By Derek Redd, The Intelligencer
WHEELING, W.Va. — Jerry Genther wanted to honor his seven late older brothers and their service in the United States military with a small memoriam for Memorial Day. Yet behind those few words was a much deeper story about love and devotion to country.
All eight Genther brothers — Bill, Alfred, Carl, Gail, Paul, Richard, Bob and Jerry — joined the U.S. military. Jerry, now age 84, served in peacetime following the Korean War. The older seven served in either World War II or Korea or, in Gail’s case, both.
How all eight came to serve is a story in itself. The oldest brother, Bill, and the youngest, Jerry, were born 20 years apart — Bill in 1917 and Jerry in 1937. They were among 12 siblings, including four sisters. The Elm Grove family never lived in the same house at the same time.
“My dad, he lost the house during the Depression,” Jerry Genther said, “and there was no work.”
Some of the children went to foster homes. Some went to live with neighbors. Gail was adopted by another family and his last name became Brock. Some stayed with their parents. The Genthers’ mother died when Jerry was 9. He got his first job wiping down windows at the Elm Grove Drive-In to help make ends meet…