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Long IslandObituaries

Carl A. Wirth, a Navy Seabee and welder, dead at 88

Carl A. Wirth, a welder and a World War II veteran, has died of heart failure, his family said. He was 88.

Wirth died on May 2 at his Mineola home, where he lived with his family since 1959, said his son, Carl T. Wirth, 61, of Omaha.

A member of the U.S. Navy Seabees, Wirth helped build airstrips, bridges and landing docks during World War II in places that included Guam and Okinawa, his son said. Wirth enlisted in 1942 and served until January 1946, when he was honorably discharged, said his son.

"He helped win the war without holding a gun," Wirth said.

During World War II, the Seabees - numbering more than 300,000 men total - built airstrips, bridges, roads, gasoline storage tanks and Quonset huts that were used as warehouses, hospitals and housing.

Born March 12, 1922, in Queens, Wirth was forced to drop out of high school during the Depression and went to work for his father, a blacksmith, said Carl T. Wirth. Later, Wirth ran an amusement ride at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair held in Flushing.

Wirth's family moved into Manhattan in 1940 and he took a job at a brewery on the Lower East Side, his son said. Eight years later, Wirth joined Consolidated Edison, working as a welder until he retired in 1984, his son said.

Wirth married Catherine "Kitty" Kelly on June 6, 1948, and the couple had four children. The family moved from Manhattan in 1959 and settled in Mineola, his son said.

During the construction of the World Trade Center in the 1960s and 1970s, Wirth was among the crew that laid the gas lines, his son said.

After settling in Mineola, Wirth continued to use his hands to help his neighbors, whether it be installing appliances or moving furniture. "He was very generous, very caring," said his son.

In addition to his son, Wirth is survived by two daughters, Christine Levy of Mineola and Catherine Levine of St. James (His third daughter, Arlene Bremer, predeceased him.); a sister, Elsie Fritz of Suffolk; and five grandchildren.

Burial was Friday at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Pinelawn.

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