On January 12, 2019, William “Bill” Sager, 99, of Arlington, Virginia, beloved husband of Elizabeth of Bethesda, Maryland; cherished father of Dr. Rebecca Ashery of Potomac, Maryland, Dr. Phillip (Ruth) Sager of Baltimore and Sandy Magid (Dr. Norman) of Manhattan, New York; devoted grandfather of 10 living in Maryland, New York, Italy and Israel and 13 great-grandchildren; dear son of the late Louis and Fannie (Schindler) Sager of Front Royal, Virginia.
“Those of us who survived 131 days (and nights) of combat at Guadalcanal have always maintained the ‘heroes’ of Guadalcanal were buried in the Marine cemetery by the Lunga Lagoon,” he said, according to his family that call him “Our Guadalcanal hero.”
Raised by immigrant parents in Front Royal, Virginia, he traveled to Baltimore in July 1932 to become a bar mitzvah at the Hanover Street Synagogue, also known as the Tabriaker Synagogue. Upon graduating in the Randolph Macon Academy class of 1937, he enlisted in the U.S.Marines and attended the University of Virginia. It was at the University, in French class, that he met Elizabeth Mopsik of Charlottesville Virginia, who would become his devoted wife of 76 years. They were married in 1942, three weeks before he was sent overseas in the first amphibious landing and defense of Guadalcanal.
In 1944, he volunteered for duty with the U.S. Navy Group, China, also known as the Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SACO). He was among the five Marine officers, all with South Pacific combat infantry experience, selected. The Marines trained and equipped three battalions of Chinese guerrillas who operated behind Japanese lines in a secret mission assigned by Adm. Milton Miles.
After the war, he received his JD and M.A. in economics and accounting fro the University of Virginia. His career in the federal government spanned from 1959-1982 in the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Treasury and Department of Justice. From 1982-1995 he served as the attorney for the Society of Public Accountants (NSPA). With regard to his philosophy of life, Bill liked to paraphrase the late Adm. Arleigh Burke: “I have lived a good life. I wasn’t killed in the war. I married the woman I loved. We’ve had a beautiful life together. I never had a job I didn’t like. I am satisfied with my life and achievements, both military and civilian.”
How beautiful this article is! I learned so much about him that I never know from it. You had a wonderful dad always vibrant, friendly and sincere every time i spoke with him. May his memory be of a blessing. May he rest in peace.