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Ralph George Reinwald Sr.

PFC in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C


Born 1911 in PA, Died 1968


County of residence at enlistment: Allegheny County, PA
Other residence(s): Pittsburgh, PA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: elevator operators
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Company C roster; photo courtesy Joseph C. Reinwald

Ralph Reinwald was born on March 24, 1911 in Pittsburgh, PA, the son of a brakeman for the steam railroad. He and his twin brother were the third and fourth of six children, although only five survived to adulthood. All four of his grandparents had been born in Germany; his baptismal record was written in German in the local Lutheran church's record book.

Ralph attended Perry High School in Pittsburgh, leaving at 18 after completing three years. In 1930, he was working as an errand boy in a drugstore. Later he would study commercial art at Allegheny High School's night school, and also pursue art classes at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon).

Ralph went to work at Weaver, Costello & Co., a Pittsburgh candy maker; both he and his twin brother Earl worked there. Ralph was also an active member of the Allegheny Artists' League of Pittsburgh. The group, which consisted of about 40 artists, three fourths of whom were self-taught, met weekly to sketch, paint, and discuss events in the art world, and held an annual exhibit of members' work. A 1942 newspaper article describes the group as follows: "Their painting is limited to evening work, and Sunday afternoon excursions into the country, which the organization sponsors. For this reason, the artists have often been labelled 'Sunday painters.'"

Ralph registered for the draft on October 16, 1940. By the time he enlisted, on May 23, 1942, he was working as an elevator operator and serving on the executive board of the Artists' League.

Ralph's artistic interests got him assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion. A few months after he enlisted, he managed to hand-deliver an army life sketch, "Sunday Morning," for mounting in the League's annual art exhibit.

Ralph served in Europe with the 603rd. His twin brother Earl also served overseas as a member of the Army's Medical Corps. Ralph was discharged on October 15, 1945 with the rank of PFC, and married Jean V. Alu on November 21, 1945. They would go on to become the parents of three children: Ralph Jr., Janice, and Joseph.

After the war, Ralph went to work for Mallet & Company. During the years he worked there the company manufactured pastry jelly fillings and later Tweed's Mustard. Ralph was in charge of mixing and cooking large batches of these products.

His hobbies included reading and listening to classical music. He took up photography and continued to paint in oil and watercolor. A 1946 newspaper article describes a handmade Bible that he and a group of 150 men created for Trinity Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh. Each man hand-lettered eight pages, using calligraphy, and Ralph also created the frontispiece in Old English lettering. He remained active in the Artists' League through at least 1948. His son, Joe, recalls his father taking him in the 1950s to visit friends who had been fellow League members.

He encouraged all of his children to make art. Though none became professional artists, his daughter Janice was an amateur painter all of her life. (Both of his sons became math teachers!)

Ralph died on January 15, 1968 in Pittsburgh, and is buried at Allegheny Cemetery there.


1911 Baptismal record

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census

1940 draft card

1940 article in the Pittsburgh Press (PA) re his membership in Allegheny Artist League

1942 article in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (PA) re the Allegheny Artists League

1942 enlistment record

1942 article in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (PA) re his art and the military

1943 article in Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (PA) re his military career

1945 Pennsylvania marriage record

1946 article in the Pittsburgh Press (PA) about a Bible he helped to illustrate

1948 article in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (PA) about his artwork

1950 Pennsylvania veterans' compensation file

1968 Find a Grave record*8vhc83*_gcl_au*MzIwMTc1NjczLjE3MDczMjYzODU.*_ga*MjEyMTM2OTU0OC4xNzA3MzI2Mzg1*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*OGJlNjJlNjEtYjdjMC00YmYxLTk4Y2EtYmE5OGU3M2U3NTQ3LjEuMS4xNzA3MzI3NTI1LjU0LjAuMA..*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*OGJlNjJlNjEtYjdjMC00YmYxLTk4Y2EtYmE5OGU3M2U3NTQ3LjEuMS4xNzA3MzI3NTI1LjAuMC4w

1968 Social Security death index

1968 Social Security applications and claims index

1968 Pennsylvania veterans' burial cards

1968 Pennsylvania death certificate

1968 US headstone application for military veterans

1968 death notice in the Pittsburgh Press (PA)

2024 (February 6) GALP Veteran Biography Worksheet from son Joseph C. Reinwald

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