Clarence Holbeck, 97, of Corsica

CORSICA — Clarence Clair Holbeck, 97, of Corsica, passed peacefully Friday, March 2, 2018, at the Good Samaritan Center in Corsica.
A memorial service to celebrate his life and to honor his military service will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 9, at the United Church of Christ in Armour. Full military rites and burial will follow at the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Armour.
Clarence, also known to friends and family as C.C., was born October 25, 1920, on the family farm southwest of Armour to his parents, Fred and Antonia (Skorpik) Holbeck. He was the youngest of seven children. He attended West Howard Country School No. 4 in Charles Mix County, and he recalled fond memories of riding his pony to school in fair weather or riding with siblings in a horse drawn sleigh in winter.
Following the attack upon Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the U.S. entry into World War II, Clarence enlisted in the United States Army at age 21. After completing basic training at Fort Robinson, Ark., he was assigned to the U.S. Army’s 32nd Red Arrow Division. Clarence was deployed overseas to Camp Cable in Brisbane, Australia January, 1943. There he received amphibious and jungle-warfare training before the Red Arrow’s reinsertion into New Guinea.
He was assigned to the Ammunitions and Pioneer Platoon as a demolitions expert on ENGR engineering and flame thrower operations. He rose to the rank of First Sergeant of Headquarter Company 1st Battalion. Clarence served in combat duty with the 126th Regimental Combat Team (126th RCT) of the 32nd Division who performed an amphibious landing at Finschhafen on the Island of New Guinea and fanned out to fight its way southward to recapture the village of Milne Bay and northward to capture the villages of Saidor and Aitape. On November 14, 1944, the 32nd reinforced the amphibious assault at Leyte Gulf on the Philippine Island of Leyte.  On January 9, 1945 the Red Arrow Division joined Allied Forces to land on the Philippine Island of Luzon. Continuing their fight to the capital city of Manila, U.S. forces freed the Philippine Islands from Japanese control.
Clarence was awarded the Bronze Star for his courage and initiative in combat in destroying a Japanese ambush at Breakneck Ridge near Limon, Leyte Island. He also received the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze star, the WWII Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was discharged with the rank of Master Sergeant on November 7, 1945.
Soon after arriving stateside, Clarence moved to Chicago to work for the mechanical division of Kraft Cheese Co. He returned to Armour where he met Jane Aardappel at a dance. Their courtship continued, and in 1949, Clarence purchased the Chrysler Plymouth Automobile dealership in Armour and renamed it “C.C. Holbeck Motors.”  Clarence and Jane were united in marriage December 31, 1949, at the Armour Congregational Church.
In 1951 the U.S. Army Military Reserve reactivated Clarence as Master Sergeant and assigned him to Camp Cooke in Santa Barbara, Calif. (now Vandenberg Air Force Base). Clarence and Jane sold their auto dealership in Armour and moved to California where he helped train new recruits for combat in the Korean War. 
Upon his return to Armour, Clarence began a farming operation tilling the same soil his father, Fred had homesteaded in 1902. He continued farming with his son, Scott and eventually alongside his grandsons. Even at the age of 87, Clarence was still actively farming, and he was happiest operating the combine during harvest season. 
Clarence served on the Armour City Council for twelve years and the United Church of Christ Church boards for several years.  He was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. 
Clarence is survived by his four children, Beverly (Garlan) Bigge of Huron, Betty (Rob) Floersheim of Sunnyvale, Calif., Barbara (George) Nicholas of Huron, and Scott (Tami) Holbeck of Armour; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Jane; four brothers and two sisters.
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