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Gracie York dies; Widow of WWI hero

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Gracie York, widow of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York, died Thursday at a Nashville hospital, 20 years after her husband's death. She was 84.

She died at Park View Hospital, having lived most of her life in the East Tennessee community of Pall Mall. Funeral arrangements in Jamestown were incomplete.

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York's husband, the most decorated soldier of World War I, fought in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in France and is credited with killing 25 German soldiers, capturing 132 others and silencing 35 machine guns. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

He had achieved the rank of major by the time he concluded his military career, but he is memorialized as Sgt. York, the way most people remembered him.

Around 1940, at the start of World War II, York agreed to have his life story made into a movie as a war-preparedness film. Actor Gary Cooper won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the hero.

In 1966, Gracie York and her children placed an elaborate granite and marble monument at her husband's grave. She will be buried next to him.

The couple was married in 1919, when the hero returned from the war. Gracie York's last public appearance was in 1983 in Irvine, Calif., at a ceremony marking production of the first unit of the Army air defense gun system named for her husband.

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