April 24, 1915 (Vintondale, PA) – June 12, 1944; 29 years old
Married to the former Margaret Kuchman on July 12, 1941 in Norwalk
One son, John Kurtzman III (1943-present)
Last local address: 20 Oak Street, Norwalk
Enlisted August 5, 1943
Service number: 8079337
USS Nelson (DD-623)

Born to John Sr. (1887-?) and Julia Pliska Kurtzman [remarried to John Karko after John Sr.’s death] (1895-1985). Both parents were born in Hungary. Brothers Andy (1914-1987) and Steve (1928-1983). Sisters Julia Kurtzman Arnold (1917-1985), Pearl Kurtzman Hunter (1928-1997), and Ann B. Kurtzman Ferris (1925-2015). One stepbrother, Gordon Karko (1931-2004).

The two photos below were contributed by John Kurtzman III. He is the infant in the second picture.

From The Norwalk Hour June 26, 1944

John George Kurtzman, Seaman, Second Class, of the Naval Reserve, son of Mrs. Julia Karko of 24 Woodward Avenue and husband of Mrs. Margaret Kuchma Kurtzman of Deerfield Street, is reported to have been killed in action according to telegrams received yesterday by his wife and mother. He entered the service on August 12, 1943, and received his basic training at Newport, RI. He graduated from Torpedo School there. He also trained at Norfolk, Virginia. Before entering the service, Seaman Kurtzman was employed as a guard at the Remington Arms Company of Bridgeport. Besides his wife and mother, he is survived by a 16-month-old son, John Jr., three sisters, Ann and Pearl Kurtzman and Mrs. Julia Arnold, and three brothers, Steven and Andrew Kurtzman, and Gordon Karko.

From The USS Nelson was anchored in position 13 on 12 June as part of the D-Day invasion. Thus far her only contact with the enemy had been in the form of a glide bomb which had exploded harmlessly off the starboard quarter during her first night in the area. At 0105 on the 13th, she made a radar contact, challenged the contact by flashing a light, and opened fire. The target slowed, turned away, and split into three distinct blips. The destroyer had loosed ten salvos when a torpedo struck her just aft the No. 4 gun mount blowing off the stern and No. 4 mount. Maloy (DE-791) stood by to transfer personnel, and Nelson was taken in tow. Twenty-four of her crew were killed or missing including Seaman Kurtzman, and 9 wounded.

S2C Kurtzman is buried in Cambridge American Cemetery, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, United Kingdom; Plot C, Row 5, Grave 57. Photo provided by Tracy Haylock, an employee at Cambridge American Cemetery.


Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.


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