The Short Life of Edward Gibis

Edward J. Gibis, age 18

Edward J. Gibis, age 18

Edward J. Gibis is 18 in this handsome photo. He was the oldest son of John Gibis and Maria/Mary Libich. Born on October 2, 1913 he appears to have had a tragic end to his life.

The family, John, Maria, Edward, and younger brother Julius lived in Chicago from at least 1920-1940. That is where Edward, in 1931, was photographed at St. Michael Central High School here as a Senior. Father John worked mainly as a mail carrier for the US Post office. Edward was still living at home at age 26 in 1940. He worked as a shipping clerk. Younger brother Julius was married with a child, but still in Chicago.

Moving on, Edward enlisted in the Army on June 12, 1942; he was still single. Only one more piece of documentation follows Edward after that WWII enlistment record. A Rockford, Illinois newspaper article titled “Discharged Soldier in Fall from Train Dies.” That appeared on November 2, 1945. ┬áThe article states that Edward J. Gibis, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Gibis of Chicago fell from a New York Central Passenger train on his way home. He had been discharged from the army at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. How or why he fell is unknown. He died that evening at a Lafayette hospital. I’ve not found a death certificate or a burial record. The only odd thing is that the article says Edward was 20, when he would have been about 32.

Edward had no family of his own, but Julius lived until 1999 and had a large and loving family. Hopefully some of them will be interested in this long lost uncle.

Thomas Wirth of St. Michael’s Central High School in Chicago

St. Michael Central High School, Chicago, 1931

St. Michael Central High School, Chicago, 1931

I LOVE when I get a “new” class photo that I’ve ordered. This week the 1931 class of St. Michael’s Central High School in Chicago came in. The “Central” is very important in order to differentiate it from St. Michael’s High school, which started co-ed but quickly became all girls. This school, it appears, was all boys, at least this class. Here’s a great site that gives some background on the school.

Thomas Wirth (1914-1939)

Thomas Wirth (1914-1939)

The first young man from the 1931 class that I will focus on is Thomas Wirth. In 1930, a year before this photo, Thomas lived with his parents and 2 sisters. He was 16, both his parents were born in Germany. His father, Joseph Wirth, was a elevator operation. His older sister Mary, named after their mother, was the only other worker in the house; she sold pianos and organs.

Looking back, in 1920 the family – with oldest son Joseph Jr. still at home – were still in Chicago. Mr. Wirth still operated elevators and Jospeh Jr. (age 22) was a bookkeeper for a railroad. The spacing of the children was interesting: 8 years between the 1st and 2nd, 8 years between the 2nd and 3rd, 4 years between the 3rd and 4th.

Thomas doesn’t show up in a census after 1930. It appears he died rather young, in 1939 at the age of 25 :( He was married to Erma Wirth. I’ve not found anyone searching for him. Not surprising given his young age when he died, but perhaps a niece or nephew or even a child of Erma’s who would be interested?