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“…we was two of one kind, we loved each other. And that made our marriage complete.”

Clara Gantt, the 94-year-old widow of U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Gantt, weeps in front of her husband's casket at Los Angeles International Airport. (Andrew Renneisen / For The Times)

Clara Gantt, the 94-year-old widow of U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Gantt, weeps in front of her husband’s casket at Los Angeles International Airport. (Andrew Renneisen / For The Times)


There’s a little dust in the air for this story. May God bless Mrs. Gantt and grant her some measure of piece now that her beloved is home.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Gantt told his wife to remarry if he didn’t come back from the war. She told him no. He had a hard enough time getting her to say yes when he proposed. He was it.

In 1950, Gantt went missing during combat in the Korean War. He was presumed dead, but Clara Gantt, now 94, held out hope and never remarried.

On Friday morning on the Los Angeles International Airport tarmac, the widow stood from her wheelchair and cried as her husband’s flag-draped casket arrived home. He was one of hundreds of U.S. soldiers whose remains have been turned over by the North Korean government in recent years.

“I told him I missed him so much,” she said softly. “And I expect him to come home and he didn’t.”

He never saw the house in Inglewood, just a few miles from where she greeted his remains. He hated yardwork, and never wanted the hassle of owning a home. She bought him one anyway and hired a gardener so he could do whatever he pleased when he came home to her.

A wall of her bedroom is covered with military certificates and photos — his barracks, him in front of a white picket fence during World War II, his father. A copy of her picture — the one he always kept with him — stands nearby. A teddy bear in army fatigues sits in her living room, near an American flag with his photo tucked into the glass display.

She’s afraid to hang his medals, which include the Bronze Star with Valor, awarded posthumously, and a Purple Heart, for fear they’d be stolen during one of many break-ins that have happened on the street where she’s lived since the 1960s. She would rather they be safe in a museum.

Gantt said she never stopped waiting for word, but she forged ahead with her own life. She worked for years as a caregiver for people with disabilities, as well as children. She and her husband had always wanted to have kids, and working with them gave her pleasure.

“I would just pray and ask the Lord to let me live until they find a closure for him so I can be here to put him away myself,” she said, wearing a dog tag with his photo printed on it given to her at the morning ceremony.

More at the link on Sgt. Gantt’s service and the couple.

4 comments to “…we was two of one kind, we loved each other. And that made our marriage complete.”

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