1943 Sunpapers Christmas Show profiles

Sgt. James Albright - Frederick, Md.

James Albright received a Purple Heart for wounds he received during the invasion of France in June 1944.  After the war he worked at Fort Detrick in Frederick for more than 30 years.  He died at age 70 in 1986.


Born: Apr. 17, 1916

Died: Nov. 12, 1986

Wives: Helen (Roberts) Albright; Virginia (Edwards) Albright

Sgt. James Bartlett - Spencer, West Va.  

James Bartlett was a former Towson resident who before the war had worked as a brakeman for the B&O Railroad  on the run from Brunswick to Baltimore.  Bartlett was 66 when he died in 1982.


Born: Nov. 30, 1915

Died: March 1982

Wife: Edna (Douglas) Bartlett

Capt. Ernest L. Bayton - Portsmouth, Va. 

Ernest Bayton was a dentist with a medical detachment. Bayton died in 1996 at age 82.

Born: Feb. 16, 1914

Died: March 6, 1996

Wife: Jean Bayton

Maj. John C. Bishop - Queenstown, Md. 

John Bishop was a Commander with the 323rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force.  He was 60 when he died in 1976.

Born: Jan. 24, 1916

Died: June 18, 1976

Wife: Irma (Hall) Bishop

Sgt. Benny Blubaugh - Baltimore

Benjamin Blubaugh played in the 29th Division band.  On the Christmas Day radio broadcast, he joined sergeants Jose Casanova and Sol Lurie of Baltimore, Warrant Officer Larry Smigel of Philadelphia, and pianist Sgt. Nick Grimaldi of Philadelphia, to sing a version of the Ink Spots' hit, "Java Jive".  Blubaugh was 40 when he died in 1961.

Born: March 17, 1920

Died: Jan. 26, 1961

Wife: Mary G (Hesson) Blubaugh 

George Bond (Red Cross) - Laurel, Md.

George Bond was a Senior Field Director for the Red Cross, assigned to the 29th Division in England during the war.  In November 1945 he was awarded the Bronze Star.  After the war, he worked with Maloney Concrete Co. in Washington, DC.  He died in 1963 at age 66.


Born: Nov. 1897

Died: Dec. 3, 1963

Wife: Anna Rose (Mann) Bond

Reporter Holbrook Bradley – Baltimore

Baltimore Sun correspondent Holbrook Bradley wrote the script for the infantry portions of the 1943 Christmas show.  Bradley joined The Sun in 1942 and covered Baltimore's waterfront before being assigned to cover the 29th Infantry Division during the war.  He was with the 29th when they landed on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day through the German surrender.  After the war, he returned to Baltimore and worked for The Sun until joining the staff of Time-Life.  In 1948, he went to work for the State Department, then later worked for the United States Information Agency.  He wrote a book, published in 2007, about his coverage of World War II.  Bradley was the last surviving member of The Sun's World War II correspondents.  He died at age 93 in 2010.

Born: 1917

Died: July 10, 2010

Wife: Phoebe Marsh (Footner) Bradley

Pvt. James Brooks - Lynchburg, Va. 

James Brooks was part of a group from Lynchburgh and Staunton, Va. that played a hillbilly song during the Christmas broadcast.

Born: 1922

Pvt. Melvin Carbaugh - Frederick, Md. 

On the Christmas Day show, Melvin Carbaugh introduced his wife, the former Dorothy Whitmarsh, an English girl he had married only a few hours prior to broadcast.  In June 1944, Carbaugh was wounded during the invasion of France.  His younger brother, Raymond, was listed as missing in action, but was later discovered to have been a prisoner of war.  He died in 2013 at age 92.


Born: April 25, 1920

Died: Feb. 22, 2013

Wife: Dorothy C.F. (Whitmarsh) Carbaugh

Sgt. Harry Carper - Winchester, Va. 

Harry Carver enlisted in 1941 and at the time of the broadcast was a personnel clerk in the headquarters company.

Born: April 25, 1921

Died: Feb. 18, 1980

Sgt. Jose Casanova – Baltimore

Jose Casanova joined fellow sergeants Benjamin Blubaugh and Sol Lurie of Baltimore, Warrant Officer Larry Smigel of Philadelphia, and pianist Sgt. Nick Grimaldi of Philadelphia in performing the Ink Spots' hit, "Java Jive."  Casanova had been a musician in a New York City nightclub prior to the war.

Born: 1910 in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Capt. Benjamin F. Cassell – Baltimore

Benjamin Cassell earned a Bronze Star for his role in helping plan the D-Day invasion.  After the war he was active in the Maryland National Guard, serving as Assistant Adjutant General for 27 years.  He was also a former National Commander of the 29th Division Association.  He died in 1984 at age 77.


Born: Jan. 13, 1907

Died: July 25, 1984

Wife: Theola May (Nelson) Cassell

Sgt. Talmadge Coffey - Lynchburg, Va.

On the Christmas Day radio show, Coffey, who went by the name "Ray", was part of a band of Virginians who played hillbilly music.  Months later, Coffey participated in the D-Day invasion.  After the war, Coffey returned to Virginia where he worked as an auto parts salesman.  He was also a lay minister and kept up with his music, earning a reputation for playing the spoons on Saturday nights at the Twin Oaks general store in Amherst County, Virginia.  Coffey was 84 when he died in 2003.

Born: Aug. 11, 1918

Died: July 16, 2003

Enlisted: Feb. 3, 1941

Wife: Frances (Crist) Coffey

Sgt. Arnold Coulter - Danville, Va. 

Arnold Coulter had flown on 25 missions by the time of the 1943 Christmas show.  He was 77 when he died in 1999.

Born: Dec. 19, 1921

Died: Nov. 4, 1999

Capt. Thomas Dukehart – Baltimore


Thomas Van Arden Dukehart was a lacrosse All-America during his college days at Johns Hopkins.  When he returned to Baltimore after the war, he was prominent in the local sports scene.  He was a special events coordinator for the 100th Preakness Stakes; committee coordinator for the Lady Carling Golf Tournament; worked in the Orioles ticket office; and served as the first publicity director for the Baltimore Colts, helping to write the team's fight song.  Dukehart also covered sports for the Baltimore News American and hosted sports segments on local TV and radio stations.  Although he was not on the 1943 Christmas Day broadcast, he wrote a song for his wife that was sung by Sgt. Charles Ives of Bel Air.  Months later, Dukehart took part in the Normandy invasion.  He died in 1975 at age 60.

Born: March 17, 1915

Died: Nov. 19, 1975

Wife: Elizabeth Wills (Reeder) Dukehart

Sgt. Julius Edwards - Harrisonburg, Va. 

Julius Edwards was a waist gunner who had only been in England for three months at the time of the Christmas broadcast.  In February 1944, during a mission to Achmer, Germany, Edwards was aboard a plane named "Lightning Strikes" that was shot down.  He was captured and held in a German POW camp.  After the war, Edwards relocated to New Jersey.

Born: Feb. 15, 1921

Died: Dec. 14, 2000

Wife: Mary Catherine (Johnson) Edwards

Warrant Officer William Fisher - Frederick, Md. 

William Fisher of Frederick served as emcee for the second portion of the show with the 29th Division.  Fisher was leader of a 28-member 29th Division band that played on several BBC programs. He was 86 when he died in 1997.

Born: Oct. 11, 1911

Died: Dec. 20, 1997

Wife: Bertha Irene (McKenzie) Fisher

Sgt. Nick Grimaldi - Philadelphia 


Nick Grimaldi was a pianist who performed on several songs during the Christmas Day radio show.  Grimaldi died in 2001 at 85.

Born: Feb. 2, 1915

Died: 2001

Sgt. Charles Heflin - Hagerstown, Md. 

Charles Heflin of Hagerstown was awarded a Bronze Star in 1945.  He died in 1989 at age 69.

Born: July 5, 1919

Died: Apr. 5, 1989

Katherine "Kitty" Heuisler (Red Cross) - Baltimore


Katherine "Kitty" Heuisler served as a Red Cross clubmobile captain (also referred to as "Doughnut Dollies") during World War II.  She was 31 when she volunteered for overseas duty.  In September 1945, she was a member of the first Red Cross team to cross the Siegfried Line into Germany, recording the time of the crossing in her diary down to the second.  After the end of the European Campaign she returned to Baltimore, only to be asked by the Red Cross to report to the Pacific Theater.  After victory in the Pacific she again came back to Baltimore and briefly worked for developer James Rouse.  From 1946 to 1964 she operated the Katherine Heuisler Dress Shop on Cold Spring Lane.  She died at age 83 in 1994.

Born: Jan. 13, 1911

Died: Dec. 1, 1994

Lt. William F. Hickey – Baltimore

When William Hickey spoke during the 1943 Christmas Day broadcast, The Sun was at the home of his parents, Patrick and Caroline Hickey.  A photo of them, along with Hickey's wife, Audrey, and sister, Anna, sitting in front of a radio topped by his framed photograph was published in the December 26, 1943 paper.  Hickey was a magna cum laude graduate of Loyola College of Maryland and attended Georgetown law school.  He died at 82 in 2000.

Born: May 27, 1918

Died: Dec. 6, 2000

Wife: Audrey M. Hickey

Sgt. Charles Irwin - Bel Air, Md. 

On the 1943 Christmas show, Bel Air's Charles Irwin sang the song, "The Man In The Moon Has Turned Postman," which was written by Capt. Thomas Dukehart for Dukehart's wife.  Irwin often sang at Red Cross clubs and appeared in the 29th Division's show, "Snap It Up Again."  It was after that show that he received a letter from a New York theatrical agent inviting him to contact him.  Once the war ended, Irwin went to New York, but ended up contacting a different producer who signed him to a role in play starring Ray Bolger.  Irwin appeared on Broadway and road tours of several shows before returning to Bel Air.  He acted with a local theater group, then returned to New York where he worked in nightclubs and another play with Ray Bolger.  He married Jacqueline Kelly and returned to Bel Air for good, and worked for years in local broadcasting and advertising.  He was also a co-founder of a bank in Harford County and served on the bank's board.  Irwin, 96, was interviewed in December 2013 about his part in the 1943 Christmas show.

Born: 1918

Wife: Jacqueline (Kelly) Irwin

Maj. Walter Ives – Baltimore


Maj. Walter Ives of Baltimore commanded the 556th Bombardment Squadron, 387th Bombardment Group, composed of B-26s which he escorted in 1943 from MacDill Field in Tampa, Fla. across the Atlantic to Chipping Ongar, England.  Before he joined the air corps, Ives was a member of the 29th Division, along with his brothers, Dudley and Charles.  He named his Martin B-26 Marauder bomber the "Gravel Agitator" as a nod to the infantrymen of the 29th Division.  Ives met his wife, Mary Anna "Cathie" Hutchinson, in her native Northern Ireland during the war.  She was teaching German and French to pilots while also working on a top-secret project to break the German code.  Walter Ives was decorated with the Silver Star in October 1944 and received a Purple Heart after he was wounded on a mission over Germany.  He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with four clusters. He was discharged at war's end with the rank of Lt. Col.  After the death of his wife in 1979, Walter Ives began spending summers touring Europe and the British Isles on his 250 Honda scooter. Walter Ives was 93 when he died in 2009.

Born: 1916

Died: Dec. 3, 2009

Wife: Mary Anna (Hutchinson) Ives

Lt. William S. Kirk - Richmond, Va. 

William Kirk arrived in England in July 1943 and had flown in 17 missions by the time of the Christmas show.

Sgt. Joseph Klein – Baltimore

Joseph Klein was the NCO in charge of squadron operations.  Before the war he worked at Bethlehem Steel.

Born: April 2, 1921

Died: June 27, 1993

Wife: Mary Klein

Col. Jack Lambert – Baltimore


Jack Lambert arrived in England in September 1942.  On the show he mentions his son who was almost a year old, but Lambert had not seen him yet.  Lambert, a squadron commander, was awarded a Silver Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal. 

Sgt. Robert Landis - Cumberland, Md. 

Robert Landis had been in business school prior to the war.  He was assigned as a clerk in the Adjutant General section.  He was 76 when he died in 1995.

Born: January 1919

Died: June 12, 1995

Sgt. Harry Lane – Lonaconing, Md.

Harry Lane was a member of a bomb crew that had arrived in England only a month before the Christmas broadcast.

Sgt. Charles Lowe - Crisfield, Md. 


Charles 'Chic' Lowe performed in a quartet with fellow Crisfield residents Kenneth Nelson, Woodrow Thomas and Raydie Sterling on the 1943 Christmas show.  The group sang "You'll Know Then, Dear," an original song they dedicated to their wives.

Cpl. Jean Lowenthal – Baltimore

Jean Lowenthal was emcee for the first portion of the program featuring the 29th Division.  Lowenthal was a special services officer who directed and served as host for a number of variety and talent shows for GIs.  Lowenthal died in 1977.  He was 63.

Born: Jan. 6, 1914

Died: June 19, 1977

Wife: Dorothy (Natter) Lowenthal

Sgt. Sol Lurie – Baltimore

Baltimore's Sol Lurie joined Benjamin Blubaugh, Jose Casanova, Larry Smigel and pianist Nick Grimaldi on the Ink Spots' hit, "Java Jive" near the beginning of the 1943 show.  Lurie, who studied at the Peabody Conservatory also played violin and was a popular Baltimore bandleader before the war.  During the war, he was a member of the 29th Division band.  Lurie died in 1966, two days short of his 59th birthday.

Born: Oct. 5, 1907

Died: Oct. 3, 1966

Wife: Hilda (Rosenfield) Lurie

Lt. Col. Ben Lyon - Baltimore


Maryland-born Ben Lyon, who was master of ceremonies for the portion of the 1943 Christmas broadcast with thee 8th Air Force, was an actor whose career dated back to silent movies.  Among the actresses he co-starred with were Jean Harlow and Gloria Swanson.  After World War II he joined 20th Century Fox as a casting director and helped launch the career of Marilyn Monroe.  He later became a studio executive.  He was married to actress Bebe Daniels until her death in 1971.  In 1974 he married actress Marian Nixon.  Lyon died in 1979 at age 78 while aboard the Queen Elizabeth II.

Born: Feb. 6, 1901

Died: March 22, 1979

Wives: Bebe Daniels, later Marian Nixon

Reporter Lee McCardell – Baltimore

Sunpapers correspondent Lee McCardell came up with the idea for the program and was the primary force behind pulling it together.  McCardell had joined The Evening Sun in 1925 covering news and features in the city.  In 1933 McCardell won a Pulitzer Prize honorable mention for his coverage of the Bonus March on Washington. McCardell was first dispatched to England to cover the 29th Infantry Division as it prepared for the invasion of Normandy.  He was later sent to cover the Allied campaign in Italy, then was assigned to the 9th Air Force.  He was one of four reporters who covered D-Day from the air. Near the end of the war, McCardell was among the first reporters to write about the Nazi death camps. After the war, McCardell served as The Sun's London and Rome bureau chiefs, city editor and assistant managing editor.  He died in 1963 at age 61.

Born: June 8, 1901

Died: Feb. 7. 1963

Wife: Nancy (Arnold) McCardell

Sgt. J. Preston McComas - Bel Air, Md. 

Preston McComas was a popular singer at functions in the Baltimore area prior to the war.  On the 1943 Christmas show, he is heard singing "White Christmas."  He and fellow Bel Air resident Charles Irwin sang at clubs and churches while stationed in England and it was there that he met his wife, Marguerite, who played piano and organ at a Presbyterian church. After the war, he returned to Bel Air and continued to sing at weddings and other events in the area.  He died at age 86 in May 1997, less than two months after the death of his wife.

Born: Dec. 2, 1910

Died: May 11, 1997

Wife: Marguerite McComas

Pvt. Robert Meador - Roanoke, Va.


Robert Meador was inducted in 1941.  At the time of the broadcast he was a radio operator in communications section of 29th Division.  He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Born: April 18, 1924

Died: Sept. 22, 1997

Cpl. Frank Meneguzzo – Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

On the 1943 Christmas show, Frank Meneguzzo sang "Stardust" with  Sgt. Melvin Sherr of Baltimore.

Born: May 19, 1919

Died: June 4, 2006

Sgt. Clayton A. Moss - Lynchburg, Va.

Clayton Moss was part of the Mountaineer Band that played a hillbilly song on the show.  He died in 1973 at age 54.

Born: Sept. 23, 1918

Died: June 13, 1973

Wife: Bessie Moss

Sgt. Irvin Nash - Harrisonburg, Va. 


After the war, during which he landed ashore on D-Day+1, Irvin Nash went to work for the city treasurer in his hometown of Harrisonburg, Va.  In 1955 he became Harrisonburg's Commissioner of Revenue.  Nash went into private practice in 1961, the same year he formed a corporation to electronic data processing.  Nash died in 1999 at the age of 79.

Born: Aug. 31, 1919

Died: April 25, 1999

Wife: Paige (Figgatt) Nash

Sgt. Kenneth Nelson - Crisfield, Md. 

Kenneth Nelson performed in a quartet with fellow Crisfield residents Charles Lowe, Woodrow Thomas and Raydie Sterling on the 1943 Christmas show.  The group sang "You'll Know Then, Dear," an original song they dedicated to their wives.  Nelson was wounded in a 1944 battle in which six Maryland soldiers were killed.  He died in 1999.

Born: 1915

Died: Oct. 16, 1999

Sgt. Jesse Nusbaum - Westminster, Md. 


Born: Jan. 12, 1908

Died: Nov. 5, 2005

Wife: Mabel (Greenholtz) Nusbaum

Reporter Tom O'Neill

Thomas O'Neill, The Baltimore Sun's London Bureau Chief during World War II, was an accomplished political reporter.  He had joined The Sun in 1927 and in 1928 gained praise for his coverage of New York Governor Alfred E. Smith's presidential campaign.  Early in 1943 he opened the paper's London bureau and later that year worked with correspondents Lee McCardell and Holbrook Bradley to produce the Christmas show. During his career he covered 16 national and numerous state political conventions, the Teapot Dome political scandal, and was a White House correspondent.  He also covered the Alger Hiss spy case, an assignment that ultimately landed him on Richard Nixon's "enemies list," much to his delight.  He spent the last several years of his career as a political columnist for The Sunpapers.  O'Neill died at age 66 in 1971.

Born: Dec. 26, 1904

Died: April 9, 1971

Wife: Jolanda (DiGiorgio) O’Neill

Sgt. Cecil A. Poff - Salem, Va. 

Born: Aug. 20, 1922

Died: June 7, 1999

Maj. Kenneth Reecher - Hagerstown, Md.

Kenneth Reecher of Hagerstown had attended the Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va. and had been chosen as president of his freshman class at the University of Maryland before the war. During the war he piloted a Flying Fortress he named "Maryland, My Maryland" and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and Legion of Merit.  He served in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years before retiring in 1970 with the rank of colonel.  He died at age 80 in 1999.

Born: Nov. 8, 1918

Died: Oct. 2, 1999

Wife: Lorane (Ketchie) Reecher

Sgt. Isaac Roberts – Baltimore


Isaac Roberts was born on the Eastern Shore but lived with his uncle in Baltimore.  He was an aircraft inspector with the 91st Bomb Group.  He also served in Korea and Vietnam.  He was 59 when he died in 1977.

Born: Aug. 3, 1918

Died: Sept. 14, 1977

Pfc. Charles Rohlfing – Baltimore

Charles Rohlfing enlisted in the army on Feb. 3, 1941 and at the time of the Christmas show was a dining room manager for a headquarters company.  Prior to the war he worked at Bethlehem shipyards on Key Highway in Baltimore.

Born: Dec. 8, 1920

Pfc. Guy Rowe - Staunton, Va.

Guy Rowe was part of the Mountaineer Band that played a hillbilly song on the show.

Pvt. Lewis Rudd - Richmond, Va. 


Sarah Sadler (Red Cross) – Norfolk, Va.

Sarah Sadler of Norfolk was a program director at a Red Cross service club in England.  She had been a dancer all her life and after the war she returned to Norfolk and ran women's exercise and dance classes.  She had a brief marriage to Col. Sydney Woods who served in the 4th Fighter Group.  Their only son was killed in action in Vietnam.  In December 2013, 97-year-old Sarah Sadler Woods was interviewed about the 1943 Christmas show.  She died in June 2015.

Born: 1916

Died: June 2015

Capt. Charles Schoolfield - Mount Washington

Charles Schoolfield enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in December 1941.  He named his B-17 bomber "Sis" after his sister, Gertrude, who was with the Overseas Mmilitary Welfare Service of the Red Cross.  His other sister, Grayce, was in the Navy's WAVES division during World War II. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak-leaf cluster and an Air Medal with three oak-leaf clusters.  He retired from the air force as a lieutennant colonel after serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He was 83 when he died in Prescott, Az. in 2002.

Born: Apr. 19, 1919

Died: June 8, 2002

Wife: Frances Schoolfield

Sgt. Melvin Sherr – Baltimore

On the 1943 Christmas show, Baltimore's Melvin Sherr joined Cpl. Frank Meneguzzo of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. in singing "Stardust.'  Sherr was an accomplished musician who played violin at many Baltimore-area weddings and bar mitzvahs after the war.  He also served 49 years in the medical corps of the Maryland National Guard.  That service was recognized when the guard's readiness center in Parkville was named in his honor.  Sherr died on Christmas Day 1996 at age 82.


Born: Sept. 18, 1914

Died: Dec. 25, 1996

Wife: Lola (Lawrence) Sherr

Capt. Stanley Silverstein – Baltimore

Stanley Silverstein was a squadron bombardier in the 368th Bomb Squadron, 306th Bomb Group.  He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal with three clusters during his service in World War III.  Silverstein was 81 when he died in 2000.

Born: Oct. 2, 1918

Died: Jan. 5, 2000

Wife: Maxine (Jones) Silverstein

Pvt. James Sligh - Lynchburg, Va. 

James Sligh was part of the Mountaineer Band that played a hillbilly song on the show.

Born: May 18, 1919


Warrant Officer Larry Smigel - Philadelphia 

Larry Smigel was a musician who was educated at Temple University in his hometown of Philadelphia.  In the 1943 show, he joined sergeants Benjamin Blubaugh, Jose Casanova and Sol Lurie, all from Baltimore, in singing the Ink Spots' hit, "Java Jive."  Later in the show, he accompanied Charles Irwin of Bel Air, who sang a song written by Capt. Thomas Dukehart of Baltimore.  During the war he was credited with writing the 29th Division song, "Hurrah! 29th, Let's Go!" Smigel played violin, baritone saxaphone and sang tenor.  After the war he became a businessman and music teacher.  He also conducted choirs and orchestras, having studied briefly with the famed Leopold Stokowski.  He was 83 when he died on July 22, 2002.


Born: Nov. 11, 1917

Died: July 22, 2002

Wife: Beverly (Zinman) Smigel

Sgt. Raydie J. Sterling - Crisfield, Md. 

Raydie Sterling joined three friends from Crisfield – Kenneth Nelson, Woodrow Thomas and Charles Lowe – to sing an original song titled, "You'll Know Then, Dear" on the 1943 Christmas show.  Sterling was active in Crisfield sports, music and politics.  Before the war, he was a member of the Crisfield Board of Election Supervisors and played baseball for the Crisfield Crabbers in the Eastern Shore League.  After the war he made two runs as a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates. He also continued his music career on the Eastern Shore, playing clarinet in the Dale Brittingham Trio, and saxaphone in the King and Raydie Sterling music group. He died in 1978 at age 62.

Born: Sept. 27, 1915

Died: Feb. 1978

Tech Sgt. Henry Street - Dryfork, West Va. 

Tail gunner Henry Street was on his second tour of duty by the time of the 1943 program.  He also had two brothers who were in the army.

Lt. Woodrow W. Thomas – Baltimore

Woodrow W. Thomas was pilot of a Flying Fortress at the time of the Christmas 1943 broadcast.  During a mission over Kassel in Western Germany earlier in 1943 his plane was hit by flak.  Thomas managed to guide the wounded plane back to England where he landed it in a farm field.  Before the Christmas show, he had arranged for his mother to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend, Rita Hilliard.  He publicly announced their engagement on the show.  Thomas was 70 when he died in 1988.


Born: July 13, 1918

Died: Nov. 27, 1988

Wife: Rita (Hilliard) Thomas 

Sgt. Woodrow Thomas - Crisfield, Md.

Woodrow Thomas of Crisfield joined three hometown friends – Kenneth Nelson, Raydie Sterling and Charles Lowe – to sing an original song titled, "You'll Know Then, Dear" on the 1943 Christmas show.

Born: November 1918

Died: Jan. 8, 1990

Pvt. Charles Viar – Lynchburg, Va.

Born: Nov. 22, 1921

Died: Sept. 29, 2013

Wife: Marian (Achterman) Viar

Cpl. Martin Willen - Baltimore

Baltimore's Martin Willen sang, "Just A Little Love, A Little Kiss," during the first part of the 1943 Christmas Day program.  He dedicated the song to his wife, Miriam, whom he married in 1941.  Willen was a classically trained singer, having received scholarships to the Peabody Institute both before and after the war.  During the war he performed as a cantor for Jewish religious services, but was also asked to sing at Catholic and Protestant services as well.  In 1945, after Allied forces entered Germany a photo was published in Life Magazine showing Willen serving as cantor in a Jewish service performed in Rheydt Castle.  The photo showed Willen and Rabbi Manuel Poliakoff, also of Baltimore, performing service in front of a Nazi flag.  The castle in which the service was held had once belonged to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief.  Following the war, Willen returned to Baltimore and went into the jewelry business where he earned a reputation as a diamond expert.  He also continued to sing in his synagogue choir and on high holy days he served as cantor at a synagogue in Wierton, WV.  He and Miriam were married for 63 years until her death in 2005.  He died in 2011 at 96.

Born: March 14, 1915

Died: April 22, 2011

Wife: Miriam (Kessler) Willen

Sgt. Cody Wolf - Catonsville, Md. 


On the Christmas program, Cody Wolf from Catonsville, talks about how much he's been thinking about his parents, wife and 16-month-old daughter.  Just a little more than two weeks after the broadcast, Wolf was killed in action during a raid on Oschersleben. He was 29.

Born: March 10, 1914

Died: Jan. 11, 1944

Wife: Immaculata "Emma" L. Wolf

Pvt. Samuel Wright - Lynchburg, Va. 

Samuel Wright was part of the Mountaineer Band that played a hillbilly song on the show.  He was killed in action in June 1944.  He was 23.

Born: April 13, 1921

Died: June 18, 1944