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.  The 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.

Ralph Spitzer of Chicago, another son of German immigrants who fought the Germans

Ralph Spitzer in 1931

Ralph Spitzer in 1931

Meet Ralph Spitzer, a classmate of Thomas Wirth from St. Michael’s Central high school in Chicago. Ralph was born in Illinois in 1913 to Max Spitzer and Sophie Mawicke. Max and his parents were all from Germany and immigrated to the US in the mid 1870s. Sophie’s parents were also German, but she was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ralph was the youngest of 5 siblings (Loretta, Florence, Dorothy, Robert, and Ralph). The family appears to have all lived and died in Chicago.

In 1931, the year of this photo, Ralph was in high school. After graduation he continued to live at home and worked as a shipping clerk for a clock manufacturer; he did not attend college it would appear. His mother died in 1939, and, with the war in full swing, Ralph joined the army in 1942. He married Rose in 1948 (the same year his father died), although I don’t know if they had any children. I hope they did, so there will be some descendants who care about this photo!

According to several sources, Ralph Spitzer died in Chicago in July of 1981. His parents are buried in Saint Boniface Cemetery in Chicago, but I’m not sure where or if Ralph is buried.

Best of luck Ralph!