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Melvin F. Gehring, WWII vet, sailor, woodcarver

May 26, 1918 – Nov. 22, 2014

Snowstorms often reminded Melvin F. Gehring of his service to his country during World War II, particularly the sacrifice he and fellow soldiers made during the cold, snowy Battle of the Bulge.

Gehring, who lived his last days during this month’s historic snowstorm, died Nov. 22 in Weinberg Campus, Getzville. He was 96.

Born in Niagara Falls, Mr. Gehring was drafted into the Army when he was 23. He also participated in the invasion of Normandy, and decades later returned to France so he and other veterans could be thanked for their roles in the landing on Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion.

After the war, he married the former Mary Hart, with whom he raised five children.

Mr. Gehring retired after a 35-year career as a sales associate with New York Telephone.

He and Mary traveled the world, and enjoyed spending time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mr. Gehring also refurbished a sailboat and became an avid sailor. He resumed woodcarving and taught others the craft at the Clarence Senior Center. He also became a shortwave radio operator – a hobby that put him in touch with dozens of others around the world.

He mastered using the computer and rebuilt many he found abandoned at curbside.

Mr. Gehring remained proud of his service in the Army, family members said.

“The lives of Mel and his buddies, be they living or not, deserve our salutes for courage that began on the fields of one combat zone and ended on others, no less challenging,” the family wrote in a tribute. “When life seems tough, we need only look to their example.”

Survivors include three daughters, Suzanne Schnittman, Barbara Mahoney and Elizabeth Brinkworth; two sons, Richard Gehring and John Gehring; 10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 8500 Main St., Clarence. Prayers will be said at 10 in Harris Hill Chapel of Amigone Funeral Home Inc., 8840 Main St., Clarence.

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