Memories of a member of “The Greatest Generation”
For those who do not fully understand what this means, look back in time to when the world was coming out of the Great Depression and the world was at war, many young men left jobs, farms, schools, loved ones, wives or maybe that special girl back home. They truly loved and cared about what they were leaving behind. They put their lives on hold to take a stand against evil and tyranny abroad and defend the very freedoms today that so many of us quite easily take for granted. Some of those young men never made it back home while others were fortunate enough to make it back home safe and sound.
Dick was one of the many fortunate ones to return from a strange land far away, shortly after returning home, he marries his High School sweetheart and picks up his life where he left off.
And what did he do with his life?
• He built a home for himself and his new wife.
• He takes a job with Western Electric and works his way up through the years to be the head of the Accounting Department.
• He continues his education after returning from the war and graduates.
• He and Claire raise a daughter.
• He takes his family on numerous trips all over the country.
• He takes up golf and becomes very good at it.
But that was just a small portion of what Dick did with his life.
• Dick and Claire open their hearts and their home to their friends and extended families for many joyous occasions.
• Those of us as children would always look forward to going to visit “Auntie Claire” and “Uncle Dick”
• Dick extended kindness and compassion to all who ever had the pleasure to know him, and he did so unconditionally, he was someone who was accustomed to giving tirelessly of himself and never expecting anything in return. He served as a power of example to many of us who knew him on how to treat our fellow man, I recall fondly one time when he helped me in a small matter without my even asking him and all he said was, “Someday you will come across someone who needs the same kind of help, be there for that person, that is the best way you can repay me.”
• And in his immense kindness and compassion he also showed incredible strength.
The above is just an incredibly small testimony of the man; to describe everything this man did would fill numerous volumes. Very simply put, each and every day he made the most of his life and in doing so he encouraged others to do so as well.
When I was just a child, I recall spending countless times with him and Aunt Claire and how they both made you feel like you were the most important thing that mattered to them and that there was nowhere else they would rather be than to be with you.
As a young man still in my teens, I went through a very dark moment in my young life and I felt tremendous grief, feeling like my life was totally and completely ruined, wanting to give up on myself as a failure. In his own way he made it clear that I could not do that, I was to use that experience to make myself a better man and in many ways I like to think that I did. I had a few more battles to wage in my youth, especially during my battle with alcohol; he was among my greatest supporters. He was always giving me encouragement when I needed it the most.
As I matured into adulthood, he was still there for me whenever I needed him, there were times when I needed to make a decision about something and was uncertain about which choice to make, he was a wonderful person to go to for guidance. He always managed to point me in the right direction. When my own parents passed on, he and Claire were there for me without hesitation.
His humor, how I recall his humor, so very witty and gentle.
Dick, left us on August 28th 2012 after being amongst us for 87 years. Even two years later it seems like it was yesterday when he passed
In those 87 years he did so much for so many, touching countless lives in a positive way, to many of us he was our own personal hero and I think if he heard any of us referring to him as that he would in his own humble way try to downplay it.
I could go on and on for days on end about how he had such a positive impact in my life and probably be able to write a few books in the process and many of you who may have known him could probably do the same thing as well,
I will close with this, as he gave of himself to each and every one of us we end up carrying a little bit of him inside of us, so he is not truly gone. His very nature lives on inside of us.