George Herbert Tuell
3132nd Signal Service Co : T&M Platoon
Born 1922 in KY, Died 1986
County of residence at enlistment: Jefferson County, KY
Other residence(s): Louisville, KY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: decorators and window dressers
College education after the war: Louisville School of the Arts
George Tuell was born on the Fourth of July, 1922, in Louisville, KY. He was the younger of two sons; his father worked as a clerk in a railroad office, and later at a plumbing manufacturer.
Sometime in George's early childhood his parents divorced, and his father remarried in 1929. At the time, the family lived with George's father's parents, and four of his father's siblings. Gradually George's aunts and uncles left home, though George's family stayed with his grandparents. A younger sister, born when George was 16, joined them in 1938.
George showed an aptitude for art at a young age; in 1937, when he was a 9th grader at Western Junior High, he sat at the window of his aunt and uncle's apartment and created a painting of the Louisville Flood of 1937—which was happening right within view. His painting shows a man in a rowboat making his way down the flooded street, and the homes and businesses across the street with water lapping halfway up their doorways.
He graduated from Louisville Male High School in 1940, and appears to have enrolled in classes at Ahrens Trade High School (which offered a robust selection of courses for working men and women from 3:30-11:30 pm). He married Gladys Penick in January, 1942. When he registered for the draft, on June 30, 1942, he listed his employer as the "Radio School Signal Corps," and their location as the Ahrens Trade School.
He enlisted on September 23, 1942, was assigned to the 3132 Signal Service Company, and saw service with the unit in Europe.
After being discharged from the Army on November 18, 1945, he returned to Louisville and used his GI Bill benefits to study art at the Art Center Association School (which later became Louisville School of the Arts), along with other veterans. He won several awards while he was there, including first place in black and white drawings in 1946: a street scene of a bombed-out city from his Ghost Army experience. (He also won first place in commercial design for a Pan-American Exhibit poster.)
He exhibited his artwork at the Kentucky & Southern Indiana Exhibition of art in 1947-1949, winning several awards including one for "Peaceful Valley," in 1949, a "close view of a deserted, war-shattered town." (Another vignette from his Ghost Army experience.) At least one of these prize-winning canvases was bought by a local firm for its collection of Kentucky art.
George and Gladys became the parents of two children, Gwynne and Gary, in 1949 and 1950 respectively. In 1949, George was a department manager at Byck Bros. & Co., a popular local clothing store, and in 1950 he was working as a "display man" there.
By 1952, he'd taken a job as Art Director for WAVE, Channel 3, a TV station in Louisville, a position he would remain in for the rest of his career.
Sometime in the 1950s George and Gladys divorced, and he married Juanita "Nit" Bigler, also a painter, and advertising director for Bacon's Department Stores for 30+ years.
During his tenure at WAVE he did the set decoration for a number of special live productions there. These included a series of 13 half-hour opera segments in 1952-1953, a full-length opera in 1959 (the first opera ever commissioned by an independent broadcast station), and Christmas specials in 1956 and 1966.
He also played golf competitively, winning trophies in 1949 and 1951 when he represented Byck Brothers on a team, and achieving a hole-in-one in 1961.
Later in his career he went back to painting and produced a series of paintings of Louisville landmarks which he sold as signed and numbered prints.
He died on January 29, 1986 and is buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, KY.
1940 yearbook photo (see link below in sources)
1922 birth index
1940 high school yearbook
1941 notice in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) of his marriage license
1941 engagement announcement in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY)
1942 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1946 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) about some awards he received at the Art Center Association School exhibit
1947 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) re his winning an honorable mention for a painting on exhibit
1948 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) re his winning an honorable mention for a painting on exhibit
1949 Louisville city directory
1949 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) about a painting of his being exhibited
1952 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) about his doing set decoration at WAVE for a series of 13 half-hour operas
1958 Louisville city directory
1959 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) re his doing set decoration for an opera in Louisville
1961 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) re his hole in one
1966 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) about set decoration he did for a local TV Christmas special (in 1956 and again in 1966)
1977 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) about a painting he made when he was 14 of the flooded streets in Louisville in 1937
1981 ad in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) re a print of his on sale (1st in a series)
1981 ad in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) re a print of his on sale (2nd in a series)
1986 VA death record
1986 Find a Grave record
1986 Social Security death index
1986 death notice in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY)
2010 obituary of his second wife, Juanita