Leroy A. Madison
Biography: Leroy A. Madison was born on July 15, 1921, in New York City. He was the only son of Leroy Magnusson and Inez Fagregren and graduated from local schools in New York City. His enlistment record identifies that he had attended one year of college and worked at some type of machine shop occupation. He was also a member of the National Guard.
Service Time: Leroy entered the service on November 11, 1942, at New York City. He was assigned to C Company of the 774th Tank Destroyer Battalion and trained with them until they were called up for overseas duty.
In May of 1944, while on leave, Leroy married the former Dorothea Coffey just prior to shipping out. She had been born in New York City also and was the daughter of John Coffey and Elizabeth Caddell. During the war, Dorothea worked for the U.S. War Department.
On June 3, 1944, the 774th shipped out from the New York port and arrived at Gourock, Scotland on the 12th. Two months later, they would board transports and land at Utah Beach on August 7th.
Just prior to leaving the U.S., the unit had converted to the towed 3" gun and it was that weapon they used when they joined the fighting around Argentan. They ran eastward across France to Lorraine as part of a cavalry screen with the 7th Armored Division. The 774th participated in fighting around Metz starting in September and fought along the Saar in December. They then joined the rush north to the Ardennes and converted to the M36 in late February 1945.
The unit history identifies that Leroy functioned as one of the unit's wiremen. Leroy, Cpl. Joe Gerstenbleth and Sgt. Whidden, worked with their assistants, Eddy Hill, Maxwell, Tankersley and Wilkerson to keep the communication lines operational between the components of the unit. The communication section of C Company had been praised for their efforts from France to Germany. It was noted that the lines were always in quickly and never down for any length of time even though they were many times under constant enemy shell fire.
Driving to the Rhine in March, the 774th held the Rhine west of the Ruhr Pocket in April, and then took on military government duties. Leroy was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He also received credit for each of the unit's campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. He left the service at the rank of Corporal.
After returning to the U.S., and his hometown of New York City, Leroy went back to school, attending the Pratt Institute, the Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League. He and Dorothea would have three children, Paul, Kurt and Christine.
Leroy found work as a graphic artist for the firms J.W. Thompson and Sperry Hutchinson. He also worked as a set designer for television programs. In 1967, he was hired by the Potsdam College as Director of Graphic Arts and Photography. He retired in 1987, as Professor Emeritus, signifying his distinguished career. He was also know for being an award winning watercolor artist. An example of his work is shown at left.
In his spare time, he enjoyed summers camping with his family in the Adirondacks and in their later years, he toured the Western U.S. with his wife in their trailer.
Leroy passed away on July 31, 2010, and was buried in the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, in Sarasota, New York. I want to thank Bill Preston for providing the grave marker photo.