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Historical group seeking Henry relatives of WWII soldiers

Photo by Curt Yeomans
Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc. officials are planning to conduct tours of the Jonesboro City Cemetery in October.

Photo by Curt Yeomans Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc. officials are planning to conduct tours of the Jonesboro City Cemetery in October.

JONESBORO — Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc. officials are hoping Henry County residents can help shed light on three men who died nearly 70 years ago.

Historical Jonesboro President Barbara Emert wants relatives of three men from Jonesboro, who died while fighting in World War II, to step forward so the group can learn more about their pasts and how they died.

All that is known of these men — identified as Army Air Corps TSgt. William J. Reagin, Army Sgt. Glenn Naylor and Harwell Parks Tilly — is what is listed on their headstones in the Jonesboro City Cemetery.

Officials at Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc. are hoping to find out more about them, however, so their stories can be shared with new generations of Clayton County residents during graveyard tours taking place around Halloween.

“Historical Jonesboro is planning to host a tour of the Jonesboro City Cemetery in October [and] we are seeking information on the three servicemen killed in WWII who are buried there,” said Emert. “We just want to tell their story.”

To that end, the historical group is trying to find anyone related to Tilly, Reagin and Naylor who has some biographical information about the men.

Reagin served in the 96th Bomb Group in the war and died May 8, 1944, when he was 21.

Tilly lived from Aug. 4, 1888, until May 12, 1945, according to www.findagrave.com. His rank and which branch of the military he served in are unknown however.

Findagrave.com shows Naylor served in the 128th OM Bakery Co., and died in service on June 1, 1944, just days before the Allies captured Rome and invaded the beaches of Normandy. He was 27 when he died.

A cursory search of records from the 1940 federal census sheds some light only on Tilly. He had a seventh-grade education and lived on McDonough Street with his wife, Estelle and their 21-year old son, Ralston. He and his son listed “truck driver” as their occupations, according to census records. Ralston listed the city of Jonesboro as his employer, but his father’s employer is illegible.

No census records tying Reagin or Naylor to Jonesboro in 1940 could be immediately found.

Family members or friends of Tilly, Reagin and Naylor are asked to call Historical Jonesboro at (770) 473-0197.