The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 23, 2011

County’s oldest WWII veteran dies at 100

Few people live to be 100 years old, and even fewer can claim to have had a lifetime as remarkable as that of Frank Lutz.

Just two months after his centennial birthday celebration, Lutz — Limestone County’s oldest World War II-era veteran — died Wednesday.

In addition to being survived by an older sister, three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, he is also survived by his wife of 66 years and fellow wartime hero, Nell Lutz.

Frank Lutz was born Oct. 4, 1911, in Spangler, Pa. A lifelong outdoorsman and lover of natural history, he would explore the woods around his boyhood home in New Jersey. He and his family established the nation’s first self-guided nature trail at Harriman State Park in Tuxedo, N.Y.

“He was a naturalist from way back,” said his son, Tom Lutz of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. “He was extremely interested in natural history, birds and plants. Bankhead Natural Forest was one of his favorite haunts.”

After attending public schools in Ramsey, N.J., he continued his schooling at Phillips Exeter Academy. In 1933, he graduated from Brown University with a degree in chemistry.

After working in the textile industry in Millville, N.J., he enlisted with the U.S. Navy during World War II. It was in Portsmouth, Va., where Lt. Junior Grade Frank Lutz met his future wife, Nell Smith. A Florida native, she had enlisted as a WAVE, or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.

In a story published in The News Courier in 2009, Nell said she was an assistant paymaster at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, and Frank always arrived promptly to collect his paycheck.

“One day we were both on the bus and we got to talking about fishing and I said I just love to go fishing, but I didn’t have a canoe,” said Nell. “He said he had a canoe. Then one day he turned up at my work with a canoe and asked if I was ready to go fishing.”

Text Only
Local News


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee