Salute To Service
Local Woman Honors 58 Family Members Who Served
The Tellinghuisen/Lanphere family tree goes hand-in-hand with military history. Dating back to the Civil War, a local family has had at least one family member involved in each major U.S war.
Jamestown native Sandra Tellinghuisen, formerly Lanphere, over the last few months compiled information on these family members through her passion of genealogy. She started genealogical research with her husband, George, many years ago. Tellinghuisen found family members from her family tree and her husband’s family tree who had served in some capacity in the military.
In total, she found there were at least 58 relatives who served. She got the idea to honor the many veterans in her family after she and one of her sons helped coordinate a dinner for the volunteer firemen in their family.
“This is my way to honor them,” Tellinghuisen said.
Tellinghuisen’s father and several uncles served in World War II which would subsequently force her to learn of war through stories she heard as a child.
Her father, Clarence James Lanphere served in the U.S. Army as a member of the 82nd Airborne Company from 1943-1946 for the duration of the war plus an additional six months after Europe was liberated, he also served in Africa during WWII.
“The men didn’t talk about the war,” Tellinghuisen said.
Occasionally, when Tellinghuisen was younger, children would go unnoticed in the back of the room and hear war stories as told by her uncles. While the stories would often be gruesome, and stories she admittedly probably shouldn’t have heard, she understood the sacrifice they made.
One story she heard about her father was that during his tour in Europe, specifically in France and Germany, her father came across a baby. The baby’s family had presumably lost their lives during the war. Sandra’s father, Clarence, and his troupe saved the baby and carried it to the next closest hospital.
Tellinghuisen also had a brother, Harold Allen Lanphere who served in Vietnam and a son, Randy James Tellinghuisen who served in the Army from 1980-93.
George’s side of the family has just as storied a military history.
George Tellinghuisen’s uncle, Oscar Tellinghuisen, flew 33 missions over the course of three months during WWII. During those missions, Oscar would be forced to bomb Poznan, Poland that was occupied by German forces at the time. The irony of this bombing mission in particular was that Poznan, Poland happened to be the birth place of Oscar’s mother, something he didn’t tell her for awhile.
Another relative, James G. Burdick, Sandra Tellinghuisen’s cousin, served 35 years in the US Air Force from 1965-2001. Burdick wrote to his cousin when she was gathering information and expressed his thoughts about servicemen and women.
“American soldiers soon realize they are not being trained to fight but rather to protect, defend and preserve the individual freedoms that our constitution affords us all as citizens of the United States of America,” Burdick said. “The old adage, ‘life without freedom is no life at all, it is merely an existence,’ is what always kept me motivated and focused. It was an honor to serve.”
Tellinghuisen’s family members who served include grandparents, uncles, parents, cousins, nephews, nieces and children. While Tellinghuisen couldn’t find information on all of her relatives who served, she found as many of them who served as she could.
“I’ve just been so interested in honoring these people that have served in the military and how can you really honor these people? You can’t,” she said.
Regardless, Tellinghuisen felt that compiling a list of names and as many photos as possible was all that she could do.
“They felt it was important to save their country,” she said. “And so they did.”