Alfred Samuel Tompkins

1921 - 2016


Their Story

Alfred Samuel Tompkins was born April 7, 1921, in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, to Rome James Tompkins and Amanda Helen (Roeska) Tompkins.[1] His father was a Doctor of Medicine, practicing for three years in Cuba and the remainder of his career in Indianapolis, Indiana.[2]  Alfred had one brother, Rome James Tompkins, Jr. and two sisters, Lucille Helen, and Shirley June. His mother died six months after giving birth to Shirley in December 1924 of anemia. She was just 29. Shirley died at the age of 1½ in January 1926. His mother had been married previously to Fred Eastman and they had a daughter, Marie.[3] His father was previously married to Celia Stockham and they had a daughter, Helen Ruth.[4] They divorced in 1910.[5]  His father married Myrtle Abbott one day before Shirley died in 1926. Rome and Myrtle divorced in 1943 and he then married Jean in April 1946. One year later, they had a son, John.[6] So, Alfred also had two half-sisters and one-half brother.

In 1936, Alfred, his brother Rome, Jr. and their father were riding in a taxicab when it skidded on icy pavement and crashed into a utility pole. Dr. Tompkins suffered back injuries and a scalp laceration, but the boys were unharmed. Their father received treatment at the hospital and stayed there for several days.[7]

Alfred served in the U.S. Army. He appeared in several muster roles in 1939. In February and April, he was with Battery A, 19th Field Artillery at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana.[8] In May, that unit was at Fort Knox, Kentucky.[9] In September, with Battery A, 79th Field Artillery, he was at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.[10] And in November, with Battery C, 19th Field Artillery, he was back at Fort Knox, Kentucky.[11] The 19th Field Artillery was activated October 5, 1939, at Fort Knox.[12] And on the last day of 1939 he had been on furlough for 9 days since the 24th of December.[13]

Alfred also served during WWII. It is recorded that he returned from Marseilles, France, on the Hermitage arriving at the Port of New York on November 6, 1945.[14] The passenger list showed the unit as 262nd Infantry Regiment, Company D. Alfred was listed as a private with the Corps of Military Police with his MOS [Military Occupational Specialty] as Military Police.[15] He served 17 months overseas and earned a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He served in the American and European Theaters and participated in five campaigns.[16]

The 262nd Infantry Regiment was part of the 66th Division, which was part of the 6th Army Group that participated in the Northern France campaign. The 66th Division crossed the English Channel on Christmas Eve 1944. Most of the infantry troops were on board the SS Leopoldville and the HMS Cheshire. Just five miles offshore from Cherbourg, the SS Leopoldville was torpedoed by a German U-boat. They lost 14 officers and 748 servicemen that day.[17]

The Patch of the 66th Infantry Division.

After arriving in Brittany, the 66th Division had daily reconnaissance patrol duties along the 112-mile front and periodically conducted artillery fire on any pockets of resistance. When the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945, the 66th Division moved near Koblenz, Germany for occupation duty and to guard German POW [Prisoner of War] camps. In late May, the 66th moved to the Marseille area on the southern coast of France to staff the staging areas in Marseille, Arles, and St. Victoret, from which troops were being sent to the war in the Pacific. Then, with the cessation of hostilities in the Pacific, a small part of the 66th Division sailed for home in late October 1945. Alfred had enough points to be on that ship.

The same month that Alfred arrived back in the states, he married Lois Gertrude Ausdal of Davenport, Iowa. She was employed at the Rock Island Ordinance Center. After the wedding, the couple resided in Chicago, Illinois, where Alfred would resume his studies in dramatics.[18] It should be noted that Alfred was referred to by his nickname “Tommy” in the wedding announcement.

Lois and Alfred had a daughter, Cassandra, born on August 26, 1946, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Davenport. Cassandra lived only four hours, dying of encephaloceles due to malformation in utero.[19] Encephaloceles are rare neural tube defects characterized by sac-like protrusions of the brain and the membranes that cover it through openings in the skull. These defects are caused by failure of the neural tube to close completely during fetal development.[20] Cassandra was buried at Pine Hill in Davenport.

Alfred registered for the draft September 12, 1946, at the age of 25, in Chicago, where he lived. He listed his brother R.J. Tompkins as his next of kin and his employer as a discharged veteran.  Not much is known about Alfred from then until 1993 when he was living in Sun City, Arizona. Lois died in January 1997. Alfred lived almost 20 more years, dying on April 20, 2016. His short obituary said he had been a schoolteacher. He was 95.[21]

An interesting family detail is that Alfred’s grandfather, also Alfred S. Tompkins, served as a sergeant in the Union Army, 4th Regiment, Indiana Cavalry from 1861-1865.[22] He suffered a disease of the eyes during his service.[23]


[1] Tompkins Family Tree

[2]Death of Dr. Tompkins

[3] Amanda Helen Martha Roeska – Facts (

[4] Celia Newell Stockham – Facts (

[5] Dr. Tompkins Divorce from Myrtle

[6] Birth of son, Rome and Jean Tompkins

[7] Cab crashes into Pole

[8] United States, Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939;

[9] United States, Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939;

[10] United States, Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939;

[11] United States, Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939;

[12] 2-19 FA History – 1st Cavalry Division Association (

[13] Alfred S Tompkins Family Tree

[14] – New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

[15] – New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

[16]  Tompkins – Ausdal Vows

[17] History of 66th – 66th Division (

[18] Tompkins-Ausdal Vows Quad-City Times Davenport, IA 30 Nov 1945 p7 –

[19] Cassandra Tompkins Certificate of Death

[20] Encephaloceles | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (

[21] Alfred Samuel Tompkins (1921-2016) – Find a Grave Memorial

[22] Alfred S. Tompkins, “United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865” • FamilySearch

[23] United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933;