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Curtis Wainscott Jr.

Curtis Wainscott Jr.

Curtis Wainscott Jr.

Born in 1922, Curtis Wainscott Jr. was the oldest of five children in a family from the Aurora/Rising Sun/Lawrenceburg area in southeast Indiana near the Ohio River. His father, a farmer and jack of all trades, worked at Poor House Hill outside Rising Sun for the director of a public facility for the destitute, doing plumbing and concrete work, and for the Works Progress Administration, in whose service he helped build the road between Lawrenceburg and Aurora.

Curtis didn’t go in much for sports. He and his siblings, as his brother Jimmy noted, were all children of the Depression — Curtis spent most of his time working on the family farm. Jimmy got a Social Security number at age nine so he could go to work selling newspapers.

The family moved in 1939 to Cincinnati, and Curtis Wainscott Sr. took a job supervising concrete work at the newly built Wright Aeronautical plant, at the time the world’s largest aircraft engine factory, in nearby Evendale. Curtis Jr., meanwhile, attended Walnut Hills High School, from which he dropped out in tenth or eleventh grade to go to work. His prewar employers included the Frank Messer Construction Co. of Cincinnati and a factory that made drinking glasses and punch bowls. He also worked, shortly before or after the war, for Coca-Cola, probably as a truck driver.

Curtis-Wainscott-Jr.He enlisted in the Navy April 10, 1943, did his basic training at Great Lakes in Illinois, did eight weeks of training in aviation metalwork, and reported for duty aboard the Macaw July 17, 1943. He was one of the 22 men aboard the ship when she sank the following February, and one of the seventeen survivors. He spent the rest of the war at the submarine base at Pearl Harbor.

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After the MACAW sank, Wainscott spent the rest of the war at the submarine base at Pearl Harbor, where he worked as a guard. This is his sub base ID card.

Upon his discharge January 24, 1946, he returned to the Walnut Hills neighborhood in Cincinnati and stayed there, working at a small plant in the city, until 1947, when he got married (his first and only marriage, his wife’s second), moved to the farm his wife and her brother shared in Branch Hill (now known as Loveland), Ohio, about fifteen miles northeast of Cincinnati, and took a job at Fisher Body in Fairfield, Ohio.

He had a boisterous laugh. One snowy winter’s day shortly after the war, rather than make the trek through the snow to the farm, he spent a night at his mother’s home in Hamilton and took his younger sister Peggy to the movies. He laughed so loud at the cartoons, Peggy was mortified. “All I could do was keep scooting down in my seat,” she recalled about 65 years later. That succeeded only in making him laugh that much louder, she said.

He loved to work with his hands. At Fisher Body, he worked as a shear operator, splitter and welder. Starting c. 1965 he ran a lawn mower repair business on the side. He became a 32nd degree Mason. He was still working at Fisher Body when he died of a heart attack at age 51 in 1975, one year shy of retirement age.

As of October 2010, his son, Terry, and stepdaughter, Brenda, were still living on the farm in Loveland.

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Wainscott at Midway c. February 1944. He injured his right leg in escaping from the Macaw.

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Curtis Wainscott, Hawaii, c. 1943-45

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Curtis Wainscott (center) and friends, Hawaii c. 1943-45

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