Saturday’s fundraising breakfast at the Washington Township Consolidated School, originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18 but cancelled for bad weather, must have caused some pent up demand because by 7:15 a.m. there was a long line of folks hungry for pancakes and eggs, biscuits and gravy, hash browns and sausage.
The crowd was also turning out in support of local favorite Joy Neal Kidney, author of the recently published “Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family in World War II,” which recounts the history of the five Wilson brothers from Minburn who served in World War II and the three who never returned.
Neal Kidney, who was recovering from shoulder surgery, signed books and chatted with local supporters in the lunchroom of the old school. She donated all sales of her book to the Washington Township Consolidated School Preservation Committee.
Harry “Junior” Brewer of Adel told Neal Kidney that he used to ride the schoolbus with two of her uncles, Danny Wilson and Junior Wilson. Daniel S. Wilson, later a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force at 21, was killed in action in Austria in February 1945 while flying a P-38 [fighter plane]. Claiborne Junior Wilson, 20, was a flight officer in the U.S. [Army] Air Force when he was killed in formation training in Texas in 1945 while flying in [formation in a] P-40 Warhawk.
The third Wilson brother to die in service to America was Dale R. Wilson, a 22-year-old second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force declared missing in action Nov. 27, 1943, near Wewak, Papua New Guinea.
Neal Kidney’s mother, Doris Wilson Neal, was a sister to the fallen airmen. The two eldest Wilson brothers, Delbert and Donald, joined the U.S. Navy and survived the war. Doris Wilson’s younger sister, Darlene, was Dale’s twin.
The image of the five Wilson brothers was dedicated on the Dallas County Freedom Rock in an Oct. 19, 2019, ceremony.