took a misstep. He married when he returned from Korea, but it lasted only about five years.

He had worked for D&D Dye Works in Kensington as a dye-cast operator but in recent years had been on full service-connected disability.

``He was real generous to his family. He shared with all of us,'' said Nancy Eck, his daughter. ``He never really slept right. He'd sleep sitting up with his chin in his hand. He never really talked about what happened to him.'' Her father's military awards included the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. He had been wounded twice.

Thomas F. McDonough, his son, said, ``He was a loving, caring father, and he looked out for his family and his grandchildren. That was very important to him. He used to tell me to try to be independent, and in the same breath he'd say he wanted to help me. He was good-spirited and always had humor.

``I remember when we were young we'd walk with him all the time. He liked to walk. He'd take us to the zoo, and we'd walk over the [South Street] bridge. As the years went on, he didn't do it that much. He'd bring me to bars and win bets betting on me doing push-ups.''

McDonough was also a member of the Corpus Christi Catholic War Veterans Post 173, the American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Korean War Veterans Association, the Arcadia Athletic Association and the William P. Roache American Legion Post 21.

Survivors also include five grandchildren and his mother, Anne Owens.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Gabriel's Church, 29th and Dickinson streets. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Sproul and Crum Creek roads, Marple Township, Delaware County.

Friends may call between 7 and 9 tonight at the Shea Funeral Home, 29th and Dickinson streets.

Contributions may be made to the CPL William McAllister Chapter 1509 of the Korean War Veterans POW-MIA, c/o John Kilgore, 35 S. 2d St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106.

WILBUR ERNST ZIEGER Wilbur Ernst Zieger, a retired businessman who was active in his church and community, died Wednesday. He was 89 and lived in Mount Airy.

Zieger began his career as a florist with his father, Ernst Johann Friedrich Zieger, and his brother, Herman M., in 1922 and built the wholesale florist division of Zieger and Sons Inc. This grew to a multimillion-dollar operation with branches in Allentown, Reading and Harrisburg. Zieger's son Paul took over the business in 1986 and added a branch in Salisbury, Md.

Zieger was a proponent of local florist cooperative efforts and was instrumental in founding the Allied Florists of Philadelphia in 1948. The group sought to enhance the sale of cut flowers in the region.

He was an active member of Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Peter in West Oak Lane and in regional church activities. Zieger had been a Sunday-school teacher and served on the church council, chairing the building construction committees in the late 1950s.

He also co-chaired an annual clothing drive from the local churches, sending two 40-foot trailers a year of used clothing to the processing plant in Phillipsburg, N.J., in the 1950s and 1960s. He always made his company trucks available to help in the collections.

``He will be remembered the most for opportunities he gave people to work witn him and succeed. He was ever the teacher and was always willing to share his knowledge and experience with anyone who was willing to listen,'' said a family member.

Survivors include his wife, Anna Fritz Zieger, another son, Herman E.; a daughter, Margaret Kinkead, a brother; a sister; 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Peter, 74th Avenue and Briar Road, where friends may call two hours earlier. Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Park, County Line Road and Bustleton Avenue, Feasterville, Bucks County.

FRANK A. LEE Frank A. Lee, a retired Philadelphia police officer, died Saturday. He was 51 and lived in Southwest Philadelphia.

Lee was a member of the Philadelphia Police Department for 22 years. When he retired five years ago he was assigned to the 18th District at 55th and Pine streets.

He was raised in West Philadelphia, was a graduate of Bok Vocational-Technical High School and served a tour in the Air Force. He was a member of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police.

``He was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather,'' said his wife, the former Johnnie Berry. Lee enjoyed traveling and motorcycle-riding.

Survivors also include a daughter, Sherri; three stepchildren, Angela, Robert and Adriene; his mother, Dorothy Lee, and nine grandchildren.

Services will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at 59th Street Baptist Church, 315 S. 59th St., where friends may call two hours earlier. Burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery, 6500 Baltimore Ave., Fernwood, Delaware County.

STANLEY EDWARD MURZENSKI Stanley Edward ``Stan'' Murzenski, an engineer at the Defense Personnel Support Center in South Philadelphia, died Dec. 24. He was 47 and lived in Powelton Village.

Murzenski had previously owned and operated an engineering firm and a personnel company. He was a 1966 graduate of Scranton Preparatory School. He studied electrical engineering at Drexel University and received his undergraduate degree from Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre. Murzenski did graduate work at Wilkes and at the University of California. He received a master's degree in metallurgy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Survivors include his companion, Joseph E. Kuna; his parents, Edward and Helen Murzenski; a niece, Susan Petras, and two nephews, Charles and Michael.

A Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Clements Anglo-Catholic Church, 20th and Appletree streets. Interment will be private. There will be no viewing.

Contributions may be made to Philly Paws.

MARGUERITE B. PIDGEON Marguerite B. Pidgeon, a retired state employee, died Sunday. She lived in Drexel Hill. Her age was not disclosed.

Pidgeon had been an unemployment claims interviewer for the state. She retired in 1982. The former Marguerite Bradley was a member of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Drexel Hill.

Her husband, John D. Pidgeon, died in 1968.

Survivors include a son, Tim Pidgeon; a daughter, Mary Ann Noblitt; two grandsons; a sister, Mary Bradley, and a brother, Eugene Bradley.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Dennison Avenue and Burmont Road, Drexel Hill, where friends may call 30 minutes earlier. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Sproul and Crum Creek roads, Marple Township, Delaware County.

Friends may also call between 7 and 9 tomorrow night at the M.F. Williams Funeral Home, Baltimore and Summit avenues, Clifton Heights.

Contributions may be made to the church.

VIRGINIA B. LEWIS Virginia B. Lewis, the former Virginia Thomas, died Saturday. She was 68 and lived in Folcroft, Delaware County.

Her husband was George J. Lewis, who died in 1988. She enjoyed doing crafts and would give away her handiwork to her friends.

Survivors include two daughters, Faye E. DiSpaldo and Linda M. Dolan; four grandchildren; two sisters, Divola Burgess and Alice Thomas, and a brother, David Thomas.

A memorial service will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the M.F. Williams Funeral Home, Baltimore and Summit avenues, Clifton Heights, Delaware County.

Contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 625 W. Ridge Pike, Building A., Suite 100, Conshohocken, Pa. 19428-1190 or to the American Cancer Society, 280 N. Providence Road, Media, Pa. 19063.

JOEL ROBERT WELKER Joel Robert Welker, a draftsman who was an active church volunteer, died Thursday after battling juvenile diabetes since age 13. He was 38 and lived in South Philadelphia.

Welker had been a draftsman since 1980, but had to stop working seven years ago due to illness. He was a 1975 graduate of St. John Neumann High School and graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia in 1979. He had attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to become a deacon, but had to quit when his health failed.

Welker was Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) director at Sacred Heart Church for five years and directed the CYO for four years at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Five years ago, he helped form a Camp Fire group at Mount Carmel, where he was also a Eucharistic minister.

Welker sponsored exchange students from Panama at St. John Neumann High School in 1991 and from Mexico in 1992.

Survivors include his wife, the former Marialena Burger; three sons, William, Ryan and Andrew; his mother, Teresa Welker; two brothers, Eddy and Earl, and a sister, Cynthia Costello.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 8 p.m. today at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 3rd and Wolf streets, where friends may call two hours earlier. Burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery, 6500 Baltimore ave., Fernwood, Delaware County.

Contributions to the family are preferred.

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