Clarence Tourse, 1898-1946
A Medal Comes Home
Clarence Tourse was serving at Camp furlong in New Mexico in E Company of the 24th Infantry Regiment when he received a medal from his hometown honoring his service during the World War, known to us as World War I. He had enlisted at the age of 19 in December of 1917 and served until July of 1920. During the War this unit of African American soldiers protected our southern border from the raids of Pancho Villa and the plots of German agents. At the end of the War, but before Clarence returned home, the Village of Ridgewood issued special medals for all of its residents that had servedin the War. Clarence must have received his in New Mexico.
More than 90 years later a collector with a metal detector found the medal in Columbus, New Mexico at the site of Camp Furlong where the 24th was stationed. After some spirited bidding a team of four local men, Stanley Kober, Bob Paoli, Chris Stout, and Joe Suplicki, teamed up to purchase the medal for the Archive Collections of the Bolger Heritage Center.
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Tourse was born on December 14, 1898 in Ridgewood and grew up in Ridgewood and Glen Rock. He married about 1922 and he and Eleanor had a daughter Viola and a son Clarence, Jr. Clarence, Sr. worked at various times as a laborer, painter, garage worker, plumber’s helper, and chauffeur. In the last years of his life he and his family lived in Paterson and he died there on 9/30/1946 at 47 years of age and is buried in Valleau Cemetery, his service proudly marked on his monument
On July 17, 2014, the Ridgewood Public Library publically thanked the donors who made the purchase of the medal possible and recognized Clarence Tourse's descendants.
Peggy Norris of the Library showing the medal to Clarence Tourse, Jr. and his wife Mary.