ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Jerry Hubert Pinkowski was the amateur photographer who took most of the images in this photo collection during his three years of service in the U.S. Army during World War II. Jerry was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1915 to Edward and Rose (Gabryszewski) Pinkowski. Jerry's father, Edward worked as a security officer, but his mother died when he was only three years old. From this marriage he had an older sister, Irene. Later when his father remarried he had two half-sisters Eleanor and Alice and a half-brother Charles. Jerry attended school in Chicago through the eighth grade and then attended vocational school to become an automobile mechanic.
Family lore states that he met pickle factory worker Alice McDevitt while sitting in front of his garage playing his harmonica. One thing led to another and they were married in July of 1941. America entered World War II later that same year and Jerry, who was exempt from service due to a childhood skeletal injury to his arm, was given a choice to sit out the war or join. He entered active service in October 1942 and sailed for England a year later. He served as a Staff Sergeant with the 347th Ordnance Depot Company in France and Germany under the commands of the First and Third Armies. In November of 1945 he returned home to his wife, Alice. Their only child Terrance was born in 1947 in Chicago.
After the war, Jerry went into business for himself, opening a mechanic shop on Byron Street in Chicago. That business suffered a fire, so he moved himself and his family to Grand Avenue in Chicago where he ran a car lot, salvage yard and body shop on leased property. In about 1955 he purchased the house adjacent to the property and continued to run his business from the leased land next door. Wanting to relocate to Wisconsin, but finding the cost of living too high, he set his sights on Southern Illinois where he could find affordable real estate. In 1963 he bought land and a home in the small southern Illinois town of Odin and operated a salvage yard on Route 51 called "Mac's". Jerry's son, Terry joined the Marine Corps in 1966 and served in Vietnam with the 7th Motor Transport Battalion, and was wounded in action and sent home.
Jerry eventually sold the salvage yard, but kept the adjacent house and in 1971 began his carrer as a correctional officer at maximum security Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, retiring as a sergeant in 1979. His son Terry started his career as a correctional officer simultaneously, rising to the rank of Major and retiring in 2001. Jerry had two grandchildren, Melissa and Scott.
He spent his retirement in Odin with his wife Alice, enjoying fishing and gardening. He even opened his own small mulch business from his home in the last years of his life, selling mulch from a mountainous heap he kept in his yard and scooping it out by the bucketful with his front-end loader. Jerry lost his battles with throat, lung and bone cancer and passed away in April of 1993 and was laid to rest in Peaceful Valley Cemetery in Odin. Alice passed away at the age of 90 in 2007.