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Purple Heart group honors 103-year-old chemist for WWII penicillin work

Wendy Walton Reichenbach, left, shakes hands with Tom Beck, right, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, after being presented with an American flag during a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Purple Heart Remembrance Day on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at the National Veterans Memorial and Muesum in Columbus. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

The Columbus chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart honored Robert Walton, a chemist who helped work on the mass production of penicillin during World War II, in a ceremony Wednesday at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, 300 W. Broad St.

Walton’s daughter, Worthington resident Wendy Walton Reichenbach, joined two members of the Columbus group in laying a wreath on a monument to veterans that the Purple Heart group installed in 2018 in Memorial Grove, located outside the museum.

Reichenbach said Walton, 103, was recovering from a recent illness and could not attend the ceremony.

Reichenbach wrote about her father, a former chemist for the Merck company in New Jersey during the war, in a Dispatch story in July. That article attracted the attention of the Purple Heart group.

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© 2019 The Columbus Dispatch