Carroll E. `Ed' Beadenkopf, 85, mechanic and World War II POW

August 01, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

Carroll E. "Ed" Beadenkopf, a former courthouse maintenance supervisor and sheet-metal mechanic who during World War II was captured by the Germans in Battle of the Bulge, died Friday of liver cancer at his home in Morrell Park. He was 85.

Born in Southwest Baltimore, he attended the old Edgar Allan Poe School No. 1 until the ninth grade. In 1937, he entered an apprentice program with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and become a master sheet-metal mechanic and supervisor.

Mr. Beadenkopf met the former Loretta Keys when they were children growing up on the same block in Southwest Baltimore. They married in 1940.

With his three older brothers already serving in World War II, Mr. Beadenkopf left the railroad and joined the Army in 1944. He served as an infantryman in the 16th Regiment of the First Infantry Division - known as the "Big Red One."

A forward scout, he was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945. Mr. Beadenkopf was a prisoner of war in Belgium before being rescued by Allied troops in April 1945. He was awarded the Bronze Star.

In a 1995 book, No Mission Too Difficult by Blythe Foote Finke, Mr. Beadenkopf described being captured by the Germans and how he feared that he would be killed. The book was a compilation of World War II stories by veterans of the First Infantry Division.

"We knew they had shot American prisoners at Malmedy in Belgium," he said. "But finally they decided to make us prisoners instead."

After the war, Mr. Beadenkopf resumed his work as a sheet-metal mechanic at the B&O Railroad, then joined the Coast Guard as a civilian worker in the 1950s. He finished his career as the chief maintenance supervisor at the Baltimore City Courthouse Annex in the 1960s.

From 1955 to 1963, Mr. Beadenkopf also owned and operated Ed's Bar in the 1700 block of W. Pratt St. In 1960, he and his wife opened Beadenkopf's, a convenience store and grill across from the bar. It closed in 1988.

His oldest son, Edward G. Beadenkopf of Warrenton, Va., said "he taught me honor, honesty and extremely hard work."

Mr. Beadenkopf was active in the Society of the First Infantry Division, a veterans organization, attending several reunions throughout the years. Last year, he was honored as Soldier of the Year by the regional members of the society, said his brother-in-law, George Keys of Baltimore.

"The Big Red One - he's proud of them, and they're certainly proud of him," Mr. Keys said.

Edward Beadenkopf said his father didn't talk much about his war experience unless he was asked. But as he and his siblings grew older, they realized the importance of their father's war contribution.

"As we started learning more about World War II and the battles, [we realized] that the Battle of the Bulge was a significant battle, and he was on the front lines," his son said.

Mr. Beadenkopf enjoyed collecting antiques, stamps and coins. He was active in the local Democratic Party.

He also loved to sing country music and Methodist hymns, family members say.

"When we were younger, even during the Depression era, at nighttime he and his friends would harmonize," Mr. Keys said.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Benedict's Roman Catholic Church, 2612 Wilkens Ave., Baltimore.

Along with his wife of 64 years and son, he is survived by two daughters, Carol Helms and Joan Fogle, both of Baltimore, and another son, Robert Beadenkopf of Pasadena; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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