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Carl Thomas Apicella

PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : HQ & Service Co

Military occupational specialty: 144 (painter, general)


Born 1917 in OH, Died 1989


County of residence at enlistment: Cuyahoga County, OH
Other residence(s): Cleveland, OH; South Euclid, OH; Cleveland Heights, OH
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: engineer, civil
College education before the war: Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland State Univ.
Notes: "Appy." Earlier in Company D?
Source: Photo caption in Seymour Nussenbaum scrapbook; notes provided by family of Harold Dahl; Unit Shipment 10143-B, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945; HQ & Service Company List of Men and Jobs;; photo from Find a Grave website, added by Richard Weide

Carl Apicella was born on July 8, 1917* in Cleveland, OH, the oldest of five children. His father worked as a cement contractor.

Carl studied architecture and art at John Huntington Polytechnic Institute, the Cooper School of Art, Case School of Applied Science (eventually Case Western Reserve University), and Fenn College (which later became Cleveland State University), the last for four years. He was usually enrolled in night classes, and his education was interrupted by his World War II service.

He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940, giving his employer as C.T. Apicella & Associates and his wife's name as Margaret, and he enlisted on November 12, 1943. Like many artists, he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, and saw service in Europe during the war. He was one of the artists who worked on the set design for "Blarney Breakdown," a show the unit put on at the end of October, 1944.

He was discharged from the Army on October 30, 1945 and returned to Cleveland, where he worked as a commercial and residential architect. His firm became known as Carl T. Apicella Organization, and also the Apicella Builders Clinic Organization, and it included his younger brother Rick Acell, also an architect. (Rick had changed his last name along the way.)

On June 26, 1947, he married Helen Valince; they would have one daughter, Carla Jean, the following year. By 1950, the family was living in South Euclid, OH.

In 1954, Carl received top prize in a local competition for a split-level home he designed and built. And in 1956 he won the regional award in a national competition sponsored by the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Co. for outstanding home construction.

Carl and Rick's father also helped with his sons' business, which included both design and construction. In fact, their father died in 1955 when he was in Florida, supervising the construction of a home designed by the Apicella firm.

In Ohio, Carl and his firm built houses and apartments in East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland. He also designed structures such as an outdoor shrine for St. Paul Catholic Church in Euclid. He served as a member of the South Euclid Planning and Zoning Board in the late 1950s.

In 1965, he was partially blinded by a nail and left off design and building. He then spent 12 years working for the Cleveland Heights Building Department, serving for part of that time as the city's building commissioner.

After that, he worked as chief of construction for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, and then as building commissioner in Highland Heights, OH from 1982-84.

He also was "Mr. Fixit" on radio station WBBG, and an instructor for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education, teaching adult courses in home maintenance. He was a member of the Cleveland Area Board of Realtors and was certified with the state as an electrical safety and plumbing inspector.

Carl and Helen divorced in 1971, and he then married Donna Melaragno. They would go on to have two sons: Eugene and Thomas.

Carl was living in Cleveland Heights when he died of cancer on June 6, 1989. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH.

*Various documents list his birthdate as 1915, 1917, 1919, 1920, and 1921. Given various census records and other sources, 1917 seems the most likely.


1930 census

1940 census

1940 draft card (NOTE: birth year is off by two years but MOST other records say 1917)

1943 enlistment record

1944 World War II hospital admission files

1947 marriage announcement in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH)

1950 census

1955 father's obituary in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH)

1956 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH) about an award he won

1960 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH) about a design project

1971 divorce record

1983-1988 US Public Records Index

1989 Find a Grave record*1pgz1pq*_gcl_au*MjA2MzU5NTkyNC4xNjk4NjEzOTky*_ga*Njk5MzA3MzcxLjE2OTg2MTM5OTI.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MDYxNTZlNDQtODIwNi00OGYwLTgwMGItZWZkYTMyZTRjMDFlLjI5LjEuMTY5OTgwNjM1OS42MC4wLjA.*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*MDYxNTZlNDQtODIwNi00OGYwLTgwMGItZWZkYTMyZTRjMDFlLjQwLjEuMTY5OTgwNjM1OS4wLjAuMA..

1989 Ohio death record

1989 Social Security death index

1989 VA death record

1989 obituary in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

1989 death notice in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

406th Unit History Compiled

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