In Memoriam - Robert C. Wieboldt
|Robert C. Wieboldt, PC|
|January 21, 1920 - November 26, 2018|
On Monday, November 26, 2018, Past Post Commander and Founding member of the Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion, Rob C. Wieboldt reported to Post Everlasting. Mr. Wiebodt was almost 99 years young and missed this mark by less than two months. Bob Wieboldt was a World War II veteran and served in the Army Air Core from 1943 to 1946. He was a gunnery instructor and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. Bob Wieboldt was very active in our Post and held many Post officer postions. He was instrumental in bringing the Post building to its current location(160 West Merrick Road, Merrick, NY 11566). Mr. Wieboldt was a 73 year member of Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion. He will be missed!!!
A memorial service will be set up at the Bellmore Presbyterian Church (2740 Martin Avenue, Bellmore, NY 11710) on Friday, December 14, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The American Legion will be conducting a solemn ceremony for Bob Wieboldt at 7:00 p.m. that day. Post members should start assembling at the church by 6:30 p.m.
A burial ceremony for Bob Wieboldt will be in the spring of 2019 at the St. John of Jerusalem Chapel and Cemetery, located at 500 Wantagh Avenue, Levittown, NY 11756. Note: He was very active at this location and was instrumental in getting the chapel at this location restored.
For more information call the Post phone at 516-521-6989 or the Bellmore Presbyterian Church at 516-758-2590.
See the following link:
Dear reader, the following article was written by Scott Brinton of the Merrick Herald Life, in their February 12, 2015 edition pages 1 and 3. Courtesy of the Merrick Herald Life.
Seven decades of service, Legionnaire still serving returning vets
At 95, World War II vet still aiding L.I.’s wounded warriors
In the late 1940s and early ’50s, veterans returning from World War II scattered across Long Island, seeking quiet communities to call home. Many were tired, forlorn, shell-shocked.
They founded local posts of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars to find companionship with the men they had fought side by side with in far-flung corners of the globe only a few years earlier.
Members of Merrick American Legion Post 1282 began meeting in local restaurants shortly after the Second World War, Bob Wieboldt, 95, one of the post’s founding members, recalled in a recent interview.
Post members sought a permanent home for their fledgling organization in the early 1950s, according to Wieboldt (pronounced WE-bolt), who was an aerial gunnery instructor during World War II and has been a Post 1282 member for 70 years. The post’s original members sold bonds to buy the main building of an old Merrick Avenue tennis club, he said.
|See Note 1|
Around that time, a post member moved away and sold his plot on Merrick Road, a block west of Babylon Turnpike, to the post for $10. A local construction company agreed to lay the cement foundation for the post’s new home for free. All the post had to do was transport the tennis club’s central structure from Merrick Avenue to Merrick Road, a roughly half-mile trip.
Post members had a flatbed truck they could use, but it was too small to fit the entire center. So they did what the “Greatest Generation” is famous for — they improvised.
Two post members climbed to the top of the structure, which resembles a quaint country house, and cut the building in half with a two-handed saw, the kind that lumberjacks once used. “If you go up in the attic, you can see where the saw marks are,” Wieboldt said with a laugh.
Post 1282 is celebrating its seventh decade this year, and Wieboldt, who has served as its commander a number of times, is as active in the organization as he has ever been.
His desire to aid veterans wounded in battle drives him, he said. In the early 1950s, Wieboldt and a contingent of veterans from Post 1282 first visited Kings Park State Hospital, which housed World War II veterans suffering from a litany of debilitating physical and psychic injuries.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” Wieboldt said. “They weren’t being cared for in the right manner. They needed someone to look out for them. They needed camaraderie.”
The nation, Wieboldt said, was unprepared for the influx of battered and bruised veterans who populated long-term care facilities like Kings Park.
When Wieboldt saw the substandard conditions they had to endure, he committed to aiding them in any way he could. Through the years, he has made countless trips to Long Island hospitals to meet with veterans on the mend, offering a small degree of succor with quiet conversations, his down-home humor and a wide smile. At the same time, he has lobbied elected leaders at all levels of government to do right by veterans.
After visiting Kings Park, Wieboldt told himself, “I’m going to do something for the rest of my life to be helpful. We’ve done a lot of good things in Merrick.”
Now, he said, the post is “looking for members to help keep the Legion strong to help veterans in the hospital.”
Post 1282 has about 135 members, with a core of two dozen active members. In recent years, however, 11 members have died.
A large membership provides a “collective voice,” Wieboldt said. “That’s the only way we can talk to the politicians, through our membership.” Merrick back in the day
The legionnaire was born to Emma and Henry Wieboldt in Brooklyn in 1920 and raised on Kenny Avenue in Merrick. He walked to what was then the Merrick Avenue Grammar School, off Smith Street, now Chatterton Elementary School, from kindergarten through eighth grade.
“I can remember walking in a snowstorm,” Wieboldt said. He was in seventh grade at the time, and the snow measured two to three feet deep. “I was the only student who came to school that day,” he said.
He went on to Freeport High School. At the time, Merrick didn’t have a high school of its own. He took a public bus that ran along Merrick Road to Freeport, which was then a sleepy fishing village. The ride cost a nickel. Often, Wieboldt recalled, he walked to and from school to save money. He graduated in 1938.
Freeport High School holds annual multi-class reunions, which he still attends. “I’m the only one from the class of 1938,” he said.
Off to war
|See Note 3|
After school, he went to work as a deliveryman at Macy’s in New York City, and later studied to be an airplane mechanic. On the train he met his wife-to-be, Muriel Angelbeck, whose family owned a home where Purick Park, next to R.S. Jones, is now. They started dating.
Then “along came the war,” Wieboldt said.
He was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1942, at age 23, and sent from a military base in Yaphank, in Suffolk County, to one in Miami, and then to Gulfport, Miss., where his skills were assessed.
As it turned out, Wieboldt had uncommonly keen eyesight — 15/20 in both eyes — and he was mechanically inclined. “I could see a pimple on a pin in those days,” he said.
He was selected to take the sharpshooter’s test and scored exceptionally high, after which he was sent to Fort Meyers, Fla., and made a gunnery instructor.
He and Muriel married at a Lutheran church in Biloxi, Miss., in 1943, during his Christmas leave. The minister’s wife witnessed the ceremony.
“My wife was just a complete love and a beautiful love,” Wieboldt said. She died in 1990, after 47 years of marriage.
Toward the end of World War II, Wieboldt, then a staff sergeant, was sent to Harlingen Air Force Base in Texas to prepare for an invasion of Japan. Shortly before his unit was to ship out, two men were stricken with polio — one in each of the unit’s barracks. The entire unit was quarantined and had to stay put.
Then, Wieboldt said, “Harry dropped the egg,” referring to President Truman’s decision to detonate atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, ending the war.
|See Note 2|
After the war, Bob and Muriel settled in Levittown, the nation’s first planned suburban development, which at the time was populated primarily by veterans. After a series of odd jobs, Wieboldt started his own company, Wieboldt Floors, out of the garage of his parents’ Kenny Avenue home. “Little by little, I found jobs,” he said.
He kept the business for five decades, retiring at 75. The Wieboldts had two sons, Robert Jr., a middle and high school science teacher who taught in Merrick and Sarasota, Fla., for 41 years before retiring recently; and Eric, who now owns Wieboldt Floors and lives in his father’s childhood home on Kenny Avenue.
In addition to his sons, Bob has four granddaughters, one great-grandchild and two great-great-grandchildren.
In the summer of 2013, the nonprofit Honor Flight Network flew Bob and Eric to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial.
Along the way, crowds of onlookers cheered and clapped as Wieboldt and a group of veterans passed through airports.
Town of Hempstead officials nominated him for the honor, for his service not only to the country but also to veterans. “It was wonderful,” Wieboldt said. “The World War II monument is pretty special. It’s unbelievable.”
Indeed, the monument, built of 17,000 white granite stones, is a sight to behold, with soaring fountains surrounded by a circle of tall pillars — a fitting tribute to a generation of warriors possessing remarkable courage and kindness.
“You’ve got to be helpful,” Wieboldt said.
Note 1: Wieboldt, far, left, has been a member of Merrick American Legion Post 1282 for 70 years. He was joined here by his fellow legionnaires, from left, Ken Braun, Joe Ambrosino and Bernard Hoffman.
Note 2: In the summer of 2013, Bob Wieboldt took an Honor Flight to visit the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., with his son Eric. He was nominated for the honor because of his service in World War II and his commitment to helping veterans injured during war.
Note 3: Wieboldt with his mother, Emma, at their Kenny Avenue home in Merrick during World War II.
Brinton, Scott, "At 95, World War II vet still aiding L.I.’s wounded warriors ", http://www.liherald.com/stories/At-95-World-War-II-vet-still-aiding-LIs-wounded-warriors,63921?page=1&content_source= (collected 3-9-2015)
Brinton, Scott, "Seven decades of service, Legionnaire still serving returning vets, At 95, World war II vet is still aiding LI.'s wounded warriors", Merrick Herald Life, 12 February 2015, pp. 1 & 3
Dear Reader, the following article is from Merrick's Post No. 1282, American Legion Newsletter called the "Bugle". It appeared in the Bugle on May 2014, vol. 6, issue 10, p. 3. Courtesy of Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion.
Merrick’s Memorial Day 2014 Grand Marshal, Robert C. Wieboldt, PC
Robert C. Wieboldt (Past Commander) is 94 years old. He was born in January 21, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Merrick when he was two years old. He is the son of Henry and Emma Wieboldt. He is the oldest of three brothers. His two younger brothers; Warren Wieboldt and Carl Wieboldt, were also veterans who served in the Pacific.
Bob Wieboldt was drafted into service at the age of 23 and served in the Army Air Core from 1943 to 1946. He went through basic training in Long Island, New York and in Miami, Florida. He was shipped to Gulf Port, Mississippi, where he was selected to be a gunnery instructor. He was then shipped back to Fort Myers, Florida, where he taught gunnery on B17’s, B24’s and B29’s. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.
After his time in the service he married his sweet heart, Muriel Angelbeck and they lived in Florida, Merrick and in Levittown where he currently resides. He has two sons named Eric and Robert Wieboldt Jr. After working several jobs, he started his own floor service company and ran it for 55 years before turning it over to his to his son Eric (Rick) Wieboldt, who continues the business to this day. He is the grandfather of four granddaughters and one great grandson.
Mr. Wieboldt was the Post Commander of Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion during the following years, 1959 to 1962, 1973 to 1976, and 1979 to 1997. He has been a member of this Post for 68 years. He is still very active with Merrick Post 1282, American Legion and is involved with many projects and events at the Post.
Merrick Post 1282 Support Staff
"Merrick's Memorial Day 2014 Grand Marshall, Robert C. Wieboldt, PC", American Legion Merrick Post No. 1282, May 2014, vol. 6, Issue 10, p. 3
Dear Reader, the following article is from Merrick's Post No. 1282, American Legion Newsletter called the "Bugle" (It was the 75 issue of this Newsletter). It appeared in the Bugle on July 2018, vol. 11, issue 1, p. 9. Courtesy of Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion.
Robert C. Wieboldt, Commander 1959 – 1962, 1973 – 1976 and 1979 - 1998
Robert C. Wieboldt was one of the founding members of the Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion; he had a hand in the purchasing and moving the current Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion building, which at the time was called the “Tennis Court and Club House in Merrick”. The building stood from Byron Road, South of Merrick Road and West of Merrick Avenue. The building was cut in half, moved, reattached and placed at its current location on 160 West Merrick Road, in Merrick.
Robert Wiebodlt was commander of the Post in its heyday and in bad times when membership was low and it was hard finding income to keep the building going. However, he knew the potential of the building and his fellow veterans in the community and he found a way to keep it going until there was resurgence in membership at the Post and income to keep the building up and running was found.
As Robert Wieboldt says “72 years ago I joined the American Legion Merrick Post No. 1282. It is the best thing I have ever done in my life. I am a past commander many times and I have been in every department at the Post. I was lucky to find the building and property, I am still lucky to be active in the Post”. Robert Wieboldt is now 98 years young and works the 50/50 Raffle tickets at our post meetings; he is a backup Chaplain, Compliance Officer and a Trustee at our Post.
Thoughts by Editor Richard Ambrosino and Robert C. Wieboldt, Past Commander
"Robert C. Wieboldt, Commander 1959 - 1962, 1973 - 1976 and 1979 - 1998", American Legion Merrick Post No. 1282, July 2018, vol. 11, issue 1, p. 9