Francis Duane Kern

Eau Claire Soldier, Home on Furlough, Is Victim of Car Crash
Corporal F. D. Kern Dies, Girl Companion Injured
An automobile crash on Highway 53, near the north city limits, Tuesday night, resulted in the death of one person, and serious, if not critical injuries, to another. 

Corporal Francis Duane Kern, 22, U.S. Army, who arrived home on furlough from Camp Hood, Texas, earlier in the day, to visit his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Kern, 815 Hastings Way, was the victim. He died in the Stokes ambulance on the way to the Sacred Heart Hospital a few minutes after the crash. He was driving. 

His companion, Miss Shirley Mae St. Louis, 18, who lives with her grandmother, Mrs. Alice St. Louis, at 716 Starr Avenue, is in a serious condition at Sacred Heart Hospital as the result of a broken jaw, other facial and head injuries, a fractured upper arm, and multiple abrasions and contusions. Dr. R. A. Buckley, who is attending the injured, said that she would recover, although her injuries were serious.

Cause of Crash Unknown
Just how the accident occurred is not known, except that the car crashed into a tree on the east side of Highway 53 about 200 feet south of Eddy Lane. As far as is known, no one witnessed the tragedy.

According to the police who investigated the crash, after being notified by telephone at 9:45 that there had been an accident near Crossing No. 2, it appeared that the car, which was going north at the time, had gotten out of control, left the pavement, side-swiped a sign post, then side-swiped a tree, which evidently deflected it from its course and sent it sideways against another tree, around which it virtually wound itself. 

Corporal Kern's face was crushed, his skull fractured, both legs were broken in several places, and there were other lesser injuries. He was dead when the ambulance reached the Sacred Heart Hospital.

Suffering from a broken jaw, among her other injuries, Miss St. Louis was unable to talk and, hence, could give no explanation as to what happened to cause the car to leave the highway, which the police said, was free of ice and snow. 

Coroner Wallace Stokes said there would be no inquest.  

Police investigating the crash said it was the most completely demolished car they had ever seen, following a wreck of this nature. 

Was In Ordnance 
Corporal Kern is survived by his parents; two sisters, Miss Beverly Kern of Milwaukee and Miss Donna of Eau Claire; three brothers, Corporal Russell Kern, stationed in Tennessee, Keith and James Kern of Eau Claire; and his grandmother, Mrs. Emma Johnson of Wheeler.

Corporal Kern entered the service on October 8, 1942 and, at the time of his death, was Technical Corporal in the 569th Ordnance Company, HMJK, 310th Ordnance Battalion, Camp Hood, TX.

He was born in Chippewa County. He was a member of the English Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer. 

Funeral arrangements await arrival of the brother from Tennessee.


Last Rites for Corporal F. D. Kern, Victim of Car Crash 
While Home on Furlough, To Be Saturday Afternoon

Funeral services for Corporal Francis Duane Kern, 22, of the U.S. Army Ordnance, fatally injured Tuesday night, when the car he was driving went out of control on Highway 53, near the north city limits, and crashed sideways against a tree, will be held at 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon from the English Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, the Reverend Herbert Juneau officiating. Interment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery, where military honors will be accorded by a firing squad from William C. Johnson Post, American Legion. 

Pall bearers will be a detail from the aviation students at the Eau Claire State Teachers College. 

Friends may call at Stokes and Sons Funeral Chapel Friday and Saturday, up to noon.  

Corporal Kern was home on furlough from Camp Hood, Texas, visiting his parents. Mr. and Mrs. Homer O. Kern, 815 Hastings Way. He had arrived home earlier the same day. 

Reports from the Sacred Heart Hospital today indicated that the condition of Miss Shirley Mae St.  Louis, 18, this city, who was in the car with Corporal Kern at the time of the crash, while still serious, was slightly improved. Miss St. Louis is suffering from a broken jaw and other facial injuries, a fractured upper arm, and severe abrasions and contusions.  

Cause of Crash Unknown
Authorities today were still without evidence as to what caused the car to leave the pavement, apparently out of control, and crash against the tree.  The injured girl has not yet been able to give a statement as to what may have happened to cause the car to go out of control. Investigation showed that the automobile, going north at the time, left the pavement, 200 feet north of Eddy Lane, struck a sign post a glancing blow; 20 feet farther on, hit a small tree, another glancing blow, which apparently was enough to swing it around so that it slid sideways in the snow, crashing into a tree. 

The picture at the top shows the car slammed against the tree, which crushed the side in near the driver's seat, and reveals, plainly, complete demolition of the rear section. The lower picture was taken from the opposite side, showing the front interior of the car, with the steering wheel. Corporal Kern was behind the wheel, and the girl, in the seat beside him, must have been thrown out.


Corporal and Mrs. Russell Kern left Wednesday for Smyrna, TN, where Corporal Kern is stationed at an Army camp, after spending two weeks here. He was called home by the death of his brother, Francis Kern.