Pfc Robert J. Elsaesser, 99th Infantry Division, K Co., 393rd Infantry Regiment
Robert J Elsaesser was born 1924 in Paterson, NJ, and the youngest of six children. His Parents were German immigrants from Stuttgart, Germany. Robbert went to Central High in Paterson and right after he graduated he was drafted and left for bootcamp, he often spoke about the fact that his mother cried as the bus pulled out.
While entering into service he had a girlfriend but she broke up with a “Dear John” letter, after the war he would find the love of his life.
After eating army rations for a long time Robert refused to eat chipped beef on toast for the rest of his life. He always traded his sigarettes with other soldiers in exchange for their chocolate bars.
On the 10th of April 1946 he returned to the United States and became a wood pattern maker,this would be his profession for the next 25 year.
He was a great craftsman who made many Christmas gifts along with households items (clocks, door stops, key racks, picture frames, plant stands and furniture.)
After the pattern work dried up he took a job as the Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds for Bogota Board of Education, a job he held for 20 years.
Robert attended many of the 99th reunions through the years in various stages of his life, He went at all different periods in his life, when he was still single, when he was a young father with our family, The last one he attended with his children was the 50th reunion in Nashville, TN in 1999. It was important for him that they were all together at that on.
His daughter Deborah said the following about the reunions and the men from the 99th: “One thing that has always amazed me about these reunions is that I don’t ever remember any of the men talking about the war and their experiences. They seemed to enjoy being together again but never mentioned what they had done. They were a very humble group and never bragged about the enormous impact they had on the world.”
Robert J. Elsaesser sadly passed away on January 12, 2015 reaching the age of 90.
Robert will be missed greatly by his whole family and his many friends.
I have received this information through his daughter Deborah and she shared something special about her fathers funeral.
“We displayed some of his handmade gifts at his wake so people who didn’t know him well (our friends and colleagues) could learn a little about him. They were astounded by his talent.”
We thank you for our freedom, your sacrifice will never be forgotten.