U. S. Army, World War II

Private, 401st Glider Infantry 101st Airborne

Died 25 September 1944.

Buried at Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands.

Awarded Purple Heart & Silver Star.

Photos & cemetery information provided by ELLY HOOFS, the Netherlands, Holland, October 2006.


Netherlands American Cemetery


Grave of Leander Reel

     For at least sixty years, the grave of LEANDER REEL at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, has been cared for by the family of ELLY HOOFS. Her parents "adopted" the American soldier's grave and they maintained it for about forty years. For the past twenty years, Elly has been the main caretaker of the grave, with the assistance of her niece.


Mrs. Elly Hoofs


Memorial Day Service

     Each Memorial Day, a beautiful ceremony is held at the American Cemetery, founded by Captain Shoman, to honor the American soldiers who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. As Elly said, "All the soldiers died for us and many are still missing." In fact, 1722 names of the missing are listed on a wall at the cemetery.

     The idea of adopting graves of the American liberators started in February 1945, at which time a citizens' committee, "Burger Comite Margraten," launched a campaign to promote the adoption of the graves. The adoptors were expected to visit the grave, maintain it and lay flowers. Communication with the surviving relatives was also encouraged. By the second Memorial Day (1946) all of the 18,764 graves had been adopted.

     In 2002, the work of the cemetery committee was taken over by the Association for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery of Margraten. The Internet is making it easier to communicate with the deceased veterans' families.


Elly's Parents


1994 - Elly's "Mam"
Holding flowers she would place on Leander's grave.

     Leander Reel was the son of John O. Reel of Milroy, Grant County, West Virginia. His mother was probably Mary E., maiden name unknown, shown as the wife of John O. Reel in the 1920 census of Grant County. His mother apparently died and John Oliver Reel married Lottie Alt, the daughter of Henry and Levina (Kimble) Alt.

     Lottie Alt Reel Hockman, stepmother of Leander, died in September 1986. From the Grant County Message Board at Rootsweb.com:

     Mrs. Lottie (Alt) Reel Hockman, 81, died Monday, September 1, 1986 at Grant Memorial Hospital, Petersburg.      Born in Pendleton County February 10, 1905, she was a daughter of the late Hanry Alt and Levina (Kimble) Alt.      Mrs. Hockman was member of the Falls Assembly of God Church, Maysville. Her first husband, John Oliver Reel, died December 10, 1965.      Surviving are two sons, Ralph C. Alt, Burlington; Charles Reel, Placerville, Calif.; three daughters, Mrs. Ann Hess and Mrs. Irene Berg, both of here; Mrs. Louella Rodgers, Annandale, Va.; three stepdaughters, Nora Reel, Dorcas, Mrs.Dora Cook, Upper Tract; Viola Schultz, Landover, Md.; four sisters, Mrs. Janie Whetzel, Purgitsville; Mrs. Nina Helmick, Upper Tract; Mrs. Margie Davis, here; Mrs. Rhoda Roy, Durgon; 15 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

     Charles Junior Reel was the half brother of Leander Reel. From the Grant County Press:

Charles Junior Reel, ENC (SS), U.S. Navy retired, 73, died Aug. 23 (2005), at his home, Placerville, Calif.

Born in Petersburg, March 15, 1932, he was the son of the late John O. Reel and Lottie M. (Alt) Reel. He was also preceded in death by three brothers, Ralph C. Alt, William E. Reel and Leander Reel; and one sister, Viola Insani.

He is survived by his wife, Kristine (Brown) Reel; two sons, Jason Brown, of Placerville, Califl and Jeremy Brown, Redding, Calif.; two grandchildren, Austin Reel Brown and Kayden Faith Brown, Redding; five sisters, Louella Rodgers, Annandale, Va., Anna Lee Hesse and Irene Berg, both of Maysville, Nora Reel, Petersburg, and Dora Cook, Upper Tract; and several nieces and nephews.

He had a military burial at sea. Arrangements were under the direction of the Pines, Placerville, Calif.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.


Web page by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.