Skip to main content

August Anthony Wavpotich

PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co B


Born 1922 in NJ, Died 2005


County of residence at enlistment: Queens County, NY
Other residence(s): Queens, NY; Demarest, NJ; Hilton Head, SC
United States Army, did not accompany the unit to Europe
Occupation before the war: commercial artists
College education before the war: Pratt 2 years
College education after the war: Penn State
Notes: Transferred; later earned rank of 1LT
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson

Gus Wavpotich was born on August 7, 1922 in Hoboken, NJ, the second of two sons. His father was a metal worker and both of his parents had immigrated from Slovenia (or Austria or Yugoslavia depending on the year and the political situation).

Gus graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan in 1939, and studied art at Pratt before the war. He registered for the draft on June 30, 1942, and enlisted on October 30, 1942. At the time he was living in Queens, NY, and gave his occupation as commercial artist.

Like many New York area artists and students (including dozens from Pratt) he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion. But sometime in 1943 he was transferred out, likely to attend Officer Candidate School, and saw service in the Pacific with another engineering unit during the war.

He was discharged with the rank of 1LT, studied at Penn State University, and pursued a career in advertising. He married Evelyn Marie Safford, and they became the parents of four daughters: Christine, Susan, Jean, and Judith.

Gus eventually became vice president and art director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising in New York City, and, according to his obituary, "his artistic talent received national recognition in the advertising industry."

Gus and his family lived in Demarest, NJ where he was an active participant in civic affairs, serving on the conservation commission, and on a committee to draft a new snow clearance ordinance.

He retired in 1973, shortly after he turned 50, and he and Evelyn moved to Hilton Head, SC where he took up part time careers in the arts and cuisine. Gus was one of the original members of the Hilton Head Institute of the Arts, an umbrella organization developed to help fund and encourage activity in the arts, as well as sponsor art education in the Hilton Head schools. He also served on the board of directors for the Hilton Head Art League.

In 1977, Evelyn became the food editor at the local newspaper, The Island Packet, a position she held until 1989. Gus, meanwhile, was director of the Island Packet/2nd Course Cooking School, and both he and Evelyn taught cooking courses there. A 1977 article about him says that "Wavpotich, having tasted food all over the world, takes cooking seriously and researches all his recipes as he did when he prepared Chicken Kiev and other Russian fare for the [Women's Association of Hilton Head]."

A man of broad capabilities and interests, Gus also enjoyed tennis, sailing, and racing. He served as commodore of the Nyack Boat Club in New York and the Yacht Club of Hilton Head. He was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church, the Navy League, the Hilton Head Island Computer Club, the Low Country Association of Commodores, and the International Association of Cooking Schools.

He died on July 20, 2005, and is interred at St Francis by the Sea Catholic Church Columbarium on Hilton Head.


1922 NJ birth index

1940 census

1942 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1961 passenger manifest, flight from London to NY

1962 article in The Record (Hackensack NJ); he is on a committee to draft a new snow ordinance in Demarest

1969 article in The Record (Hackensack NJ); he is on Conservation Commission in Demarest

1975 article in The Island Packet (Hilton Head SC); he is active in the Art League

1977 photo and caption in The Island Packet (Hilton Head SC) about his cooking

1984 article in The Island Packet (Hilton Head SC) about his cooking

2005 VA death record

2005 Find a Grave record*k6rrlg*_gcl_au*NTYwNzY3OTg5LjE3MDMxOTQwMjI.*_ga*MTk5MjA3NDU0LjE3MDMxOTQwMjM.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*NjM3NTM3NTMtNDZlZS00ZDgxLTlkNzAtNWEyMTNmOGM0NjAxLjguMS4xNzAzMTk0Njg2LjU2LjAuMA..*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*NjM3NTM3NTMtNDZlZS00ZDgxLTlkNzAtNWEyMTNmOGM0NjAxLjEwLjEuMTcwMzE5NDY4Ni4wLjAuMA..

2005 Social Security death index

2005 obituary in The Island Packet (Hilton Head SC)

2016 wife's obituary

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!