Kendall Currier Halbert
T/5 in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co D
Born 1914 in NY, Died 1991
County of residence at enlistment: Essex County, NJ
Other residence(s): Nutley, NJ in 1942; Washington, DC
United States Army, did not accompany the unit to Europe
Occupation before the war: commercial artists
College education before the war: 3 years
Kendall Halbert was born on December 16, 1914 in Brooklyn, NY, the oldest of two children, His mother was born in Canada; and his father's father was also Canadian. At some point the family moved to Nutley, NJ, and Kendall graduated from Nutley High School in 1933.
He went on to study art in college for three years, and by 1940 was working as a window dresser at Kresge's Department Store in Newark. He enlisted in the Army on March 6, 1942, where he listed his profession as commercial artist.
Kendall's sister, Marjorie, was also involved in the war effort, working for the War Department in Newark as a supervisor.
In March, 1944, his engagement to Beatrix des Marets Dodd was announced, but the wedding appears to have been either called off or short-lived.
Kendall was discharged from the Army on November 9, 1945, with the rank of Tec 5 (per his gravestone) and went back to New Jersey. In 1947 and 1948 he is mentioned in newspaper articles as designing scenery and costumes for the Children's Own Theater in Newark, but it is likely that his main work was still window dressing.
Sometime in the 1950s he moved to Washington DC. A 1958 Evening Star article describes how he encouraged an Estonian artist, who had been in a Russian labor camp, to do sketches for the background of window displays at Joan Robert on Connecticut Avenue. "Kendall Halbert, a window display decorator, suggested I could do these sketches. I really didn't think I'd be good at it."
A 1960 city directory lists him commercially under the heading of "Display Forms and Fixtures," so it is likely he was doing freelance display work. It is known that he designed a one-man show for an artist at the Mayflower Hotel in DC sometime during the 1960s.
Kendall died in Washington on October 30, 1991, and is buried at Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia.
1940 Draft Registration
1942 Enlistment Record
1944 Engagement Announcement
1947 article in Newark NJ Star Ledger, describing his work in scenery and costumes
1958 article in Washington DC Evening Star, placing him as window display decorator
1960 Washington DC directory listing
1991 VA Death Record
1991 Find a Grave Record