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From: "Dorothy Muirhead" <>
Subject: Re: [GEN-NYS] Looking for next of kin: military memorial forCapt.Lawrence Celmer, Amsterdam
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 10:30:36 -0600
References: <>

Going in on Whitepages and just putting in the name Celmer I found 5 in NY
and three in NJ. Any idea of his wife"s name. Dorothy
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Sullivan" <>
To: <>; <>; "A LISTSERV
list for discussions pertaining to New York State history."
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:12 AM
Subject: [GEN-NYS] Looking for next of kin: military memorial for
Capt.Lawrence Celmer, Amsterdam

> By Heather Nellis, Recorder News Staff 1/17/12
> In April, fallen U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Lawrence J. Celmer of
> Amsterdam will be honored for his ultimate sacrifice at a plaque
> dedication ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in
> Quantico, Va.
> But the surviving members of Celmer's Marine Corps Basic Class of 1963
> at the College of the Holy Cross want to share that ceremony with
> Celmer's relatives, and are hoping some will come forward so they can
> be personally invited.
> For the past three months, retired Marine Colonel Edward A. Cercone
> has worked tirelessly in hopes of finding Celmer's kin, but to no
> avail.
> "We are trying to identify any living relatives, no matter how
> distant, of Capt. Celmer, to advise them of this memorial for their
> information, and to inquire about their possible interest in attending
> the dedication," Cercone said.
> Celmer was 26 years old when he was killed on March 18, 1967. He
> suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his upper left chest while carrying
> out a search and destroy mission at the province of Quang Ngai during
> the Vietnam War.
> The only child of former Amsterdam Police Chief Andrew Celmer,
> Lawrence "Larry" Celmer's death was widely publicized by the local
> media, including the Recorder. It still mentioned his name several
> years after his military funeral, like when a local fellow serviceman
> was killed, or when the city's Rotary Club would dole out a
> scholarship in Celmer's name.
> His mother, Valeria, died in 1978, and the former chief passed in
> 1992, and the trio are buried together in the St. Stanislaus Cemetery
> in Amsterdam.
> But classmates are hoping there may be some distant relation to the
> small family that was once so high profile their name was regularly
> printed by the local paper, often when the chief would comment on the
> city's crime, or even Larry's name, as it appeared frequently with
> childhood friend Donald Popielarz, including a wedding announcement
> when Celmer was the best man at Popielarz's wedding in August 1962.
> It wasn't the first time Celmer stood up for a friend getting married;
> he did the same for four-year Holy Cross college roommate Paul O'Keefe
> several weeks after graduating college.
> O'Keefe remembered his "good friend" Larry in their college glory days
> as "a very outgoing, personable and social type of person -- in
> contrast to me, but never the less, he was very friendly, he had a lot
> of friends and he was very popular."
> He said they became college roommates "by pure luck," as O'Keefe's
> father was an insurance adjuster who worked regularly with Chief
> Andrew Celmer through his police work.
> "They used to have lunch together, and somewhere along the line, they
> realized both of us were going to Holy Cross. We were both given
> admission on the late side, so they didn't have enough housing on
> campus, so we lived in a private home off campus. But we got along
> fine, and ended up rooming together the next three years."
> Celmer was graduate of the Wilbur H. Lynch High School who would later
> study chemical engineering at the Worcester, Mass. college, and
> O'Keefe said the roommates were "hard-pressed by our studies."
> "We both had to work very hard to do reasonably well. We were immersed
> in our studies, and by our senior year, we eased up and had some fun,"
> O'Keefe remembered.
> Gloversville native Dominick Izzo said similar social calendars are
> what brought him and Celmer together their sophomore year of college,
> and though they never knew each other until their undergraduate
> schooling, Izzo started picking up Celmer in his car when the pair
> would drive to Massachusetts.
> "We all went to the same college, and we were all in the same Navy
> ROTC program together," Izzo said. "He was one of the funniest people
> I've ever met in my entire life. We didn't have frat houses at
> college, but we made up the difference at big weekends. Our social
> calendars were very much intertwined for three years; we liked the
> same kind of girls ... Every single day for three years, we did
> something, or chatted, or argued about politics, or talked about
> sports."
> Izzo said one of "the most shocking days of my life" was the day he
> learned Celmer had been killed in battle. He said he was watching the
> news with his wife and three young children.
> It was Celmer's second tour in Vietnam. The Amsterdam Evening Recorder
> reported his death three days later, noting Celmer was believed to
> have died almost instantaneously.
> It would take nearly 12 days for his body to return to the city,
> enough time for the chief and his wife to drive back from their
> vacation spot in Florida to their Sanford Avenue home.
> The March 21, 1967 paper reported Celmer's death as the seventh area
> Marine to die in that war zone, the village where he died about 50
> miles south of the large Marine base at Chu Lai.
> Celmer had completed his required tour of duty in Vietnam and had
> volunteered for another year of war zone duty, where he was a marine
> search and destroy company commander at the time he was mortally
> wounded, the paper reads.
> "The last letter Larry sent to me in 1966 said he wanted to go into
> action, that he was volunteering to go to Vietnam," Izzo said. And
> despite the national controversy that erupted as the war escalated
> into the late 1960s, "when I look back, Larry's death was such a loss,
> it's so frustrating, but I don't think it was done in vain. He did
> what he wanted to do.
> "I pray for him every day," Izzo said. "That's how close I felt to
> him. It's tough to forget someone like that."
> And to his classmates, he'll never be forgotten. In addition to his
> name engraved on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., he'll be
> forever idolized with eight of his college classmates on a plaque that
> will be dedicated in April.
> Relatives interested in the ceremony, or anyone interested in
> providing further information, can reach out to Cercone by calling
> (703) 323-6358 or emailing .
> Contact Heather Nellis at
> --
> Bob Sullivan
> Schenectady Digital History Archive
> <>;
> Schenectady County (NY) Public Library
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