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September 2011


The Batavia American Legion Post 504 carried out a special order of business Tuesday when they rolled out the accolades for a beloved comrade: World War II veteran John Nuckles.

Nuckles, 90, is the longest-serving member of the post, which was founded in 1920.

Nuckles’ fellow comrades described him as a “forceful recruiter” and the “glue” that has kept the organization active, as well as someone who is always thinking of the other person.

“The Post wouldn’t still be going if it weren’t for John,” said Terry Taylor, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran. “Like a lot of veterans organizations, we’re reaching the end of our members.”

World War II veteran Tony Cammarato, 87, said he relocated to Batavia in 1993 and was interested in joining a veterans organization. “I got a knock on my door from John,” Cammarato said.

Nuckles enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served as a gunner’s mate second class on a merchant ship. He received an honorable discharge in 1945. He’s been a member of Post 504 for 61 years.

Dave Jordan, senior vice-commander, said Nuckles has held every position in the post. He’s served as commander three times, sold poppies and still collects membership dues.

On Tuesday, 20 of the organization’s members suspended the regular order of business to recognize Nuckles for his lifetime commitment and tireless dedication to the American Legion.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke presented a proclamation expressing the community’s appreciation for the veteran’s “life work of patriotic service and support for the well-being of military veterans in every branch of the military.”

The American Legion’s Commander Bob Zeman presented Nuckles with another plaque recognizing his “loyalty, devoted service and leadership” in upholding principles of the organization.

Veterans, family and friends — including the physician’s nurse who delivered five of his six children — gathered at the Batavia VFW Canteen at 645 S. River St.

“I was wondering why everyone was here,” Nuckles said. “I worked on the gun guard on a merchant ship, and the first trip we made was to Casablanca. We were there when Churchill and Roosevelt had a conference.”

He recalled serving in the Navy for three years and two months.

Nuckles grew up on a farm in Sycamore, where he recently attended his 51-year one-room schoolhouse reunion. Nuckles’ wife of 62 years, Phyllis, died last year. He has eight grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

“Dad’s always an American Legion member,” daughter Janet Brandenburg said. “It is something he believes in. He believes in his country and patriotism. He believes in everything the American Legion stands for.”

Update to this story

John William Nuckles

September 2, 1921 - March 27, 2014


John William Nuckles, 92, of Batavia, passed away peacefully Thursday, March 27, 2014 at his home.  He was born on September 2, 1921 in Fraziers Bottom, WV to John and Elsie (Wood) Nuckles.  He was united in marriage to Phyllis Loughridge on October 2, 1948 in Hampshire, IL.

John is a veteran of World War II serving as a Gunners Mate Second Class in the U.S Navy from 1942 until 1945.  Following his service time he resided in Sycamore area to farm with his uncle.  For the vast majority of his life he has lived in Batavia where he raised his loving family.  Being a proud veteran John was always looking for opportunities to serve his country and community.  He was a 63 year member of the Batavia American Legion and VFW Post 1197 and a 50 year member of the Batavia Moose Lodge.     

He is survived by his children Joyce (Teddy) Teasley of Poplar Bluff, MO, Janet Brandenburg of Batavia, Carol Crabtree of Elgin, Ronald Nuckles, of Batavia and Randall Nuckles of DeKalb; grandchildren Carey, Jeannie, Cassandra, Roger Jr., Nick, Tyler and Monica; eight great-grandchildren; a great-great-grandson; and three sister-in-laws Darlene Stoffa, Jackie Nuckles, and Bert Nuckles.    

In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by, his wife Phyllis, a son Roger Nuckles; a grandson Danny B. Teasley; and his siblings Virginia, Mary, Marjorie, Norman and Arthur.