Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
Gold Star Biographies
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|1st Lt. Alfred K. Gymer
January 15, 1890 - August 27, 1918
Among his college friends, Alfred K. Gymer was affectionately known as "Reliable Alf." A fraternity brother who knew him intimately, said of him: "Clean to the bone is the way I found and remember him." He did not perform valiant deeds on the fields of France, but his whole life was heroic. His goal in life was high; his ambitions were noble, and obstacles only stimulated him to further effort. Alfred Kelloud Gymer, the only Evansville doctor who died in the service of his country, was born January 15, 1890, at Earlington, Ky. He was not a year old when he was brought to Howell. His elementary education was received in the public schools of Howell. He completed his secondary education in the Evansville High School in 1907. His ambition in life was a medical career. However, after graduating from high school, he took a teacher's training course at the Marion, (Ind) Normal School, and later taught school for one term. Before he began his medical studies he was identified with several of the leading firms of this city. He was a yard clerk and locomotive fireman for the L. & N. Railroad, and was later employed as a stockkeeper by the Hercules Buggy Co. When the Bucyrus Company converted its machinery for the production of howitzers, Gymer was engaged as a shell inspector. At the Louisville Medical School, Alfred K. Gymer was popular among the students. He was a Mason, and a member of the Phi Beta Pi Fraternity. It was three months before his graduation when the government called for volunteers in the medical department of the navy. Gymer was among the first to volunteer his services. Because of strenuous work during his student days he was under weight, and consequently he was rejected. When he received his M.D. he served as intern in the St. Mary's hospital for one year. He was then appointed as a member of the staff of the state hospital at Kalamazoo, Mich. When his number, 128. was called in the draft he returned to Howell, and left on the first train of selectives for Camp Taylor. He did not remain a private very long. When his medical training became known he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and was made a member of the examining board. On August 15, 1918, he fell ill with tonsilitis. He was removed to the base hospital for treatment, so that he could accompany his division which left that week. How- ever, pneumonia developed, and death claimed him on August 27, 1918, at Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio. His body was sent to Evansville, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. In a report to the Secretary of War, General Pershing included the following description of the fighting in which Elmer S. Harper participated: "It was the fortune of the two corps, composed of the 27th and 30th Divisions, which had remained with the British, to have a place of honor in co-operation with Australian Corps on September 29. and October 1 in the assault on the Hindenburg Line where the St. Quentin Canal passes through a tunnel under a ridge. The 30th Division speedily broke through the main line of defense for all its obectives. In the midst of the maze of trenches and shell craters and under cross-fire from machine guns the other elements fought desperately against odds. The spirit and aggressiveness of these divisions have been highly praised by the British army commander, under whom they served." _____ Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record, Compiled by Heiman Blatt, Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920 pp77-78.
October 25, 1998