Herbert Edward Mahn, a former Westport resident, died June 16 at the Clare Bridge Unit, Brookdale Assisted Living Facility in Wilton. He was 96.
Herbert E. Mahn: former Westport resident. Contributed photo
He was born at home and grew up in Stoneham, Massachusetts. His family included his father Herbert Augustus Mahn, his mother Edith Maria Mahn and his sister Beverly Ruth Mahn (Surette).
He graduated from Stoneham High School in 1940. After high school he worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps. on various municipal projects in New England. He once wrote that his ambition was to own a diversified farm.
He was enrolled in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMASS when war broke out in 1941, and he enlisted in 1942. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. from the Armored School OCS.
He later deployed as a tank unit commander first in North Africa (Tunisia) then into Italy with the invasion force at Anzio beach. He assisted in the liberation of Rome, and later fought in the Apennines and the Po Valley.
He was injured on March 2, 1945 while outside his tank when a mine was triggered by the tread of a tank behind him. He recovered in Livorno, Italy from extensive wounds to his legs and back. He had to have his right knee reconstructed before he could return to his unit (751st Tank Battalion).
He was awarded the Purple Heart and had five Battle Stars awarded for the five campaigns in which he participated.
Leaving the military and returning back to the United States, he visited his parents in Westport, where they had been living during the war. It was there that he met his future wife, Gladys Tranberg, who came from a Swedish family in Fairfield.
They were married on June 14, 1947 in First Church of Christ, Fairfield. They had two children, Susan Beverly and Cynthia Elaine and built a house on Colonial Road in Westport.
Herbert’s business was within walking distance from the house (The Model Garage). He once wrote that the job he liked the most was “repairing all the war-weary cars that wheezed in.”
He sold the business in the late 1960s and became a vocational instructor teaching automotive technologies for the State of Connecticut, retiring in 1983.
He sold his house and moved to a small town in New Hampshire (New Hampton). He was active in his Community Church and the Gordon-Nash Library where he served as trustee and headed up the Friends of the Library and ran their annual book sale.
He planted trees. He found time to work on his 1931 Model A Ford Cabriolet and go to antique car events all over New England.
He spent time with his married daughters, sons-in-law Ralph Slater and Jeff Schaefer, the grandchildren, Robert, Andrew, Steven Slater and Becky Schaefer. In 2004, he returned to Connecticut with Gladys to be closer to the family. Gladys died in 2011. Herbert remained in assisted living facilities in Wilton and Norwalk until his death.
A funeral service will be held at noon on Saturday, July 22 at the Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Ave., Norwalk. Calling hours are from 10 a.m. to noon before the service. A private interment at the family plot in Stoneham, Massachusetts will take place on Monday, July 24.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that contributions be made in his name to the Friends of Gordon-Nash Library, 69 Main St., New Hampton. NH 03256.