CARL TREMAINE PART 2, May 26, 2011

By Steven J. Canton May 26, 2011
(Originally published in THE BOXING WORLD, July 2011)

Carl Tremaine was originally written on January 21, 2007 and published in Boxing World in October 2007. The article chronicled and exposed much of the background and details of the origin of Carl Tremaine, his boxing career, possible inspiration for the “Superman” character, disappearance from the sport and supposed demise, and his post boxing career, under the name of Carl Kent, until his death in 1989, at the age of 87.

Although the article “solved” some of the myths of this great boxer, many family questions still remained. However, it seemed that the more questions that were answered resulted in additional questions, but at least we now have a better understanding of his/our family’s interesting background.

In February, 2010, I received an email from Peggy Tremaine Gildersleeve who said that she read the Carl Tremaine article and that Carl was her grandfather’s brother, and was of French-Canadian decent. Her Grandfather, Bernie Tremaine (Carl’s youngest brother), was also a boxer and had several siblings, including sisters Leah, Lola, and Sylvia. He often spoke of brothers Guy, Clyde, and Carl. She had never heard of Carl being of Italian decent. I also received an email from Roberta Tremaine Hosken who said that she and her sisters Peggy and Linda Tremaine were all born in Detroit. Their father Robert LaVerne Tremaine was also born in Detroit in 1924, and was the son of Bernie. I was told that everyone in their family had light brown or blonde hair and blue eyes.

In March 2010 Linda Tremaine Schingeck contacted me. She told me that she had always been called by her middle name (Nancy) since birth, and was planning on coming to Florida to check into the “family history.” She arrived on May 10, 2010 and we had a very enjoyable and enlightening time.

Growing up we were told that there were 14 or fifteen brothers and sisters on my father’s side of the family, but we only knew of seven (four Aunts and two uncles). The others had supposedly died and were never spoken of. Interestingly, everyone in our family had light brown or blonde hair and blue eyes. They also had names of Bernie, Roberta, and Sylvia.

When we met Nancy we noticed how much she resembled our Aunt Mary. Growing up she had heard that there were 14 or fifteen brothers in their Grandfather’s family, but they only knew of seven (three sisters and four brothers). The pictures we shared all seemed to bear strong resemblances to each other.

She remembers growing up and being told they looked Italian and used to say no…”we are French Canadian.” They were never told nor were aware of their Italian heritage. In fact, it seemed as if it was overplayed that they were French Canadian.

She said that many family members have “Superman” tattoos (in fact, three generations). One cousin even had a Superman Van and now has a Superman motorcycle. She doesn’t think that anyone was really aware of the Superman connection, no one ever spoke of it, but they loved him nevertheless.

It appears that when the family came over from Italy they couldn’t sustain a family of that size and had to split up, half going to Listowel, Canada to live with relatives. The children were very young and had no knowledge of the whereabouts (or existence) of other brothers and sisters. Both sides of the family grew up separately, neither knowing of the existence of the other until recently, when the mystery started to unravel. Since the older generation has died those who are left are now discovering “unknown” family members and interesting facts.

Carmelo Cantalupo, AKA Carl Tremaine, AKA Carl Kent, lived a life as a world class professional boxer, and was good enough to be on the ballot for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, was the possible inspiration for “Superman,” lived as a mild mannered electrician in New York in his later years, and now is the impetus for two families discovering their roots and coming together as one. Thank you, Uncle Carl!


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Category: Steve's Corner

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