Family and friends gathered a couple of weeks ago on the north shore of Lake Morris to dedicate a sign commemorating its namesake, Lyle Morris, a young man from Derby who was among the first from Lucas County to die in combat during World War II.
On Tuesday, the sign was permanently installed by (top, from left) Chariton city staffers Tony Piper and Dave Van Ryswick, Evans family friend Greg Watsabaugh, of Humeston, and Greg's friend and co-worker, J. D. McDonald.
Greg had taken the sign home with him to Humeston on Sept. 11, then bolted long steel supports onto the sign's wooden base. He enlisted his friend's assistance to transport the sign back to Lake Morris on Tuesday, where they were met by Van Ryswick and Piper, who drilled holes for the support then helped level the sign and embed its legs in concrete.
A final step here will involve staining and sealing the frame, but it is now in place and anyone who would like to drive out to the north-shore access to Lake Morris and learn more about the young man after whom the lake is named is welcome to do so.
Lyle died at his battle station aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, then under attack by Japanese forces off the coast of the Santa Cruz Islands, on Aug. 24, 1942, and was buried at sea. During May of 1943, the Chariton City Council named the then-new lake in his honor and, at the same time, named its twin Lake Ellis, in honor of Roy Ellis, of Williamson, another who was among the first to die.
Lyle's nephew, Don Evans, of Yap Island, and other family members developed the idea for the sign and financed it. Patrick Ranfranz, of Cameron, Wisconsin, designed the sign and commissioned its frame, then with his wife, Cherie, drove it down to Chariton for the Sept. 11 dedication ceremony during which Don and his cousins, Charlotte Bibler and Jean Marie and Bob Davidson, and other family members and friends were present.