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Erasmus Theophilus Beall Jr.

S/SGT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co D, HQ Platoon

ASN#17059154 Casualty: Wounded

Born 1912 in GA, Died 1979


County of residence at enlistment: Jackson County, MO
Other residence(s): Dawson, GA in 1942
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: artists, sculptors, and teachers of art
Notes: Rank changed from PVT in GA roster to S/SGT per New York Area Leave List; Purple Heart; GO #34, HQ SP TRS, 12th A Gp, 4 Apr 45. Enemy Action, 13 Mar 45. Pickard, Germany.
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Awards and Decorations; Bernie Mason Company D Roster; photo courtesy Ryan Lowery, Patriot Preservation LLC

He had the wonderful name of Erasmus Theophilus Beall, Jr. And apparently his ancestry goes back a ways, since there is an 1836 Erasmus Beall house in Lumpkin, GA.

A little research shows that his grandfather (Captain Samuel Erasmus Beall) and his great-grandfather (Colonel Erasmus Thaddeus Beall) were both Confederate soldiers in the Civil War.

Although he was born in Lumpkin, Georgia, by 1935 he was living in Kansas City. He married first wife Diana there in 1936 (per various ancestry records).

In his 1940 draft registration, it says he is working at Harzfeld's, which was a high-end women and children's clothing store.

Enlistment record,sl,fd&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=1401056

Here is a selection from a 2009 book entitled Harzfeld's: A Brief History, which deals with Beall's career there. It also shows a photo of him, and of a number of his displays. His nickname was "Ras" and his (second) wife was Aileen. (They married in 1949.)

The book says he was their display director for 33 years, and was "a shy southern gentleman of great creative talent." He had started at Rich's in Atlanta, but moved to Harzfeld's in 1936. He also taught classes at the Kansas City Art Institute, created campaigns for Revlon, and judged art displays at the 1939 World's Fair.

In 1941 while he was teaching at KC Art Institute, he helped the Dean organize a camouflage school there. That got him invited to a two-week course in concealment at Fort Belvoir.

Here’s a 1958 interview discussing his introduction to camouflage and his WW2 experience.

Thousands lined the streets to see his Christmas window displays in KC. "He was the foremost interior decorator and window designer of his day. He was, in the artsy world of Kansas City, a person of great standing."

Here's a newspaper article from 1957, where he was involved in planning a big charity event. Photo here.

He died in 1979.

Find a Grave record:

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