Gerald Rosenthal’s Mother escaped from Russia in 1918 as she saw the rest of her family pursued by the Russian Army. She fled the soldiers into Europe where she met his Dad. Later, they came to the United States in 1922. Gerald Milton Rosenthal was born in San Jose on January 8, 1923. He attended Lowell Grammar School, Roosevelt Junior High, San Jose High and Stanford University. Jerry was a member of the Yosemite Winter Club in 1940, and the Sun Valley Ski Club before 1940 and the Stanford Ski Team in 1946-47 and 1947-48. He was in Encina Hall at Stanford on December 7, 1941 when the news about Pearl Harbor was broadcast. He went home and told his Dad that he was on his way to Moffett Field to enlist.
Before going overseas in 1944, he was in Basic Training in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1941. Following that he went to Radio Operators and Mechanics School at Scott Field, Illinois was an instructor at Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1942. In 1943, he was an Aviation Cadet, SE Training Command, Class 43-H, then to the B-17 Transition School, Flight Radio Operator, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Ohio, in 1943. In 1944, he was an instructor at the Aerial Gunnery School, Buckingham Field, Fort Meyers, Florida until he was shipped to Italy in the fall of ’44.
During World War II, he was a Technical Sergeant, Army Air Corps, 12th Air Force, 340th and 310th Bombardment Groups (M), 488th Bomb Squadron (M) of the 57th Bomb Wing, 1944-45. A Radio Operator/Gunner with decorations that include Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, EAME medal with 5 battle stars, American Campaign and two distinguished Unit Citations. An Occupation (Germany) Medal and WWII Victory Medal. He flew 58 combat missions in a B25 (Mitchell) aircraft from Corsica and Italy over Italy, Austria and Yugoslavia.
When he was sent home, he expected to be deployed to the Pacific, but the A bomb saved him. He was discharged from the Air Corps in September, 1945. He re-turned to Stanford but only stayed there two years.
His Dad had founded the Workingman’s Store in downtown San Jose in 1924. Jerry took it over and ran it from 1950 to 1985.
After retirement in 1985, Jerry became a writer of articles for Book of Waterfowl Decoys (Thunder Bay Publishers, New York, 1991, $75) and ghost writer and researcher for The Art Magazine and the author of the West Coast Section of the Great Decoy Magazine, Fly Tackle Dealers Magazine, Fly Rod and Reel of the Creel (Blue Heron Publications, Ennis, Montana, 1998, $85.) He was also show chairman of the Monterey Decoy Show for three years. His father’s interest in hunting and fishing had been shared with Jerry.
Jerry served as the Immediate Past President of the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County on its board for many years. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Madrone Land Company and on the Advisory Committee of the Digital Clubhouse Network, Stories of Service.
He was a Past member of the Board of Directors of the San Jose Merchants Association, the San Jose Museum of Art, the National Antique Decoy Collectors (Chicago), the West Coast Decoy Collectors Association, the Pacific Flyway Decoy Carvers and Collectors Association.
Jerry Rosenthal passed away in 2019.