World War II veteran, Vienna Gold Star hero Ray Linch dies at 94

Junior Ray Linch

PARKERSBURG — A local World War II veteran who was a guard at the Nuremberg trials for war crimes has passed away.

Junior Ray Linch, 94, of Vienna, died Wednesday, two days after his wife Etheleene died on Monday.

“He was one of our Gold Star heroes,” Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said.

Linch is among the five servicemen on the Gold Star monument located off River Road at Spencer’s Landing.

Vienna resident Bernie Lyons, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he’s heard Linch many times recount his experiences at Nuremberg. The allies convened the first international war crimes trials in history to mete justice for atrocities.

“He spoke of it often and did a lot of speeches to kids and other groups,” Lyons said. “He was one heck of a fine gentleman.”

Linch was drafted after graduating from high school in 1945. After two months in France, he was sent to Germany and was among those selected to be military police for the war crimes trials in Nuremberg.

“In September 1946, tension was at an all-time high around the Palace of Justice due to the hardcore Nazis being housed and tried there,” Linch said in a story about himself. “The 793rd MP Unit I was a part of was tested to the maximum. We saw much action maintaining security and law and order in the nine-block area around the Palace of Justice that we had been asked to secure and guard.”

A lot of history passes with Linch’s death, Rapp said.

“He was a good man,” he said.

With Linch’s death, the only survivor on the Gold Star monument is Carl F. “Rick” Raab IV, who served in the U.S. Army, Rapp said. The other three are Amos Glenn Henson, U.S. Marine Corps, Shirey Lionel “Mac” McMurray, U.S. Army, and Jack A. Nohe, U.S. Air Force.

Linch was a retired pressroom supervisor for The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. He is survived by a daughter, a son, four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

A combined funeral service for Linch and his wife Etheleene will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Vaughan-Kimes Funeral Home on Fifth Street. Visitation is 6-8 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Military honors will be provided by American Legion Post 15.


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