Museum the New Llano Colony

Wayne Mahler  

Birth: He was born around 1921 in Michigan.

Family Information: Son of Ludwig "Louis" and Mrs. Hulda Mahler.

Brother of Hulda, Carl, Martha, Esther and Joe Ann Mahler.  


Pre-Colony History: In April 1932 the family came to the colony from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  

Home in Colony: In May 1932 the family were living in a house recently vacated by the Kilroy family. 

Job in Colony: In April 1932 Mr. Goeke was setting out shrubs on the west and north sides of Harriman Circle with the assistance of Wayne Mahler, Archie Ogden and Willy Brough.

In April 1933 he started working at the colony laundry.

In 1934 he was taken to the Gila location by George Pickett, along with his brother Carl, Harry Morgan and Mrs. Van Nuland. At Gila he helped with the garden work after school hours. Also, he and his brother carried cobs and wood to the kitchen, bakery and laundry.

In May 1934 he was a helper in the store.  

Other Info: One evening after dusk in June 1934, she and Wayne were coming down the road in front of the hotel at Gila, Hulda riding the burro while Wayne led it. All at once the burro unloaded Hulda and left her sitting by the roadside with a skinned elbow. When she recovered enough to get up, she made her way slowly toward the first-aid office.

In November 1934 some of the Gila colonists went on a trip to the "Lodge" which was about 50 miles up the river, but to get there it was necessary to cross the river about 150 times. Among those going were Zelma de Fausell, Huldah, Wayne and Carl Mahler, Isom and Ward Shoemaker, A. Van Nuland and Mr. Goodwin.

In January 1935 he and Isom Shoemaker each gave readings during the entertainment program at Gila. Also, his father and Mr. Wooley played a violin duet, "La Paloma".  

Post-Colony History: In March 1936 the Mahler family were the only colonists left at the one-time Gila unit, the people having scattered to the 4 winds as best they could. Mr. Mahler has so far succeeded in finding enough employment to keep them in the same location.

In 1940 he was living in New Mexico with his parents and siblings while he was employed as a newsworker.

In 1941 he was a member of New Mexico's 200th Coast Artillery Regiment (AntiAircraft) and was stationed in the Phillipine Islands where, just hours after bombing Pearl Harbor, the Japanese carried their attack. After the initial bombing, the Japanese put up a blockade that prevented any food, ammunition, or medicine from reaching them but the American and Filipino troops who were trapped there managed to hold out for four months while every other island and nation in the Pacific and Southeast Asia fell.

Finally forced to surrender in April 1942, the Japanese lined the survivors up four abreast for the Bataan Death March, forcing the emaciated men to walk 65 miles north on the first leg of their journey to Camp O'Donnell, running over, shooting or bayonetting anyone who fell or tried to escape.

At Camp O'Donnell, conditions were even worse for the prisoners. The camp had been designed to house about 10,000 men, but the Japanese crammed 60,000 survivors into the camp. There was little food or water and no sanitation. Disease was rampant.

Death: Wayne was listed as Missing on June 30, 1942. His body has never been recovered and his name is listed on the "Walls of the Missing" at the Manila American Cemetery, though the POW Data file at the National Archives states that he died as a POW at Cabanatuan, Nueva Province, Luzon, Philippines.  

Sources: "Llano Colonist": April 9, 1932, April 16, 1932, May 7, 1932, April 15, 1933, January 20, 1934, April 14, 1934, May 5, 1934, May 12, 1934, June 2, 1934, November 10, 1934, January 19, 1935, March 7, 1936; US Census: 1940; WWII Prisoners of the Japanese; WWII and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas; Global FindAGrave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations; The National Archives ( WWII Prisoners of War Data File, 12/7/1941 - 11/19/1946  


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