Harold Lee Cheadle, Jr

First Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps
07 May 1944 - 23 August 1968
Cleveland, Ohio
Panel 47W Line 039


Hank Cheadle

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Harold Lee Cheadle, Jr

03 Mar 2004

Success according to Emerson is "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived." Hank Cheadle had succeeded in his life for Dorothy Lovey's life breathed easier because he had lived.

I just learned of this site a week ago. I entered my husband's name HAROLD LEE CHEADLE JR and found one two-year-old entry from one of his boyhood friends. It has been over 30 years and it still brought a flood of tears to my eyes. I was able to see him through another's eyes and described in a manner so very much of who he was. I did not know anyone who knew him in childhood other than his family. At the time of his death I wanted to hear every story I could hear about his short life. But those around me believed that speaking his name would just upset me, but what I desperately needed was to hear the stories, to hear how he affected others' lives as he had affected mine. Make him real; don't let his existence die with his body. But it was as if he never existed, just a figment of my imagination. So this entry affected me deeply.

I have a desire here to describe how he affected my life. There are few times in your life you can look back and say that your life made a major change in it's course. I can say that meeting and marrying Hank Cheadle dramatically changed my life.

Growing up in the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio, one is exposed to much of the ugliness of human frailty. School attendance was mostly one of survival as the teacher's attention is mostly in discipline and control, not in stimulating a young mind to their innate creativity, though being in school was a lot easier than being at home. The home was full of conflict, day-to-day struggle for sustenance, and adults who could barely care for themselves much less six hungry children.

Graduating from high school was a major accomplishment in my neighborhood and I then started a job in the mortgage loan department at Society National Bank. I met Hank at a party that he and his friends were giving at his high-rise apartment on Lake Erie. Later he came to my department as part of his training for a management job. He was 6'4" with a wide shouldered frame, well dressed, and walked with assuredness. His handsome face and soft gentle eyes covered with wire-rimmed glasses smiled frequently. He was soft-spoken, assertive, open, gentle, and extremely honest. He remembered me attending his party and remarked how impressed he was I did not participate in some of the shenanigans that occurred at that party. Most of the women in our department were very much enthralled with this handsome young man.

Imagine my surprise when this college educated young man asked me to a ball game. I was barely a high school graduate, from a disadvantaged background and 4'11" and he was interested in me. As the months passed he exposed me to things I had never heard of or done. For example, we went to a very expensive restaurant and I was confused by the array of utensils, of so many forks, spoons, knives, several plates, and several glasses. I was confused as to what each was used for. He gently described what each object was for. My spoken English was poor and without intimidation, in a gentle manner, he facilitated my development in speech and in so many other ways. He showed me love I had never known in my life, he became my mentor, brother, lover, friend and surrogate father. He helped me believe in my worth, though in all of my 18 years my only models thought less of themselves than they thought of their six children.

We married Feb 4, 1967 and Hank left for Vietnam August 1, 1968. August 29th I received a call from my mother to come to her house that afternoon. As I drove by mom's house, I noticed the green government car parked nearby, but on the main street. On walking towards my mom's house, a man dressed in uniform approached me on the street. He said "Mrs. Cheadle?" What I did next seemed strange at the time, but in retrospect, is reported by many who unconsciously suspect something horrible is about to happen. I turned around, walked away, and said "No". My thought was, "If I get away, what ever is about to happen won't happen" (I remember the same reaction while in labor many years later.) If I get away it will stop hurting." The captain touched my arm and said, "I would like you to come inside". I allowed myself to be led to my mother's door. My mother (who never cried) was at the door with tears in her eyes. I knew then it was worse than I could imagine and dropped to my knees trying not to go into the house, not to hear what he was about to tell me. "On August 23rd an 80-millimeter mortar had exploded in front of Hank Cheadle and he died instantly." I replied, "You must have mixed up his dog tags, it is someone else, and he is just hurt somewhere, right?" The captain, with a pensive painful expression answered, "No, we are sure it is him." I asked, "Did he suffer, was he in pain?" He assured me that he died immediately.

In order to believe in my soul his life was not in vain I attended college that I never envisioned would be available to this woman who barely made it through high school. To my surprise I did well and today have a Ph.D. in nursing and teach at Kent State University. There is not a doubt that if Hank Cheadle had never come into my life, I would have lived in the inner city, maybe with many children, and maintaining the day-to-day struggle my mother faced in my childhood. I try every day to make an impact in my student's lives, friends and family in accepting themselves and believing their worth. Hank's life was not in vain but I am angry at a world that would rather go to war than find another method of settling disputes.

"The measure of a life is not its duration but its donation." Walter Frommeyer, M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medical School, quoted when he was President, American Heart Association.

From his wife,
Dorothy (Cheadle) Lemmey

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 23 August 1968 entry in 1/9's After Action Report for Operation LANCASTER contains the following:
"At 1845 Company D at YD032625 received approximately 14 rounds of 82mm mortar fire. Counterfire was employed. Casualties numbered 1 USMC KIA."
1stLt Hank Cheadle was the single casualty.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his wife,
Dorothy Cheadle Lemmey
4 Mar 2004

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 02/01/2006