Before leaving for the Korean War, Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Gantt told his bride Clara that if he didn’t come back, she should remarry. She refused. He would be her only husband. The sergeant had been missing in action for decades, and everyone assumed he had died. Mrs. Gantt never gave up hope, and she never remarried.
After 63 years, there is finally closure. On Friday morning, Sgt. Gantt’s remains returned to Los Angeles in a flag covered casket, as 94-year-old Mrs. Gantt stood from her wheelchair and weeped.
She told reporters, “I am very, very proud of him. He was a wonderful husband, an understanding man. I always did love my husband, we was two of one kind, we loved each other. And that made our marriage complete.”
Joseph and Clara Gantt married in 1948, two years after they met on a train from Texas to Los Angeles. They had no children. While her husband was serving, Clara bought a house in Inglewood, and hired a gardener so that when her husband returned, he could relax and not have to worry about tending to the yard.
Sgt. Gantt joined the Army in 1942 and also served in WWII. He has earned the Bronze Star of Valor and a Purple Heart posthumously, both of which his widow keeps in her bedroom. It has been learned that while serving in the Korean War, he was taken prisoner by North Korean forces in December 1950, and died in March 1951. Sgt. Gantt will be buried later this month.