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Dawson County's oldest veteran dies

Dawson Countys oldest and most decorated WWII veteran passed away early Tuesday morning at a hospital in Cumming.

Walter Victor, 97, died from complications of kidney failure at approximately 1 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 14, according to his family.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Oct. 17 at 5 p.m. at McDonald & Son Funeral Home located at 150 Sawnee Dr., Cumming. The family will receive friends starting at 2 p.m.

Hes gone now and in heaven, Ruth Victor said of her husband of 73 years.

The WWII veteran was nearly everywhere when 20th century history was being made. He was awarded four Bronze Stars, eight Combat Stars, and a Silver Star for his heroism.

Let me tell you something, he said during an interview earlier this year, I got this medal because I was there at Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy (June 1944), and Ive got the shrapnel in my knee to prove it.

Victor also fought with the 9th Infantry Division during one of the wars bloodies battles, the Battle of the Bulge.

Let me tell you one more thing, he said, I was at Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany when the camp was liberated, and I carried one of the survivors to a medic, and you know what? A couple years ago at an event at the state capitol, that man came up to me and told me I saved his life.

Years after the war ended, Victor went to work as the official photographer for the Atlanta Braves, a job that allowed him to put his talents on film. He served the team for 40 years. And, he was the only Braves photographer to earn his own camera-well and plaque at the stadium. One of his photographs hangs in the national Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Victor published a book, Brave at Heart, The Life and Lens of Atlanta Braves Photographer Walter Victor. He and Ruth were frequently seen around Dawsonville selling autographed copies from the trunk of his car.

He was really a cool patriot, Vietnam Veteran Wayne Watkins said. He was a true hero.

Victor rarely, if ever, missed Dawson Countys Veterans Day or Memorial Day events where he was frequently seen talking to members of the Dawson County High School ROTC.

Hes somebody Dawsonville is really going to miss, Watkins said. He was a true hero.