WWII interpreter Curtis Sloan of Bethpage dies at 91
Curtis S. Sloan, a Bronze Star Medal recipient who escaped his Nazi Germany home at 14 only to return eight years later as a translator during World War II, died Dec. 1 at Plainview Hospital of pneumonia, his family said. He was 91.
Sloan's parents sent him to the United States in 1936 so he could live with a foster family in St. Louis while he waited for them to join him.
When his parents arrived in 1939, the family moved to Jamaica, Queens, where Sloan completed high school and began taking classes at City College of New York. He was pursuing a degree when he was drafted into the Army in 1943.
Sloan, born Kurt Salomon, was sent with Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army as a German and French translator, working with refugees left in the wake of moving armies, according to his son, Donald Sloan, 57, of Myrtle Beach, S.C. His work with these displaced persons earned him his Bronze Star.
"He had this little Brownie camera," his son said. "He took pictures of things while he was there and while we were growing up he'd show us, because he believed it was a part of our heritage."
His son said that Sloan wasn't closed on the topic of war -- he would share lessons and experiences with his children he felt were culturally necessary, but not boasting his own part.
"When you walked into a room, he wasn't the man you noticed," Donald Sloan said. "He was a modest person."
In January 1947, Sloan was discharged and took a vacation in Bermuda, where he met former Army nurse Gloria Weiss, his family said. She went home to New York early, and when Sloan returned he contacted her. That December, the two married.
They lived together in Jamaica, Queens, where Sloan worked for several import companies before moving to Bethpage in 1954 and becoming vice president of Cosmo Electronics in Baldwin, his son said.
Sloan instilled an appreciation for sports in his children, his son said. He was involved in his sons' teams, coaching while they were playing and serving on the board of governors of the Long Island Hockey Association and as president of the Bethpage Baseball Association.
He also served as president of the Bethpage Jewish Community Center Men's Club.
Sloan was an avid gardener and bonsai artist, Donald Sloan said, as well as an avid history and opera buff and a coin and stamp collector.
Sloan also is survived by his wife Gloria Sloan, 89, of Bethpage; daughter Karen Sloan Lebovich, 62, of Chevy Chase, Md.; son, David Sloan, 60, of Coral Springs, Fla.; sister Ruth Stein, 88, of Plainview; and four grandchildren.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Gutterman's Memorial Chapel in Woodbury. Burial will follow.