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Burrel J. ‘B.J.’ Reynolds

Published: Thursday, May 15, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Burrel J. "B.J." Reynolds

DIXON – Burrel J. “B.J.” Reynolds, 92, of Dixon, died Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

He was born July 17, 1921, in Dixon, the son of Robert and Susan (Knifer) Reynolds. He served in the Navy from 1940 to 1946. He was captured at the fall of Corregidor, and became a Japanese prisoner of war for 3 years and 4 months – as a slave laborer in the fields at Cabanatuan, Philippines; in a copper mine at Hitachi, Japan; and digging a tunnel for a hydroelectric plant in Mitsushima, Japan. He was at each of the camps for about 1 year. He was transported from the Philippines to Japan in an infamous “Hell Ship.”  After the war, he returned to Dixon and married Kathleen Mantsch on March 9, 1948, in Rockford. She preceded him in death on Sept. 12, 2002. They were married 54 years.

B.J. spent his adult life as an independent contractor in many homes and businesses in Dixon.

B.J. was a longtime member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Dixon, American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor, the American Legion, the Dixon Garden Club, and Kiwanis. He truly was a hero and a remarkable man, who touched many with his great compassion, strong faith, and good humor.

He is survived by one daughter, Lyn (Bob) Turnbull of St. Charles; two grandchildren, Paul (Megan) Turnbull and Ann (Tom) Hufford; three great-grandchildren, Liam, Lucy, and Nora; and one sister, Anna Gerdes of Dixon.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday and the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Dixon, with the Rev. Bernard Sehr officiating. Burial, with military honors accorded by the combined veterans group, will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon. Jones Funeral Home in Dixon is handling arrangements.

A memorial has been established to Kiwanis Golden K.

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