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Clarence Ennis Olds

Posted: Monday, Dec 3rd, 2012

Clarence Ennis Olds passed away on November 24th, 2012 at Watsonville Community Hospital after a sudden stroke on the 23rd. He was 92 years young. Active and out going right up to his last days, he lived at Watsonville Residential Care facility (at the site of the old Watsonville Hospital) for the past two and a half years following the unexpected death of his son, Steven, in 2010. He had a very enjoyable and fun Thanksgiving Day dinner. Clarence, who always went by his middle name of Ennis due to his father having the same name, was born on June 9th, 1920 in Indiana. While still a baby, his parents, Clarence and Anna Olds, emigrated to California. They made their home at an old farm outside Castroville where he grew up. He attended and graduated from the old 2 Room schoolhouse (elementary) in Elkhorn before going on to attend and graduate from Monterey Union High School on June 8th, 1939. On December 4th, 1941, Ennis was inducted into the U. S. Army at the Presidio in Monterey for what was supposed to be a one year stint. "3 days later, it was for the duration plus 6 months" as he would dryly say in later years. On December 15th, 1941 "Pvt. Clarence E. Olds Jr." was assigned to the "AMRD FORCE REPL TNG CEN" (Third Armored Division, also known as "Spearhead") at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He would eventually be assigned to Reconnaissance and see a lot of action. The Third Armored Division would be involved in 6 major battles, 4 of which are still talked about today: Normandy, Battle for Northern France, Battle of the Bulge and East of the Rhine. Among Third Armored Division's accomplishments were, the first to fire an artillery shell at German soil on September 10, 1944; the first division unit to cross the German border east of Eupen at 1451 hours, September 12, 1944; First to take a German town (Roetgen) on September 13, 1944; first to breach the Siegfried Line "in the vicinity of Scheidmuchle, Germany on September 13, 1944; and the first to shoot down an enemy plane from German soil on September 18, 1944. It's most memorable accomplishment was the "Seine to Siegfried in 18 Days" run at the core of the German Wermacht. Ennis earned a Purple Heart for his heroism and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. Of all the moments in the war, the two he talked the most of was the unloading of 16 armored cars and vehicles from the transporter at Normandy in under a minute - earning a salute from the British captain at the time, and the massive bombing of St. Lo in France, where he said his pants legs shook for hours due to the intensity. Clarence Ennis Olds was a Sergeant by time of his discharge. Upon discharge, he returned home and would later make Watsonville his home for most of his remaining life. He would meet, and later marry, Nancy Dunken. They would later separate, but not until after having two children, Debra Wafford of Watsonville and Steven Olds, now deceased. He was a proud member of the Teamsters Union and worked for most of his post-war life as a truck driver for Hildebrand trucking of Watsonville. Upon retiring, he would move to Twain Harte area near Sonora, but returned to Watsonville in the mid 2000's. Upon the unexpected death of his son Steven, he moved into Watsonville Residential Care in 2010, where he led an active life going out for lunch and other activities almost every day. Besides his daughter, Debra (Len) Wafford of Watsonville, he is also survived by his sister Mary Savage of Watsonville, and his three grand children, Eric Wafford of Santa Cruz, Erin (David) Camphouse of Oregon, and Morgan Kultala of Northern California. among other relatives. Services for this quiet but fun loving man will be held at Ave Maria Memorial Chapel at 609 Main St., Watsonville on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 at 1:00 PM. A short two hour viewing will be held at the same location from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM that day. Grave side services will be held at Pajaro Memorial Park on Hwy 152 following the main service with a reception to honor him at California Grill in Freedom at approximately 3:00 PM. Donations can be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project.

For the complete article see the 12-01-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-01-2012 paper.

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