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Ira Altman

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

Military occupational specialty: 803 (bugler)


Born 1921 in NY, Died 1964

County of residence at enlistment: Kings County, NY
Other residence(s): Brooklyn, NY; Mt. Vernon, NY; Scarsdale, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: professional occupations, n.e.c.
College education before the war: 3 years
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Fort Meade clipping from Harold Dahl; Photograph 91-14 GALP archive; Bahnhof flag signature; Unit Shipment 10143-B, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945;

Ira Altman was born on September 12, 1921, in New York City, likely an only child. His father, a dress salesman, had been born in Hungary.

The 1940 census shows Ira living with his parents in Brooklyn, and working as a textile converter. (A textile converter converts an idea—his own or a buyer's—into a commercially marketable product.)

Ira registered for the draft on February 16, 1942, at which time he was working at Cohn-Hall-Marx, a fashion fabrics producer, likely still as a textile converter. He enlisted on August 18, 1942, stating that he had completed three years of college.

It is possible he had attended art school, and/or designed fabric to his own or others' specifications, because he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion along with other NYC area artists. He served in Europe with the unit.

After the war he returned to New York and his textile work. He married a woman named Lucille Lovette Grief and they became the parents of four sons born in the late 1940s and early 1950s: Steven, Jonathan, Robert, and Richard. (NOTE: Records seem to show that Lucille had been previously married, that her first husband died in 1952, and that she and Ira married in 1954. So the children may have been born during her first marriage.)

At some point the family moved to Mt. Vernon, NY and then to Scarsdale, and Ira continued his work as a textile converter. He seemed to be working for a company named Fabrics by Joyce, Inc. He was also an active golfer—written up in local papers for his country club committee memberships and his golf game.

Sadly, Ira died suddenly on June 15, 1964, leaving a wife and four teenage sons. Tributes appeared in the New York Times, alongside his obituary, from the Textile Distributors Association and the Board of Governors of Fenway Golf Club in Scarsdale. He is buried at Temple Sholom Cemetery in Greenwich, CT.

NOTE: Early research showed an Ira Altman living at two different addresses in Scarsdale, 670 Wilmot Road and 16 Vivian Drive. I initially thought these were two different people, but additional mapwork showed that these two addresses were basically on the same property; Wilmot Road intersects with Vivian Drive.


1940 census

1942 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1955 New Rochelle, NY city directory

1957 article in the Mount Vernon Argus (NY) about his golf game

1960 article in the Reporter Dispatch (White Plains, NY) about his son's bar mitzvah

1964 JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry

1964 death notice in the New York Times (with acknowledgement by Fenway Golf Club))

1964 death notice in the New York Times (with acknowledgement by Textile Distributors Assn.)

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