John H. Staples, 92: Decorated veteran

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TOPSHAM — John H. Staples, 92, of Topsham, died Jan. 21.

Staples was born May 2, 1920, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., the second son of Phillip C. Staples and Mary H. Staples. 

He attended the Haverford School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He left school in December 1940 to volunteer in the 104th Cavalry Regiment, a Pennsylvania National Gaurd unit. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor he was commissioned a first lieutenent and assigned to the reconaissance battalion of the 3rd Armored Division, stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana. 

His unit landed in Normandy in June 1944 following the assault on Omaha Beach, moving across France and Belgium toward Germany. Staples was wounded five times, including wounds in Normandy and during the Battle of the Bulge. He earned four Purple Hearts and three Silver Stars for his exploits in close combat. After his final injury he was evacuated to England and then the United States for eye surgery. When the war ended in 1945 he finally returned home to Pennsylvania, resuming his studies at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Staples moved to Bangor in 1948, finding work at the Great Northern Paper Company.

In September 1949, Staples married Barbara Jewett Nealley, and the couple moved to Millinocket. In 1952, they relocated to Riverside, Conn., and Staples worked in the New York City sales office of the paper company. 

In 1961, Staples was made general sales manager of the company, and in 1967 he became vice president of sales. During these years he also served as an elected representative on the Greenwich (Conn.) Town Council and became an active member of the New York City Chamber of Commerce, where he served on the International Trade Committee. Additionally, he served one term as president of the Newsprint Division of the American Paper Institute.

In 1980 Staples retired from Great Northern Paper Company and moved to a house that he and his wife built in Yarmouth. He began volunteering at Maine Medical Center and eventually became chairman of its Annual Fund Committee.

Memorial services were held with military honors Saturday at the Brackett Funeral Home in Brunswick. Spring interment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Yarmouth.

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