The North Bend Eagle

 

 

Pain of life lost still remembered 100 years later

Mary Le Arneal
Published 5/22/19

Stan Shavlik buried his wife Jean last August. The death brought memories of an uncle he never knew, one who died Oct. 16, 1918, in the waning weeks of World War I.

Stan and Jacob
Stan Shavlik holds a portrait of his uncle Jacob Blatny. A Linwood native, Blatny died in World War I just over 100 years ago.

Jacob Blatny, the brother of Shavlik’s mother, grew up on the family farm near Linwood. He was attending tractor and auto school in Lincoln when he was drafted July 21, 1917, his 23rd birthday.
He was called to duty on Sept. 21, trained at Camp Funston, Kansas, then was stationed with Co. E 4th Infantry at Camp Stuart, Virginia, Feb. 26, 1918.

He set sail for Europe April 18 and was sent to the front July 21, 1918, his 24th birthday, serving under Gen. John J. Pershing.

At the beginning of October, Blatny was wounded in the leg during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Infection set in and he died Oct. 16, 1918. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was a major part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front. It was fought from Sept. 26 until the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, a total of 47 days.

Pvt. Jacob Blatny is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery near Romagne, France. At 14,246, the cemetery contains the largest number of American military dead in Europe, most of whom lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Shavlik’s daughter Nancy Soukup has done some research on her great-uncle who died 10 years before her father was born.

“He was just a farm boy who grew up near Linwood and left for Europe to face the unknown,” Soukup said. “Like so many others, he never returned home to his loving family. His family remains proud of his service and sacrifice while heart-broken at the thought of what Jacob’s life might have been.”

Though he is buried in France, the Blatny family had a monument for Jacob installed at the Linwood Hill Cemetery. Each Memorial Day his name is read with others who served their country.

Last October, after a Mass at St. George’s in Morse Bluff in honor of Shavlik’s wife Jean, Stan Shavlik stood and remarked that it was almost exactly 100 years since his uncle Jacob, the uncle he had never known, died in World War I. The congregation said a prayer for Pvt. Jacob Blatny.

“I hope that the prayers were felt by Jacob on his 100-year anniversary,” Shavlik, 89, said. “He will always be remembered.”

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