Passing of a hero
Stephen R. Gregg was working in the
His job made him exempt from the draft, but the bombing made him enlist. .
"I just wanted to go over," he said in an interview in 1998. .
Gregg, one of
Gregg is one of 16
Described as a quiet man who never boasted of his
activities, Gregg also spoke in support of peace efforts until very late in
life. He was quoted in one news account over the possible war in
distinguished himself on
The next day, when the Germans regrouped and attacked with tanks, Gregg ordered two men to cover him as he crawled up a hill toward the enemy. He threw a hand grenade at the Germans, killing one and injuring two others, whom Gregg took prisoner. .
got his medal from Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch Jr. while still serving in
"I just got the medal and that was that," Gregg said during a 1990 newspaper interview. "It was no big thing." He said he risked his life because he had to. "They were my men." .
unit was part of a massive movement of Allied forces in a decisive battle designed
to destroy a significant part of the German Army. But on the night of
During the eight days of battle, the allied field artillery battalions fired well over 37,000 rounds at the desperately confined, retreating German army, with another 75,000 fired by other battalions. .
this was not the first act of heroism or the only moment of terror Gregg faced
during his service to his country in World War II. Wounded during combat in
After the war, Gregg went to work for the Hudson County Sheriff's Department as a court officer. He retired in 1996 after 51 years of service. .
Neighbors called Gregg a quiet man who for years strolled the Bergen Point area. .
Leahey, who lived near his small one-family house on
Freeholder Barry Dugan, who knew Gregg for more than 40 years, called him "very quiet, humble and laid-back," but someone who never refused to get involved with local veterans' activities. .
"He interacted with everyone in the same way. Whether that was the president or a newspaper boy, he treated everyone with the same respect," Dugan said. "Like so many medal of honor winners, the distinction changed his whole life. This was something he did, but nothing he planned. It was a reaction to a situation. When all the honors were heaped on him, he thought of all the guys who didn't make it back." .
the county dedicated the park in his name, the county did not put up a plaque
Gregg was there for plaque's installation, and said he was humbled by it. The plaque, unfortunately, became faded, Dugan said, so that he and the freeholders ordered one that was made of brass and installed it later. .
"When we put the plaque up in 2002, it got streaky after about a year," Dugan said. "I thought we could clean it up. When that was not possible, we ordered one made of bronze - the one that is now in place. Because Gregg was sick at the time, I had a picture of it taken and brought it there for him to see. Some of his comrades picked him up in a car and took him there later so he could see it for himself." .
Gregg, who turned 90 on Sept. 1, spent a lot of time with his wife, Irene, who he cared for up until her death in 2001. .
"After his wife died, he told me he was at a loss," Dugan said. "He said he used to like to go for walks, but he didn't feel like doing that after Irene passed away." .
is survived by his son, Stephen Jr.; Stephen Jr.'s wife Beatrice of Warren; his
daughter, Susan, of Little Falls; his sister, Sophie King, of