Article in Reno Gazette Journal
December 19, 2007
Services to be held for former POW
George Small, a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war, holds in 2004 a photograph of himself when he left the military at 37.
Small died Saturday at 99.
Born: Feb. 28, 1908, Montreal
Died: Dec. 15, 2007
1941-1946: Chemical officer, U.S. Army
1968: Retired from the U.S. Army Reserve
1949-1972: Civil engineer, California Department of
Surviving: Daughters Gail Ferrell and Wendy Small
Donations can be made
to the POW fund in memory of George Small, VA Sierra
Nevada Health Care System,
1000 Locust St., Reno, NV
Family and friends were planning his February birthday bash; they just knew George
Small would live past 100.
Instead, the World War II veteran and oldest former prisoner of war in Nevada died Saturday. He was 99.
Graveside services will be today at 1 p.m. at the Hebrew Cemetery.
The retired Army major was among 76,000 starved, sick and under-supplied American and Filipino troops who surrendered in April 1942 on
the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines.
Memories of the dreadful conditions he experienced became his impetus for living a long and healthy life, said his daughters, Wendy Small
and Gail Ferrell.
After surrendering to the Japanese, the prisoners were marched about 65 miles to prison camps.
"They were forced to march for days," said Ferrell, of Reno.
Small noticed kilometer posts on the road to Manila and set a goal to make it to the next kilometer post, she said.
"He said that 100 was like that," Ferrell said. "It wasn't a final destination but a goal. He was intending to set goals no matter where he was.
And he did."
Small was honorably discharged in 1946 and retired from the Army Reserve in 1968.
He lived in San Diego, where he was a civil engineer for the California Department of Water Resources on the Feather River project. He
retired in 1972 and in 1988 moved to Reno with his wife, Hadassa, to be closer to Ferrell.
He did not slow down after retirement, she said.
He ran his first 10-kilometer race at age 73 and got his first computer when he was 80.
"He loved his flat-screened monitor," said Wendy Small, who lives in New York City. "We e-mailed all the time. He was really forward
His daily routine included reading news online and checking the stock market.
A few years back, Ferrell said her father took a writing class at Truckee Meadows Community College and wrote about 20 stories about his
The war stories connected Small and Ralph Levenberg, a good friend and fellow prisoner of war who lives in Reno.
"We are, more or less, bonded brothers because of our experiences," the retired Air Force major said. "George and I would exchange our
various stories via the computer. In fact, I talked to George last Thursday and thought he said he was sending me another chapter through
"Survival through good health was the theme that dictated how he lived," Ferrell said. "He just was dedicated to living. He always had things
that he was looking forward to."
Reader Comment Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:41 pm
Major Small. My United States Flag is is Flying at half-Mast in Honor of You. My health prevents me from being at your Final Resting Place,
However my thoughts and Respect are there. Rest in Peace, Sir. I Salute You.
Signed: United States Army Retired Combat Veteran.
Is it time to warm up the Enola Gay for another trip and Drop some more reminders of why nobody treats United States Military, The way
Major Small, and others (My Uncle was one) were treated?
Reader Comment Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:22 am
"He ran his first 10-kilometer race at age 73 and got his first computer when he was 80."
Not only do I admire his strength and persistence during the war years, but must also admire how he must have continually sought new
Reader Comment Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:45 am
You and your brothers-in-arms were what gave The Greatest Generation its name...
Rest In Peace, Major.
What a great story! Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:26 am
Wow what an amazing man! Condolences to the family and friends.