Stephenson, Raymond D. (635th)

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Biography:  Raymond Duane Stephenson, “Lefty”, was born on September 22, 1919, in Logan, Kansas. He was one of nine children born to Fred Virgil Stephenson and Cora Mae Buss and attended local schools through the 8th grade. He then left school to help on the family farm.

Service Time:  Lefty entered the Army in February 1941, and after his initial training was assigned to the 635th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 635th had been established on December, 15, 1941, at Camp Robertson, Arkansas, from the 35th Infantry Division Antitank Battalion (Provisional).

On June 4, 1942, while on leave from the unit, Lefty married the former Delpha Galene Corder, who was born in Norton, KS, and was the daughter of Marion Earnest Corder and Florence Delpha Case. The new couple would make their home in Norton and have a son, Rex, born in 1943.

The unit shipped out from the New York port on February 9, 1944, and arrived in Liverpool, England, on February 19th. After a few months of additional training, they boarded transports and landed at Omaha Beach on June 8th.

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The 635th advanced through northern France and Belgium and then operated in the Roetgen-Aachen sector and Hürtgen Forest during autumn. They transferred to Belgium on December 22nd during the Battle of the Bulge and returned to the Aachen area in January to support the drive toward the Rhine River near Cologne.

Raymond D. Stephenson 4They were transferred to the Seventh Army and almost immediately to Third Army on April 1st, 1945. Crossing the Rhine at Mannheim, they advanced through central Germany to Austria. The unit was credited with the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Lefty was discharged on July 26th from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, at the rank of Sergeant. He received the American Defense Service and the Good Conduct ribbons.

Now back in the U.S., Lefty worked as a body shop repairman and later as a Repair Manager for a automotive collision shop, until his retirement in 1986. In his spare time, he enjoyed hunting and fishing and played farm club baseball into his mid-thirties. He was also a member of the American Legion and got involved in local politics. Lefty and Galene would have three more children, Dana, born in 1947, Terry in 1958, and Cherry in 1958. 

Lefty passed away on February 15, 2021, and was cremated. I want to thank Lefty’s grandson, Kyle, for providing the information and photos used in this tribute and additional photos of men from the 635th.

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