P.F.C. James Logan DeMarsche
James Logan DeMarsche was born at Rosebud, South Dakota, on October 23, 1921. He and his family moved to Lead, South Dakota, when he was five. In 1928 James Demarsche entered the Lead Public Schools. In 1936 James entered Lead High School. Demarsche left in the middle of his senior year of high school to work at the Pioneer Times newspaper in Deadwood. He worked there as a correspondent for one and a half years.
James belonged to the Quill and Scroll Club in high school, which was a club for those who excelled in shorthand and typing. He broke the state record for taking shorthand, at 120 words a minute. He played the tuba and violin in school band and orchestra; he was also a great basketball player. His family was surprised when he chose music over basketball.
In July of 1940 James DeMarsche enlisted in Co. E, 109 Engineers, South Dakota National Guard. James was discharged in November of 1940 to accept a Civil Service appointment as a clerk and stenographer for the War Department for ten months. After that Demarsche returned to Lead to finish high school. In May of 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. With the rank of Private First Class, James graduated from Marine Radio School.
In November of 1942, P.F.C. DeMarsche went overseas. He was wounded in the assault on Tarawa Island and died of wounds on November 21, 1943. DeMarsche was awarded the Purple Heart and the Asiatic-Pacific campaign medal posthumously. James L. DeMarsche is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Although according to the decklog of the USS Zeilin APA-3, Demarche "Died of gunshot wounds and buried at sea at 1100 hrs. Sunday 21 November 1943."
His sister, Alma Edlund, remembers James:
Jim was a happy-go-lucky sort and was up on all the latest ‘knock-knock’ jokes and the latest popular songs and was happy to teach them to my sister and I while helping us with the dishes. Upon his return from Washington, DC, he taught us to ‘jitterbug’ which was the latest dance step.
South Dakota WWII Memorial website: Patrick Hurley, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 11, 1999, for researching Pfc. DeMarshe for the South Dakota WWII Memorial website. Information for this entry was provided by Alma L. Edlund, sister of James, and Joseph and Ronald DeMarsche, brothers of James DeMarsche.
Decklog USS Zeilin APA-3; Don Allen, "Betio Cemetary: Tarawa's Missing in Action," Follow Me, September-October 2003.
copyright 2003 T.O.T.W.
Created 18 January 2003 - Updated 2 October 2003