CROSSVILLE — Recently, three World War II veteran friends of mine passed away. They being of the "Greatest Generation" of Americans, many local residents didn't know much about them until their passing (obit). I wanted to write something so that many of our mutual friends would remember them and how much they contributed to our society. All were Crossville residents and friends of many. These are their stories.
Harry E. LeGrand Sr.
Harry E. LeGrand Sr., 95, passed away March 21. A native of North Carolina, he graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in geology.
He entered the U.S. Army after graduation and was part of the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. He told a story about lying in the snow during the Battle of the Bulge pretending he was dead, since the Germans were kicking all bodies lying around and shooting those that moved or groaned. One cannot imagine what went through his mind during this part of his war.
He came back from the war and was assigned to the First Army and attained the rank of captain. When he was discharged, he met and married Undine Nye in 1946 at Fort Lincoln, MD. Undine and her son's family live in Crossville, and they have another son who lives in North Carolina.
Harry had a wonderful career as a groundwater scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for 30 years. After that career he was employed as a consulting hydrogeologist in the U.S. and overseas. He had over 100 published reports and scientific papers in national and international journals related to groundwater issues.
In his retirement years, he consulted and traveled throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries. He was recognized by the Senate of the United States Dec. 18, 2012, in the Congressional Record (Vol. 158, dtd 12-18-12, No. 163) for contributing and recording the data he gathered of the fractured igneous and metamorphic rock in the Piedmont of North Carolina and discovered a useful system locating high yielding wells based on topography and soil thickness.
Harry didn't stop there as he continued in pursuit of under researched areas of hydrogeology. Harry turned his attention to the Karst Commission of the International Association of Hydrogeology establishing the basis, which had useful generalizations for worldwide applications. He wrote a report that serves as a master groundwater conceptual model for the igneous and metamorphic terrain of North Carolina, which is still in use today. His legacy might be introducing others to the underground waterscape that exists beneath our feet and inspiring future generations to continue to explore the natural world in which we live.
I visited with Harry many days at 6:15 a.m. as he ate breakfast, reading the Crossville Chronicle and sharing some stories with friends at the 19th Hole Restaurant at Lake Tansi. He was a talented storyteller, great poet and shared these gifts with us on many occasions. He was of the "Greatest Generation" of Americans and I salute, miss him and hold him close to my heart.