J. Fred Lytle
Technician 5th Class
U. S. A. F.
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 04/30/1945 - 06/27/1946
Powerman, 6th Army Signal Maintenance

Fred was born in Houston as an identical twin to Frank Callan Lytle. The twins and their two sisters were children of Leo Bell Lytle, a railroad worker, and Floyd Margie Hughes Lytle. When the twins were two years old the family moved to Shreveport where his father worked for Crystal Oil Company. They lived on Baird Street, then moved into Cedar Grove where his father, he says, built the first brick house in the neighborhood at 69th and Fairfield. Fred remembers that the Depression years there were times when "there wasn't a penny in the house." In 1930 the family moved to his mother's hometown, Meridian, Mississippi. There his parents worked in her family's grocery store. His father also "tramped all over the country" seeking a job. The twins worked in the family grocery store as delivery boys and for a drugstore as car hops, where the pay was three dollars a week. Back in Shreveport the twins graduated from Byrd High School in 1936. Fred went to work at a cabinet shop while Frank worked for Arkansas Fuel Oil Company. He and Frank also opened Twins Novelty Shop East, where they built custom-made furniture. Fred worked at various times at J.B. Beaird Corporation, where he made wood patterns; for Robert Neff, a contractor; and for Victoria Lumber. He met Nellie Mae David at Southside Baptist Church, where he has been a member for 72 years. They married on February 25, 1940, and eventually would have eight children, 21 grandchildren, and 25 great grandchildren. In World War II approached, the twins were separated for the first time at age 22. Frank left to fly for the U.S. Navy. With Beaird producing structures for defense, such as barracks buildings, Fred worked in an essential defense industry He did not enter service until late in the war. He was sworn in, he says, the day Hitler committed suicide, and had just entered basic training at Camp Crowder near Neosho, Missouri, when Germany surrendered. Attached to the Signal Corps, he was sent to a signal center in San Francisco in October of 1945. He was discharged in June of 1946 at Camp Beale, east of San Francisco. Back in Shreveport he opened his own woodworking business, sold it after about 23 years, and opened Lytle's of Shreveport, an arts and crafts enterprise, which he ran for 36 years. He then began making violins.