Wilburn Wesley Finch was born Nov. 12, 1917, in Eden Prairie, Minn., the second son of John W. Finch and Ethel Noyes. He spent his youth growing up in Eden Prairie and was a member of the Eden Prairie Presbyterian Church. His elder brother, Manton, was killed in a shooting accident at the age of 16.
After graduating from high school, he moved to Minneapolis, where he worked for the WPA. On May 15, 1939, he married Laurice Anna Hofstrand of Deerwood, Minn. and the couple had two children, Richard Waylon and Kathlyn Ann. Richard died of a long-term illness at the age of 15.
Wilburn spent three years in the Minnesota State Guard before being inducted into the Army on active duty on Dec. 21, 1943. Upon completion of training at Camp Blandings, Fla., he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, Company H, 22nd Infantry Regiment.
On March 15, 1945, his regiment was deployed to overseas duty. While under fire from a heavy German rocket barrage, he was killed in action in the vicinity of Rensbach, Germany on April 18, 1945, just 20 days before victory in Europe. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
Today his legacy lives on through his daughter, his five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson. His second grandson, Michael Edward Mace, followed in his grandfather's footsteps by serving eight years in the Army, with two tours of duty in Germany. He gave some; his grandfather gave all.
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