2017-05-26 / Top Stories

Gone But Not Forgotten

By Robby Schwach


Michael Glover was a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. Glover was born in Rockaway and he lived in Belle Harbor with his family on Beach 134th Street. Michael Glover was a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. Glover was born in Rockaway and he lived in Belle Harbor with his family on Beach 134th Street. The annual Memorial Day Parade down Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Rockaway Park draws several hundred locals, all of whom take some time out from their barbeques, beach time, or chasing sales to honor the men and women who died while in service to our country.

On Monday, May 29, the American Legion Daniel M. O’Connell Post No. 272 will host its annual Memorial Day parade. The day will commence with a memorial Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Beach 129th Street at Saint Francis de Sales Church. At the conclusion of services, a ceremony will be held at the Four Chaplains monument outside the church. The parade will proceed to Beach 121st Street for a ceremony at the Jewish War Veterans Memorial Circle. The parade will then proceed to the Doughboy monument at Veterans Memorial Plaza at Beach 94th Street. There, the reading of the names of those from the Rockaway community who gave their lives in service to our great country will be held, and a memorial service will follow. The question remains; who were these men? As time has progressed, memories have faded, families have moved away, and there is scant information on these soldiers, sailors and airmen.


Herbert Julian Hopfenberg has a tree at Memorial Circle. His connection to Rockaway has not been found. Herbert Julian Hopfenberg has a tree at Memorial Circle. His connection to Rockaway has not been found. Attempts to find out more information about whom they were and where they served have yielded some interesting information, and given stories and “life” to the names on bronze plaques. Here are some of their stories:

Alan Evans was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was born in Manhattan, but his family moved to 235 Beach 138th St. in Belle Harbor where he attended P.S. 114, and later, Far Rockaway High School (class of 1940) after which his family moved back into Manhattan. His plane was shot down over Italy on Aug. 12, 1944 while on his 27th mission and he was initially declared Missing in Action.

Arnold Passon Fox was a Private, 1st class, in the U.S. Army. Fox was a Brooklyn resident, but his wife Brunice (Brenner) and her parents lived at 125-12 Newport Ave., and it is believed that she stayed with them during his time overseas. He was a member of the Army Signal Corps and was killed in Germany. His memorial stone lists his date of death as Feb. 14, 1943 but he was alive and well at that time, and was killed in March of 1945.

Michael Glover was a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. Glover was born in Rockaway and he lived in Belle Harbor with his family on Beach 134th St., (the corner of Beach 134/Beach Channel Drive was co-named for him in 2014). Glover graduated from Xavier High School (’97) and SUNY/Albany and started law school before joining the Marines in 2004. He joined fellow Marines to volunteer to help the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He was killed in Anbar Province, Iraq on Aug. 16, 2006 while serving with the second battalion, 25th Marines. He left behind his parents, Margaret and Dennis; sister, Elizabeth, and many close relatives and friends.

Herbert Julian Hopfenberg was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He lived on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn and graduated from George Washington High School in 1937. He graduated from New York University’s School of Commerce and was a member of the school’s bowling team. He was killed at 23, while fighting on Bougainville Island in the Battle of the Solomon Islands on May 2, 1944. Hopfenberg left his protected area during a firefight to help a wounded comrade who had just been shot. While aiding that soldier, he was shot and killed. He left behind a wife, Sheila, and his parents, Elsie and Joseph and a sister, Elaine. He is not listed among the names of those killed from Queens in World WarII, nor is he mentioned in any of the regular WAVE listings of servicemen from Rockaway during the war. His connection to Rockaway has not been found.

George P. Hummel was a Corporal in the U.S. Army Air Force. He and his wife, Beatrice V. Hummel, and her aunt and uncle, lived at 119- 12 Newport Ave. in Rockaway Park. Hummel was on a C47 transport plane destined for Honshu Island in Japan (just weeks after Japan’s surrender) when the plane crashed south of Yokohama in bad weather. Initially he was designated as Missing in Action but remains were later buried at a military cemetery in Japan.

James Patrick Kenny was a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He lived with his parents, Mary and Patrick, at 462 Beach 133rd St. in Belle Harbor. While Kenny was killed and listed as Missing in Action, his gunner in the plane, Jack Sittarich of Minnesota managed to parachute out and survived. Sittarich was captured by the German Army and held as a prisoner until the end of the war. Sittarich posted a video explaining his last mission online, and included the reading of a letter he wrote to Kenny’s mother in Rockaway.

John M. Lewis Jr. was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army who lived at 181 Beach 81st St. in Rockaway Beach. He was killed in North Africa in 1943. There is also a man by this name who is listed as living at 110 Reid Ave. in Breezy Point who died in WWII but we think the person on the stone in Memorial Circle refers to the son of a NYC Municipal Court Judge, John M. Lewis, who lived at 451 Beach 136th St. in Belle Harbor and later on East 37th Street in Manhattan. That John M. Lewis died in a car accident while serving in Germany on Aug. 9, 1945 four months after the war ended there.

John P. McGonigal (spelled incorrectly as McGonigle on a stone in Memorial Circle) was a Private, 1st Class in the U.S. Army. His is the only name of a service member from the war in Vietnam to be listed in Memorial Circle. He was a resident of Belle Harbor and lived with his parents at 176 Beach 130th St. On May 13, 1968, he was injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack atop Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin Mountain) in Tay Ninh Province.

James F. O’Brien was a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He lived with his parents, Catherine and John, at 546 Beach 130th St. in Belle Harbor. He was sent overseas as a pilot of a B24 in October of 1944. While serving with the 8th Air Force, after at least 17 missions over Germany, the plane he was in crashed in Cambridgeshire, England in May of 1945 and he was killed.

Harold Wilson Roberts was a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was born in Rockaway and lived at 130 Beach 120th St., and his late parents lived at 436 Beach 135th St. He graduated from PS 114 and Far Rockaway High School where he played on the football team. Roberts worked at Dan Maher’s Bar on Beach 116th Street. He enlisted on January 27, 1941, before U.S. involvement in the war. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and sent overseas in May of 1944. Less than two months later, he was killed during the Normandy invasion in July of 1944.

George Philip Rolly was a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was the only child of Philip and Jennie, and lived at 424 Beach 129th St. Rolly attended P.S. 43, Far Rockaway High School and graduated with an electrical engineering degree from Cooper Union. His plane was shot down over Germany in April of 1945 and he was originally listed as Missing in Action.

Donald R. Schneider was a Private, 1st Class in the U.S. Army. He grew up in Rockaway and attended P.S. 114 and Far Rockaway High School while living at 182 Beach 117th St. in Rockaway Beach. He was assigned to an engineering regiment in Germany, and was killed during the Battle of the Bulge on Nov. 18, 1944.

Louis Seideman was a Private in the U.S. Army. He lived with his parents at 1221 Sage St. in Far Rockaway but had family at 216 Beach 140th St. in Belle Harbor. Seideman was captured as a prisoner of war and was part of the infamoU.S. Bataan death march, where several thousand American and Philippine military were forced to march more than 60 miles, killing many men. While liberated after the war ended in 1945, Seideman died in a military hospital in the Philippines. The stone in Memorial Circle is misspelled (Seidman) and the date of death (8/19/44) is incorrect.

Murray Seiff was a Private, 1st class in the U.S. Marine Corps and at various times, lived in Neponsit, Broad Channel (1815 Channel Road), and Brooklyn. He was killed in October of 1942 while taking part in Operation Watchtower to take back the Solomon Islands from the Japanese.

Donald Walter Selz was a Private in the U.S. Army. He lived with his family at 136-02 Newport Ave. in Belle Harbor and attended Alfred University after graduating from P.S. 44 and Far Rockaway High School. He died fighting in Belgium, killed in action on Jan. 20, 1945.

Hebert L. Springer was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He lived at 156 Beach 127th St. in Rockaway Park and attended P.S. 114, Far Rockaway High School, North Carolina State College and Pratt Institute. On April 11, 1944 after six successful missions, his plane was shot down over Rostock, Germany. He was listed as Missing in Action and presumed dead.

Alvin S. Weiss was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He lived at 122-20 Boardwalk (now Ocean Promenade). He graduated from James Madison High School and then City College with a degree in advertising and worked for a clothing manufacturer, L. Greif Brothers. He was flying on his 14th mission over Misburg, Germany when antiaircraft fire damaged two engines and the plane went down near Hanover, Germany.

Arthur J. Ziegler was a Captain in the U.S. Army and his family often spent summers at 130-03 Newport Ave. Growing up in Brooklyn, he played football at Brooklyn Prep before attending Villanova. He later graduated from St. John’s University and the law school there. He worked as an attorney for 20th Century Fox films before the war. He died of a “non-battle” death in Belgium after the war ended. He left behind his mother, Elizabeth, and seven siblings.

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