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Heaney, Gerald

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Gerald Heaney was born 29 January 1918 in Goodhue, Minnesota, and graduated from high school there in 1935. He then attended the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, and the University of Minnesota Law School, graduating in 1941. He volunteered for the US Army in July 1942 and, after Basic Training at Camp Croft, Tennessee, was selected for Office Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, Gerald was serving with a reserve unit in South Carolina when he volunteered for the Army Rangers. He trained stateside with the 2nd Ranger battalion until the end of 1943, when the unit was sent to England as part of the buildup for the invasion of France. The 2nd Ranger battalion landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day, 6 June 1944, and 1st Lt. Gerald Haney was there. He stayed with the unit for the remainder of the war, participating during action in the Hürtgen Forest (November-December 1944), the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945), and further engagements in Germany and Czechoslovakia. In June 1945 Gerald was re-assigned to the Office of Military Government in Munich, Germany; as a lawyer, he worked with a group re-writing the labor laws in the German state of Bavaria. In October 1945 he was finally rotated back to the United States and discharged. Once again a civilian, in December 1945 Gerald got married (wife Eleanor); in January 1946 the couple moved to Duluth, where Gerald practiced law for twenty years. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson appointed him a judge on the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, a lifetime appointment. At the time of this interview (October 2001) Gerald and Eleanor Heaney lived on Pike Lake, in St. Louis County, Minnesota, several miles outside of Duluth. Judge Heaney passed away on 22 June 2010, aged 92.


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Gerald Heaney - Transcript.pdf (732 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Gerald Heaney