Obviously, our surname is Eichenlaub, which is German. Eich (oak) laub (leaves). The German medal of honor, to the left, was issued during the Nazi regime in the second world war and was known as the Eichenlaub medal because of the oakleaf cluster at its center. 


GGrndParents_Ben and Mary Luke.jpg

My grandparents:

Mary (McElwaine) Luke, the wife of Benjamine Luke and mother of Emma (DOB 1914), Johnny (16), Harry (18), Paul (20), David (22), William (24), Mary (26), and James Luke (28).   

Benjamine Luke was 25 years old when he married Mary  McElwaine in 1913.   It is said that the family lived in Warriors Mark,  just outside of Altoona, PA.   Attached is a news clipping of their 50th wedding anniversary celebrated in 1963. Ben died in March of 1965, and Mary survived him by several years and died in her 90s. 


The Eichenlaub family predates the Civil War, but old 'Pop' (John Matthew Eichenlaub) was born September 30, 1883, more than eighteen years after it ended. His parents were Pvt. Joseph and Mary (Burkett) Eichenlaub, who resided in Elstie, PA. John married Monica C. Benden (pictured below) on June 2, 1903. According to the 1930 census, they had five children: James (17), Hazel (13), Paul (8), Adelaide (7), and Patricia (2), and .  The census of 1900 shows Monica was born in August of 1888, and at age 11 living in Gallitzin township, Cambria County, PA., which means she was about to turn 15 when she married John Matthew.  Pop died on May 10, 1965, from complications caused by colon cancer and was survived by his daughter Marie (Eichenlaub) Aeppli, who was his last surviving child in Altoona. Aunt Marie married Emil R. Aeppli, who worked for years at Uncle Joe's Woodshed there in Altoona. 

Emma, the eldest child of Ben and Mary, married James  Leo Eichenlaub, the son of John Matthew Eichenlaub in 1933. During their twenty-five year marriage, she bore seven children: Shirley, Ronald (Ron), Nancy, Robert (Jack), Terry, Wanda, and me (James - website author). By 1952, when I was born, most of the family had married and moved away. Brothers Ron and Jack were military, and Terry and sister Wanda in high school.


James Leo (my dad), was a professional painter/refinisher. He died in 1958 of a brain aneurism. The cause, in my opinion, was exposure to the lead-based paint used for residential and industrial painting. From 1959 onward, Emma (mom) worked as a waitress at Crist's restaurant for Cristopher Goulianis of Altoona until about 1970 when she was hired by J.C.Penny restaurant. A few months after being hired she had emergency heart surgery which ultimately took her life in 1976. (See story)