John Maurice Wolfe was born on June 30, 1913, in San Francisco County, California. He was the son of Maurice J. Wolfe, a druggist, and Imogene A. “Jean” Irving Wolfe. He had one sibling: Margaret I. (b. 1915).
Wolfe’s father owned a drug store in Oakland, and died in a freak accident in 1918. Following his death, John Wolfe went to live in San Francisco with his mother’s brother, John M. Irving, and his grandmother, Minna James Irving. By 1930, he was reunited with his mother, living with her, his sister, and grandmother. At some point after 1930, Jean Wolfe married her second husband, E. H. Sage.
The details of Wolfe’s education are unknown. He married a woman named Estelle, her maiden name unknown, and the couple had one child: Peter. They lived in Menlo Park, California.
Sometime around 1946 Wolfe bought the Peninsula Paper Box Company, of San Carlos, California, and renamed it the Wolfe Paper Box Company. He died in a car accident in Redwood City on July 2, 1951. According to newspaper reports, he fell asleep at the wheel while driving home from San Francisco and struck another vehicle head-on on the Bayshore Highway at 3:32 a.m.
“Wolfe’s body was crushed almost beyond recognition by the impact,” according to a story on the front page of the San Mateo Times, July 12, 1951. “Rescue crews from the fire department here used cutting torches to free the victim from the wreckage. He died before police reached the scene, less than a quarter of a mile inside the north Redwood City limits.”
image: Detail from the Daily Independent Journal of San Rafael, California, July 13, 1951, page 6