Litchfield News

Post 44 of Bantam honors a World War I veteran (11-06-18)

Representatives of the Fuessenich family and American Legion Post 44 following Saturday's veteran of the month service in Bantam. BZ photos

American Legion Post 44 of Bantam honored a World War I veteran as its veteran of the month on Saturday.
Leonard C. Fuessenich, who served in the Connecticut Army National Guard and has descendants in Litchfield, was recognized at Bantam Borough Hall during Post 44’s 362nd consecutive veteran of the month service.
A flag honoring Fuessenich is flying over the All Wars Memorial in Bantam until Dec. 1. Three of his descendants, great-nephews L. Cleveland Fuessenich and Dan Fuessenich, both of Litchfield, and great-niece, Debbie Fuessenich of Litchfield, represented the Fuessenich family at the observance.
Leonard C. Fuessenich was born in Torrington on Jan. 15, 1885 and died Oct. 27, 1931 in New Milford, where he lived, after a diabetic attack.
Fuessenich, the son of Frederick and Celia Fuessenich, graduated from Torrington High School in 1903. He worked at the Hendy Machine Co. after graduation and began his military career by joining Torrington’s newly-formed Company M of the 2nd Regiment of the Connecticut Army National Guard.
After marrying Frances Holder on Feb. 29, 1905, in New York City, Fuessenich settled in Torrington, became involved in activities at Trinity Church, and was elected a justice of the peace in 1910. He advanced through the ranks of the National Guard to captain, but in 1915 resigned his commission to assist with the family business following the death of his mother in 1914.
When the chance to serve with the National Guard on the Mexican border came up, Fuessenich re-enlisted as a lieutenant and through special arrangement served a tour as quartermaster sergeant.
Upon completion of the assignment, Fuessenich returned to Torrington and resumed his work with the family business. His stay didn’t last long, however, as Company M was ordered to muster at the Torrington Armory on April 1, 1917 and prepare for a trip to the World War I battlefield.
The Torrington contingent arrived in France on Oct. 2, 1917 as part of the 102nd Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division’s Yankee Division. Fuessenich, a first lieutenant, had a distinguished record in combat.
After peace was declared, Fuessenich sailed from Brest, France, on the USS Troy, arriving in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was discharged from active duty and returned to his wife and family in Torrington, where he became active in the community and joined the city’s American Legion post. He served in many capacities with the American Legion and in 1927 became the legion’s 6th District commander. Later, he helped establish a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in New Milford.

Below, Litchfield High School National Honor Society students, from left, Rachel Leigh, Claire Vailionis and Sydney Donohue volunteered their time to assist Post 44 with the service.
Below, Barbara Spring of Litchfield with her son, Bill Spring, and his children, Michaela and Ryan. Bill, Michaela and Ryan were dressed World War I-style for the service.