WWI soldier honored on 100th anniversary of death
WWI soldier Walter Wiest, former Odessa resident, was honored May 31, marking the 100th anniversary of his death. Wiest died at age 24 from the effects of mustard gas in the war.
David and Alison Matsen from the Middletown Historical Society and Odessa Mayor Rachel Mandes held a small ceremony at Old Drawyers Cemetery where he is buried.
“We remembered his life in the MOT area, and read a poem which had been written in 1920 by Alex Berkman, eulogizing his friend,” Alison Matsen said in an email.
Wiest was born in Odessa and attended the Odessa school, Middletown High School and the Middletown Academy, from which he graduated in 1913. He was the only boy in the graduating class of eight students.
He had one younger sister, Blanche, who Mandes knew.
His obituary in the Middletown Transcript says, "Odessa and the entire community loses one of its brightest and most beloved young men.” The community rallied to have the bridge south of Odessa named the Walter Wiest Bridge in 1921.