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John Jacob Tomcik

CPT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Executive Officer


Born 1914 in OH, Died 1993

Other residence(s): Barberton, OH; Columbus, OH; Upper Arlington, OH; Pleasanton, CA; Danville, CA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
College education before the war: Chicago Technical College; Ohio State Univ.
Notes: Previously HQ & Service Co, Commanding
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Roster of 23d HQ officers, from family of Oscar Seale; Unit Shipment 10143-B, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945; HQ & Service Company List of Men and Jobs; photo courtesy Ancestry® and Ohio State University

John Tomcik was born on July 8, 1914 in Barberton, OH, the third of four children. Both of his parents had been born in Czechoslovakia; his father worked for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. The family took in boarders to give fellow Czechs a home and help ends meet—in 1920 they had six boarders, some relatives and four of the six indicating they had not yet learned English.

John's father was naturalized in 1923. He swore allegiance to the US but that didn't mean he gave up his connection to the old country; he served for some years as President of the National Slovak Society.

John graduated from Barberton High School and then studied at Chicago Technical College. Eventually, he went on to Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1939. While in college he served as president of the Newman Club (an organization for Catholic students), a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a participant in the Pershing Rifles—a drill organization designed to develop military officer candidates. In 1937 he had achieved the rank of SGT in ROTC, and in 1939 he earned the rank of CPT.

John enlisted in the Army on June 17, 1941, and married Helen Brokaw on Valentine's Day, 1942 in Franklin, OH. By then, he had been commissioned a lieutenant in the Army and was living in the Plattsburgh (NY) Barracks as a member of the 36th Engineers (a group training for amphibious assault and support). Eventually he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, and served in Europe with the unit during the war; by the time the unit returned to the US he had become Executive Officer of the 603rd.

He was discharged from the Army with the rank of CPT on December 16, 1945, and returned to Columbus, OH. He and Helen became the parents of three children—all born in the mid to late 1940s—James, Michael, and David. In 1950, John was working as a sales engineer with a steel construction firm; by the late 1950s he was VP at Ranney Method Water Supplies, Inc.*

In 1951, the family moved to Upper Arlington, OH, a suburb of Columbus, where they would remain for nearly 30 years. At some point, John was induced to bring his water and sewer expertise to the city of Columbus, and he worked there for many years. By 1970 he was acting chief sewerage engineer, and from 1971-1973 he served as chief sewerage engineer. Eventually he became the director of the Sewer and Drain Division, a job he held until he retired in 1980.

After he retired, John and Helen moved to California where all three of their sons lived. They settled in Pleasanton; John was able to play golf frequently and enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports. He was also an active member of St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Pleasanton.

John died on April 26, 1993 and is buried at St. Augustine's Cemetery in Pleasanton, CA.

*Ranney collectors are deep wells made from steel reinforced concrete cylinders which can be linked together. It's possible that his 1950 job was with the same firm, since steel was also involved there.


1920 census

1930 census

1937 article in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH) re his ROTC service in college

1939 article in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH) re his ROTC promotion

1939 yearbook (includes photo)

1942 marriage record

1942 wedding announcement in the Columbus Sunday Dispatch (OH)

1945 Columbus (OH) city directory

1950 census

1950 father's obituary in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH),0.54059374,0.524982,0.6510174&xid=3355&_gl=1*o415r3*_gcl_au*MTMyMzc5NjA0NS4xNzIwMjk3MzE0*_ga*MTk3MzMxNDM3OS4xNzIwMjk3MzE1*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*YjIyYmNlNzgtYTNlNC00ZmQ3LTlkNWYtY2FiZjRjZGIzYWE4LjcuMS4xNzIwNjE1MTg3LjIwLjAuMA..*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*YjIyYmNlNzgtYTNlNC00ZmQ3LTlkNWYtY2FiZjRjZGIzYWE4LjcuMS4xNzIwNjE1MTg3LjAuMC4w

1956 Columbus (OH) city directory

1970 article in the Columbus Evening Dispatch (OH) re his job with the city

1993 US public records index

1993 VA death record

1993 Social Security death index

1993 obituary in the Columbus Dispatch (OH)

1993 Find a Grave record

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