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Last lunch for the 125th Field Artillery

Bob Watts, a former staff sergeant with the 125th Field Artillery, talks about his life and experiences during World War II during a luncheon at the Pickwick Restaurant in February of 2015. (News Tribune file photo)

Having met almost every month since 1947, the members and honorary members of the 125th Field Artillery will have their last lunch together beginning at 11:30 a.m. today at the Pickwick Restaurant and Pub, 508 E. Superior St.

Although the lunches are still well-attended, very few of the 600 members of the 125th who marched in Duluth from the armory on London Road to the train depot on Michigan Street in 1941 on their way to training in Louisiana and service in North Africa and Italy still are alive.

“For the last 20 years, I’ve been the president, and everyone else is dying,” said Bob Watts of Canyon and Proctor, who just turned 95 on Sunday. “I’m the only one left here.”

As of a year ago, 13 were left, Watts said. The average age was 98.

However, the group has added many honorary members, and attendance typically has been in the low 20s, with upwards of 40 for special occasions, Watts said.

But today’s buffet-style lunch will be the end point. “We’re closing the books,” Watts said.

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