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1940 Cliff Cornwall
1940 Cliff Cornwall






John Edward Ayman was born on May 7, 1913 in Brooklyn, NYC. His father, John Ayman, was born in 1887 in Vilkarishie, Lithuania. His mother, Anastazia "Stella" Schatskus, was born in 1889 in Germany. His parents married in 1909 in Lithuania and came to America and settled in New York City at 44 Stagg Street in Brooklyn. They had three children, John (b.1913), Helen (b.1916), and Henry (b.1919). The children grew up speaking German. The father was a tailor.

By 1930 the Ayman family had moved to 88 West 17th Street in Woodhaven, Queens, NY.

On June 6, 1935, during the Great Depression, he joined thousands of other teenage boys at an Army base in Plattsburgh, NY, where they attended a Civilian Corps Military Training camp. C.C.M.T was a free summer program designed to introduce military training to young men. They lived in actual army barracks for thirty days. According to one newspaper description, "The U.S. government will provide free transportation to and from the camp and will also provide food, uniforms, athletic equipment, laundry and medical service and other accommodations."

The following summer in June of 1936 he again attended the CCMT summer camp in Plattsburgh.

In September of 1936 he attended the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, where he studied in the art department. He was enrolled as a full-time student in the three-year course. His teachers were Frank Riley, Monte Crews, and H. Winfield Scott. His classmates included Sam Savitts, Marshall Lincoln Lee, Attilo Sinagra (1916-2004), Charles J. Mazoujian (1917-2011), Bob Powell (1916-1967), Robert Hayward Webb (1915-2000), Elmer Wexler, and Gerald McCann.

On June 8, 1939 John Ayman graduated from the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn.

From October 1940 to April 1941 John E. Ayman drew the comic book feature Cliff Cornwall - Special Agent for Flash Comics #10, 11, 12, 13, and 16, from DC Comics.

In 1943 during WWII he was drafted and served in the Army, where he was trained as a radio technician. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, in recognition of his experience at C.C.M.T. military training camp. He served in Germany, where his fluency in the German language was valued by his superior officers.

During his service in Germany, Lt. John Ayman married a German citizen. His new wife, Julie Ayman, was born on May 1, 1914 in Germany. After his honorable discharge in 1946 the married couple returned to America and lived at 94 High Street in Butler, NJ.

On September 1, 1949 his son Bruce R. Ayman was born.

His war experience as a radio technician carried over into a peace-time interest in ham radio, and by 1952 his radio call letters were listed in Radio Amateur Call-Book Magazine.

During the summer month vacations of the 1950s the Ayman family returned to Germany to visit relatives.

In 1953, while traveling to Europe on the luxury Liner, Ile De France, a distress signal came from the freighter Greenville, whose captain had ordered the sailors to abandon ship. Passenger John E. Ayman snapped of a dramatic photograph of the sinking ship, which was later reproduced in the October 5, 1953 issue of Life Magazine.

On April 1, 1965 the artist's father, John Ayman, died in Queens, NY, at the age of seventy-seven.

In 1966 the Ayman family moved to 475 Main Street in Fort Lee, NJ.

On August 1, 1975 the artist's mother, Anastazia Ayman, died in Uniondale, NY, at the age of eighty-six.

On June 25, 1997 his wife Julie Ayman died at the age of eighty-three.

John Edward Ayman died in Fort Lee, NJ, at the age of ninety-one on August 26, 2004.

                          © David Saunders 2017

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