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Local World War II veteran passes away at 95

John Valls' family tells KGNS that his greatest joy was to share his life lessons and experiences in the war and they hope we will help carry his message for many more years.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 10:13 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - You’ve probably heard the name John Valls before, a proud Laredoan and World War 2 veteran known among the community for his charm and war stories.

A few days ago at the age of 95, Valls passed away.

Born and raised in Laredo, he was one of ten brothers and sisters.

He attended Martin High School, and was drafted into the military in the middle of his junior year. He served honorably in WWII for 3 years in the 9th armored division.

Valls liberated the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. For his service, he was awarded the bronze star.

After serving, he attended Baylor University in 1946 to run track and field. After Baylor and as married man, he made Laredo his home.

He became a teacher at his alma mater Martin High School.

After retirement Valls dedicated his life to writing, eventually published a book, and often shared his war stories with the community.

In many occasions, KGNS was present during his milestones.

“This is great. After 72 years, I am finally getting my diploma.”

John Valls receives his diploma
John Valls receives his diploma(KGNS)

In 2016 at the age of 91, Valls was able to receive his high school diploma after missing his graduation because he was at war.

The community got to witness those moments.

“Once a tiger, always a tiger. Wonderful day for me, I am going to remember this for a long time.”

In 2017, Valls participated in the honor flight and got to visit Washington D.C.

In 2018, the community came together to honor this local hero with the John Valls World War II Park.

Mr. Valls leaves behind his five children, several grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

His family tells KGNS that Mr. Valls' greatest joy was to share his life lessons and experiences in the war and they hope we will help carry his message for many more years.

“They should settle their difference with deeds and words rather than bullets and bombs. War does not help anything.”

John Valls' family tells KGNS his military burial will be held Tuesday, November 17th.

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