Glen Laney, longtime former resident of Sonoma, passed away in Walnut Creek on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at the age of 87.
Glen was born in Pittsburg, Kan., and like so many Midwesterners during the Great Depression, moved to California with his mother Elizabeth, settling in Petaluma in 1939. He graduated from Petaluma High School in 1943, and enlisted in the United States Army the same week. He served with distinction as an infantry medical corpsman in the Europe in 1944 and 1945. Glen seldom discussed his service in World War II, as he was deeply affected by what he experienced. Few who knew him realized that he was a highly decorated combat veteran. In late April 1945, he was a member of the patrol that captured Amstetten, Austria, the easternmost point reached by any allied unit in the course of the war. He also participated in liberating one of the first concentration camps reached by allied forces. Alongside his comrades, he fought step by step, against fierce resistance, from the Atlantic coast of France into Eastern Europe, a distance of 1,060 miles according to one of his citations, losing many friends along the way. His service to his country was probably best illustrated by the remarks of his commanding general in acknowledging his unit’s accomplishments: “The record of your valor is written in the blood of your brave comrades. You have refused to let fatigue or the physical obstacles of mountains and rivers stop you. The enemy has delayed you only momentarily. You have written a glorious page in the military history of your country.”
Even though he seldom acknowledged it, Glen was honored to have served, and just as honored by the company of those he served with. After returning from Europe in 1945, Glen became the first in his family to attend college, thanks largely to the GI Bill. He graduated from the University of California with a degree in architecture, and went on to a 40-year career designing commercial, industrial and residential projects all over the world. Upon retirement, he was licensed to practice architecture in more than 30 U.S. states and a number of foreign countries. Most of all, he was a devoted husband, father, friend and mentor.
Glen will be missed by many, but not forgotten. His was a full life, lived with unwavering dignity, ethics, integrity and discipline.