Earl Adam Fenstermacher Sr.
PFC in 3133rd Signal Service Co
ASN#33837228 Casualty: Wounded
Born 1919 in PA, Died 1996
County of enlistment: Allentown, PA
Other residence(s): Schuylkill Haven, PA; Pottsville, PA; Orwigsburg, PA; Atlantic City, NJ; Absecon, NJ; Oceanville, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: skilled painters, construction and maintenance
Earl Fenstermacher was born in Schuylkill Haven, PA on February 14, 1919, an only child. His father was an auto mechanic. His parents divorced when he was a child and his mother remarried sometime in the 1930s.
Earl finished a year of high school and had joined the Pennsylvania National Guard by 1938. He received a service medal for flood emergency duty in 1936.
When he registered for the draft, on October 16, 1940, he was living in Orwigsburg, PA and working at Pennsylvania Electric Steel Casting Company in Hamburg. He had married Phyllis Klingeman on February 17, 1940, and they had two children in the following two years: Earlene and Fern.
Earl was working as a "skilled painter, construction and maintenance" when he enlisted, on February 25, 1944, and was assigned to the 3133rd Signal Service Company. He went overseas with the unit on March 14, 1945, and spent six months in Italy as a truck driver. According to his son, Earl Jr., "he and his tank crew drove off a cliff and into a river. He broke his neck, and was only saved because his gunner kept him afloat until the medics arrived and got him out." He was awarded a Purple Heart with an oak leaf cluster (the equivalent of two Purple Hearts).
Earl did his stateside rehab at Haddon Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, an early boardwalk resort that eventually became Resorts Hotel and Casino. He was discharged from the Army on February 2, 1946 with the rank of PFC and decided to stay in Atlantic City. He and Phyllis had separated before his European duty, and they were divorced in 1948.
By 1950 he had married Lorraine Spears and was using his GI benefits to study television repair. He then started his own business, Earl's TV, and he and Lorraine had two children: Earl and Nancy. He joined the American Legion in Egg Harbor, NJ, and later he worked at Vineland Transit Co.
By 1974, Earl and his family were living in Absecon, NJ. Earl enjoyed playing golf at Mays Landing Country Club in nearby Mays Landing.
He died on March 5, 1996 in Oceanville, NJ and is buried at Laurel Memorial Park in Pomona, NJ.
1938 article in the Reading Times (PA) about his national guard service
1940 draft card
1944 enlistment record
1944 article in The Call (Schuylkill Haven, PA); he is home for a 12-day furlough
1948 article about his divorce underway in the Record-American (Mahanoy City, PA)
1948 article about divorce granted in The Call (Schuylkill Haven, PA)
1950 Pennsylvania Veterans Compensation File
1950 Atlantic City directory
1974 US Public Records Index (Absecon, NJ)
1996 VA death record
1996 Find a Grave record (includes obituary)
1996 Social Security death index
2023 (July 2) GALP Veteran Biography Worksheet from son, Earl A. Fenstermacher, Jr.