Herman and Helen had met in Bay City, Michigan where Helen grew up. They met through his cousin, Wanda who also lived in Bay City. While there, the future Mrs Tubick was taking care of her daughter Violet and, being a single Mum had to find employment. Employment during this time was hard to come by, the Depression was still inflicting itself on American workers. Helen was offered a job in Colorado where her aunt had a dress shop. Herman followed her there, finding work as a guard at the Federal Reserve Building.
Violet was not Herman’s daughter Eleanor from China. Eleanor was born 26 May 1935, whereas Violet had been born sometime in 1933, during Helen’s failed first marriage. Born in Detroit in 13 May 1913, Helen was the second daughter of William Ortenburger and Sophie Kunicki, both Polish immigrants. On 3 January 1933, when she was 19, she married Alva Volders, 8 years her senior, a truck driver from Bay City. Sadly, as noted above, the marriage failed, Helen filed for a divorce on 26 August 1935 citing ‘non support and cruelty’. Uncontested, the decree was granted on 6 January 1936. The marriage had lasted three years and three days.
Above: Stanton Colliery, Wilkes Barre, P.A. early 1900s
Below: Extract from 1930 census showing Herman's (recorded as Roman!) father and brother working in Stanton Colliery
Tubick as he appeared in the US Fourth Marines Annual 1935
Helen's Divorce Record
An account of the Manson trial, first published in 1974, purported to be ‘The true story of the Manson murders’. In it, Tubick was described as ‘A deeply religious man, who began and ended each day of deliberations with silent prayer, Tubick had been a stabilizing influence during the long sequestration’.
Because the world’s press was reporting on the trial, all the jurors were sequestered, that is, told that they must stay in a hotel, ‘to protect them from harassment and to prevent their being exposed to trial publicity’, for the duration of the trial. Arrangements were made for the jurors to stay at the Ambassador Hotel, the same hotel where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated less than three years before.
Fortunately for Helen, as noted above, she met Herman after he had been posted to Detroit in November 1937. The record of their marriage is the first time that Tubick uses Chester as his middle name. He married Helen Ortenburger in Adams, Jefferson County, Colorado on 25 October 1939, more than 1,200 miles from Detroit. The 1940 census shows that they stayed in Colorado after their marriage, living in Denver, a new life, far away from their past; a young couple with a young daughter, who Herman had legally adopted after his marriage. They were still in Denver, living on Cherry Street, when Herman Steve Tubick completed his Selective Service Registration Card. The wartime registration campaign commenced about a year before the U.S. officially entered World War II on 8 December 1941 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. In October 1940, President Roosevelt signed into law the first peacetime selective service draft in U.S. history. Curiously, when Tubick completed this form on 16 October 1940, he listed his date of birth as 30 October 1911, rather than 30 September 1912, and he reverted to using Steve as his middle name.
There is no doubt that this is the same man; his place of birth is the same, Carey Patch in Pennsylvania, his wife is the same, Helen Ortenburger Tubick, the service registration form showed that he was working in a bank, the Federal Reserve Branch Bank in Denver, and his signature was identical to the one he signed in Shanghai when he acknowledged that he was the father of Eleanor. Perhaps it was an innocent mistake or maybe he was trying to cover his tracks.
Their youngest daughter’s memories fill in the gap in the records between 1940 and 1946, the year that she was born, offering a fascinating insight into the life of an American family during World War Two. She recalled that, ‘there was another employment opportunity for my Mom in California. She had relatives in California and they encouraged her to move out there for jobs seemed to be more plentiful. So off she went with my sister, Violet to California on a train. My Mom found employment making parts for airplanes and soon found a house in Maywood not far from her work. (Actually, it was about a 3-5 mile walk and my Mom walked this every day...not in the snow, but she did walk...no car). My Mom notified my Dad in Colorado that she found a house, was employed and that California was THE place to live so he was encouraged to come to the Sunshine State. When he was able to be relieved of his responsibilities in Colorado he came to California. This must have been around 1945. Then of course I came along in 1946. Around that time my Dad completed his Mortuary of Science Degree [while he was still in the Marine Reserve Corps]. However, he did not practice this line of work for there were higher paying jobs as a precision machinist. He was a precision grinder for all of my growing up years. However, he also renewed his certificate of mortuary science for "you never know when it may come in handy" as he would say. That time came in the 60's when there was a slight recession and Dad begin looking for employment in the mortuary field.’
Janice Tersa Tubick was born 1 December 1946 in Los Angeles while her older half-sister attended the Los Angeles Catholic High School. The family remained in Los Angeles. Helen and Herman, with the middle initial ‘C’, appears in the biennial Los Angeles County electoral rolls from 1948 to 1962, living at 6058 Prospect Avenue, Maywood City, Precinct 13. In the years 1952 to 1956, Helen’s sister Emily A. Ortenburger, is recorded as living at the same location. In 1956 and 1958, Miss Violet A. Tubick is also living there. Janice recalled that it was not unusual for relatives to stay with them at the "Tubick hotel". She recalled that they often had relatives from both sides of the family living with them; grandmas, aunts, cousins, and acquaintances in times of need until they could “get on their feet" and get on with their lives.
In 1970 Helen and Herman were listed in a Los Angeles Street Directory, living 7 miles away at Casuda Canyon Drive, Monterey Park, Los Angeles. He was by now working at the nearby Rose Hills Cemetery, finally using the mortuary training he had received in the Marine Corps.
Herman was their first child born in America, no doubt a joyful occasion and a positive omen for their new life in America. Three more sons followed, Edward, Joseph, and Leonard. Herman lived in Pennsylvania until he joined the Marines, enlisting with them 4 May 1931. His youngest daughter was told that he entered the Marine Corps as soon as he could in order to escape the rigours of being a coal miner, endured by his father and brother at the Stanton Colliery in Wilkes-Barre. By September 1932 he was headed to Shanghai, onboard the troop ship USS Henderson. He was to stay in Shanghai for just over four years, eventually departing early January 1937 on the USS Chaumont bound for America.
Herman and Helen's Marriage Certificate
Tubick formally acknowledged that he was the father of Eleanor Tubick
In the same press conference, Tubick made reference newspapers reports that the jury were putting together a package deal to sell their story to a magazine for $200,000. He assured people that he had never been approached by any newspaper and was shocked by the suggestion that anybody would profit from the trial, the only reward he required was knowing that he had done his civic duty. In a final comment, he told the reporter that he would be disappointed if the judge reduced the death sentence or if it were reversed by a higher court, ‘Anybody who takes a life should pay for it one way or another.’ As it happened, the death sentences were reduced to life imprisonment when the California State Supreme Court announced on 18 February 1972 that it had voted to abolish the death penalty, phlegmatic as ever, he accepted this decision without question or comment.
Already a keen sportsman, in his youth spending time exercising race horses, playing baseball, boxing, and swimming, during his time in Shanghai, he learned to play rugby, graduating to play in the first XV and ultimately becoming captain of the Regimental team. He played his first game of rugby in early March 1933 suggesting that he volunteered to play the game almost as soon as he had arrived in Shanghai. That match was a league game against a British United Services team. The Marines’ ‘White’ team easily won the match despite fielding a weakened team, a victory that earned them a semi-final match against the Shanghai Municipal Police. In that fixture, ‘Tubic’, as the local newspapers often referred to him, got his first mention in a match report, scoring a try under the posts and being referred to as one of the best members of the forward pack, which included the very experienced Albert Moe. The Marine ‘Whites’ trounced the Police 27:0, earning them a place in the Spunt Cup Final against the Marine ‘Blue’ team. In the 1932 - 33 season, the two Marines’ league teams easily beat their Shanghai based opponents and the Spunt Cup final was as expected won by the Marines’ Blue team, defeating Tubick’s White team by only 6:3.
The start of Tubick’s second season playing rugby coincided with the Marine’s first Regimental rugby tournament. The Marines used the tournament as an opportunity to develop players and choose a squad who would play for the rest of the season. It featured four teams, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions and a team from Headquarters. The competition, which lasted from 29 September to 3 November 1933, certainly ensured that the Marines had great pre-season preparation. Tubick’s 2nd Battalion won the tournament winning all five of their games. His performances in the Regimental tournament earned him a place in the Marines’ 1st XV and a berth in the Marines’ Blue team competing in the Shanghai League.
The New Year of 1935 saw the annual three match rubber series against the Shanghai 1st XV. Predictably, the Marines team lost the opening match, Tubick --making a welcome return after having recovered from an injured leg -- and his team mates were unable to offer significant resistance. The remaining two games were delayed due to the visit to Shanghai by Hong Kong’s rugby team; the most eagerly anticipated rugby visitors to the port. Tubick again sat on the sidelines as he watched his fellow Leathernecks earn a famous but unexpected rear-guard victory against the Colony. Later that month, he also did not play in the second match of the rubber series against Shanghai. His absence was most likely been because he was injured as he did not play in the Marines’ second team fixture either.
He made his next rugby appearances for the Red Marine’s team in the Spunt Cup games. The Shanghai civilian teams were optimistic of at least one of them reaching the Spunt Cup final, however, once again the two Marines teams spoiled the party. The Marine’s Red and Blue teams both qualified to play in the final which was not played due to lack of time. At a celebration dinner in March, Tubick, alongside 41 teammates, received the coveted Spunt Cup and were presented with a personal memento, a silver miniature rugby ball, by John Beaumont, the Marines Commanding Officer. The dinner, which included many speeches, was accompanied by ‘generous quantities of beer.’
YouTube clip of Tubick's press conference after the Manson trial.
If Herman had been craving anonymity in his new life on the west coast of America, what next happened was a severe blow to his wishes. In the summer of 1970, he became a central player in one of the most celebrated and infamous trials in American history. He was chosen as a jury member in the court that was trying the notorious criminal Charles Manson along with his accomplices. The spotlight focussed even more closely on Tubick when he was elected Foreman of the jury. Tubick’s personality was well suited to the role. His daughter recalled that, ‘He was well liked and people seemed to enjoy his company and gravitate toward him. He had a great sense of humor and looked at life as a cup half full rather than half empty. He only wished the best for people, had a listening ear and a big heart. He was willing to compromise but when the line was reached, it was reached! He could tell the best of them off at first in a polite manner and if folks didn't get the point, well my Dad had a booming voice and people got the point!’
‘Doing His Duty’
Herman Steve (Chester) Tubick (1912 - 1985)
A source referenced copy of the text below is available on request
Player for US Fourth Marines (1933 – 1936)
Fourth Marines Rugby Squad 1933 - 1934
Left to Right Back Row: Hans DeJong, Clarence L Derwae, Theodore Hruby, William R Mullenax, Louie E Painter, Richard K Ford, Clarence E Swank, Cook, John Rekuc, Chester M Zawadski, Ray Ekberg, Clemence E Swineheart
Third Row: Emmett W Skinner (Coach), Harry Rossman, Hall, Gilbert, Kelley, Randall I Booth, Herman Steve Tubick, Alford Russell Burk, Dixon, George C Laughridge, Edward C Gajarian, Kenneth C Bateman, John J Zajac, Galley, Gilbert R Downing
Second Row: Hermen E Rasmussen, Joseph T Urbaniak, Charles F Allard, Cyril O Lawless, Thompson "Red" Lee, Joseph Lewandowski, Barney Allen Cogsdell, Leonard, Milton Calvin "Slug" Marvin, Carl "Coffee" Zatkoff, Phillip L Tabor
Front Row: Marcie O Lindquist, John F Giargiari, Horace A "Rugby" Smith, Vandeavender, Frank Morgan, Paul D Sherman, Ellsworth L Hoskinson, James J Brooks, Frank J "Mike" Misitis, Bartholomew, Victor T Garrison
Herman Steve Tubick was born 30 September 1912 in Carey Patch, Ashley, Pennsylvania. His parents were Paul (Pawel) Tubick and Rosa Veronica Tubick nee Tarasinski. Both born in Poland, they were married there in 1897 or 1898. By the time that they emigrated to the USA shortly before 1912, they had seven or eight children, five or six of whom travelled with their parents to America.
Allowed only strictly controlled visits from family members, the jury stayed in the hotel from the start of the trial on 24 July 1970 until 16 February 1971. There was no let up during the holiday period. Special family visits were allowed and parties arranged but such events were poor compensation for the considerable sacrifices the jurors had to make. Janice remembers this time, ‘visiting with him on weekends entailed being in the presence of a guard! The jurors were watched that they would not be speaking to their family members about any facet of the trial. Also, family members could not bring in newspapers, magazines or any other printed material that referred to the trial. Our conversations were monitored.’
His penultimate match in Shanghai against a Shanghai Club XV was significant for the Marines because it was an opportunity to prove to the sceptical Shanghai rugby officials that they were good enough to meet Meiji University who were soon to arrive from Japan. Despite losing, the game, they were awarded the prestigious Meiji match; Tubick’s efforts helping to convince the sceptics. Playing at scrum half, he showed speed and initiative, smothering his opposite number, he ‘stood up well to the great deal of work which was pushed onto his shoulders. It was his agility and speed which prevented Shanghai from staging more movements than it did.’
Tubick was captain of his team in the match against Meiji University; his final game in Shanghai and probably of his rugby career. He faced a daunting task. Standing opposite his opposing captain before the kick off, alongside the referee Ted McLaren, a man who had played for Scotland alongside Eric Liddell in the 1920s, the diminutive Marine, only 5 feet 6 inches tall, exhibited a steely determination in both his posture and his stare. His team lost but he did all he could for his team, he ‘was the outstanding player in the offensive drives of the Marines. He always led the rushes and he dribbled pluckily, being given very poor support on most occasions. He was fast and broke through Japanese ranks powerfully, and also did a good deal of tackling in the first half.’
Tubick’s wife spoke to the press about her relief to have Herman home, ‘I’m very close to my husband’, she said, ‘at first, this nearly drove me out of my mind. It was like he was in prison. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I began to pray this would be over soon.’ She also said that she had developed a heart condition during the sequestration, and had trouble managing the family apartment house. Despite such hardship, after the trial her husband said that he thought that the decision to be sequestered was a correct one, a decision which successfully ensured that the jurors had not seen any press reports of the case. ‘I’d have no objection to being sequestered all over again if it was necessary’ he selflessly stated.
When the trial concluded, the jury were now free to talk to the press. A newspaper reported that ‘Jury Foreman Herman Tubick appeared shaken as he faced the press following the verdict, but claimed he was only “very tired.” The 56-year-old mortician, who has two daughters aged 23 and 37, in a convent, said the trial and the decision, “has been very difficult” but “prays to God” the verdict will be good for the youth of the country.
After the trial, the jury made their own headlines, courtesy of sensationalist statements by a fellow juror named William Zamora. Zamora was already planning to write a book about the case, cashing in on his 15 minutes of fame. He suggested that during the sequestration, some of the jurors engaged in sexual activity. Tubick, with ‘his brow furrowed and fists clenched’ responded ‘if anyone brought that up it was very small of him’, adding that, ‘We have our inside jokes, we may have played around a lot, but as for the hanky panky, I really don’t know’.
The census of 1 April 1940 shows that on that day, he was living in Denver, Colorado as a married man, working as a Guard in a bank. His wife was recorded as Helen S. Tubick, born in Michigan. The 1940 census is especially useful because it also required the person to record where they were living in 1935. Herman was living in China, while his soon to be wife Helen was in Detroit Michigan. The same census also showed that living with them was a young girl, aged six, named Violet A. Tubick.
Playing alongside Marine rugby legends such as Barney Cogsdell and Alford Burk, Tubick featured in two of the three 1st team clashes against the Shanghai 1st XV, a three-match ‘rubber’ series which resulted in one draw, one loss and one win each. In the second match, Tubick was mentioned in despatches; ‘Tubic and [Joseph] Lewandowski worked like Trojans, leading in footrushes, and chasing the ball all over the field.’ Meanwhile, his Blues’ team shared the Spunt Cup with the Marines White team. Both teams were undefeated: they drew 0:0 when they played each other.
The next season (1934 – 35) followed a similar pattern but was not as successful for Tubick. However, for non-rugby reasons, the season would prove to be very memorable. It kicked off with the second running of the Marine’s Regimental rugby tournament. Tubick’s second battalion, undefeated in the previous year, went down in their first game against the first battalion, Tubick did not play, instead watching from the sidelines. His return in the second match did not improve things, the match report noted that, ‘Tubic, the second’s breakaway led many attacks but they were quickly smothered.’ And his team went down to a second defeat.
During the Regimental league season, the battalion teams also played against other Shanghai teams in friendly fixtures. This included a match against the French team Association Sportif Française where Tubick, by now seen as an experienced campaigner, once again played alongside the veteran Moe. The report read, ‘“Toodles” Tubic, fullback of the Marines, played well up, together with the threes… With Tubic working with the line, the threes got off time and again to neat movements, but deep in the zone of the French, the defenders would not let them through.’
The visit by the Meiji University from Japan during the Christmas holidays offered the Marines an opportunity to battle with a top Japanese team. Unfortunately, Meiji’s arrival coincided with the departure of a handful of experienced rugby players back to the States. The mostly inexperienced team, including some old hands such as Tubick, were heavily defeated 42:6. Meiji graciously offered the Marines a second, originally unscheduled match before they headed back to Japan. Tubick was again selected in the team, but the result remained the same; a resounding defeat by 31:3.
The relief of the jurors when they were finally allowed home was immense. Their work was not yet done, the trial did not finish until 29 March 1971, but they could at least sleep in their own beds.
After the trial, Herman went back into welcome obscurity. He continued working until around 1982, spending his retirement doing ‘odds and ends around the home.’ He died 24 December 1985 at Monterey Park, Los Angeles. The official record of his death recorded his middle name as Chester, and his mother’s maiden name as Tarasinki, the same Rosa Tarasinki who had named him Herman Steve Tubick seventy-three years earlier.
And so ended his time in Shanghai, a long boat trip lay ahead. A journey with plenty of time to think about the good times he had had in Shanghai, and to reflect on what he was leaving behind. A few months after arriving home, on 4 May 1937, he reenlisted with the Marines, joining the Service Company 8th Reserve Regiment, based in his home state at 405 New Custom House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In early November 1937, he was posted to Headquarters Company, 17th Battalion, Fleet Marine Corps Reserve Naval Reserve Armory in Detroit, Michigan, where he stayed until January 1939. From there he was posted to Marines’ General Service Unit, at Mare Island, California. A last Marine Muster Roll shows that he was still there in December 1940.
Above: The Los Angeles Times Headline at the trial's end
Right and Below: After the trial, Tubick held a news conference with the World's press.
Postcard of the Ambassador Hotel
Postscript: Herman officially acknowledged that he was the father of his Eleanor daughter. This indicates that he took some responsibility for the child, at least while he was in Shanghai. When he had to leave Shanghai, it appears that he left his child and girlfriend behind. I have found no evidence to suggest that Herman remained in contact with his Chinese daughter. Even had contact been maintained, it would have been very difficult to continue after the Communists took power in 1949. Furthermore, with the onset of the Cultural Revolution in 1967, the life of a mother with a Eurasian child would have been very difficult. Until our correspondence, his daughter Janice was unaware that she had a second half-sister.
A question arising from researching Tubick’s life was, ‘Is Herman Steve Tubick the same man as Herman Chester Tubick?’ After a lot of digging into the records available on www.ancestry.co.uk and elsewhere, I concluded that the answer is yes, the two names represent one person. This was later confirmed via email correspondence with his daughter Janice Tubick, who, like her half-sister Violet became a nun, spending her life serving God. I am most grateful for her patience in corresponding with me and for the thought and care that she put into her detailed and frank answers to my questions.
Whether Tubick was on baby duty or injured is unknown, but he played in only three matches in the 1935-1936 rugby season. His first game a victory in a friendly match against the Shanghai 1st XV, was a warm up match for the two teams as they prepared to meet another team visiting from Japan, the Imperial Japanese Railways team. The Railways team were certainly not as talented as the previous year’s visitors Meiji University. The Marines enjoyed a rare victory against a Japanese outfit. Tubick was injured early in the game, returning to the fray after a break of 16 minutes (at this time substitutes for injury were not allowed), going onto score one of his team’s tries. His final match played in the New Year, was a disappointing loss against Shanghai.
Tubick’s 1936 - 37 season was cut short when the Chaumont left Shanghai in the first week of January 1937. After a runout with the 2nd Battalion, his second match was against HMS Dorsetshire. With only 6 or 7 men from the previous season, the Devil Dogs were expected to lose but they confounded expectations; their experienced men’s talent overcoming the teams’ lack of teamwork. Individual efforts by the experienced men such as Tubick, Harvey C. Tschirgi, Carl ‘Coffee’ Zatkoff and Chester ‘Red’ Whatley, combined with the greater fitness levels of the team were good enough to ensure a winning start to the season.
The 1936 - 37 US Fourth Marines Rugby team in Shanghai
Back Row (left to right): Herbert S Vulgamore, Hudson, Jerome F Dolan, Colonel C F B Price, Walter T Bloodgood, Harold E Darewitt, Buster P Stull
Middle Row: Eric M Mencner, Fox, Thacker, Steve J Vucic, Peter J Soloway, James C DeWitt, Edward W McGloin,
Ringley Ritter, Bruce T Hemphill
Front Row : Harvey C Tschirgi, Stephen M Zeher, "Joe" Storm, Carl "Coffee" Zatkoff, Driscoll, F J Smith, Cook, Edward A Padbury, Herman Steve Tubick
During that celebration dinner, the twenty-three-year-old Tubick’s thoughts may well have wandered from the rugby celebrations. He would surely have known by now that his eighteen-year-old Chinese girlfriend was heavily pregnant. Saline Sum, hailing from Canton [Guangzhou] in the south of China, gave birth to a daughter on 26 May 1935 at 47 Hanbury Road [Hanyang Road], delivered by nurse Yih Shio Yen. Ms Sum was residing at 470 Rue Kraetzer [Jinling Road (Middle)] in the French Concession of Shanghai, a street well known for its Chinese teahouses, many with a reputation as pick up joints for prostitutes.
It appears that Saline was more than a fling for Herman. The baby was named Eleanor Tubick. In February 1936, she was officially registered with the American Consulate as, ‘A child born abroad… of parents, one of whom is a citizen of the United States and the other of whom is an alien.’ Tubick’s signature on the form confirmed that, ‘I have never been married to the mother of this child but acknowledge I am the father.’ The form also includes useful biographical information about Tubick. Under the section ‘Dates and places of residence in the United States’ the form notes, ‘Carey Patch, Pa. 1912- ?; Ashley, Pa. ? to 1927; Wilkes Barre, Pa. 1927 to 1932.’
Charles Manson at is trial in 1970 - 71
A court artist's sketch of the Jury. Tubick is top right.
Previous Persons of the Month
Person of the Month 1 - George Michael Billings (with club 1902 - 1927)
Person of the Month 2 - Commandent Louis Guillaume Fabre (with club 1936 - 1941)
Person of the Month 3 - Victor Vause Winser Fretwell (with club 1927 - 1934)
Person of the Month 4 - Eric Byron Cumine (with club 1930 - 1934)
Person of the Month 5 - Francis Kingdon Ward (with club 1907 - 1909)
Person of the Month 6 - Percy Martin Lancaster (with club 1903 - 1913)
Person of the Month 7 - The Schlee family (with club 1886 - 1950)
Person of the Month 8 - Henry Bluett Liversedge (with Tientsin and Shanghai rugby 1927 - 1929)
Person of the Month 9 - John William Henry Burgoyne ( with club 1881 - 1885)
Person of the Month 10 - Lawrence "Lolly" Goldman (with club 1921 - 1930)
Person of the Month 11 - Alford Russell Burk (with Tientsin and Shanghai Rugby 1927 - 1930 and 1933 - 1936)
Person of the Month 12 - Barney Allen Cogsdell (with Tientsin and Shanghai Rugby 1927 - 1931 and 1933 - 1935)
Person of the Month 13 - Milton Calvin 'Slug' Marvin (with United States Fourth Marines 1929 – 1934)
Person of the Month 14 - Frederick Anderson - (with club 1882 - 1886 and 1905 - 06)
Person of the Month 15 - Steve James ‘Shanghai’ Vucic - (with the United States Fourth Marines 1935 - 1938)
Person of the Month 16 - Sir William Johnston - (with the club 1875 and 1881 - 1882)
Person of the Month 17 - Albert Ferdinand Moe - (with the United States Fourth Marines 1932 - 1934)
Person of the Month 18 - Charles Clement Dunman - (with club 1903 - 1907)
Person of the Month 19 - Herman Steve (Chester) Tubick - (with the United States Fourth Marines 1933 - 1936)