How small he has become after all these years even though he was never a big man, he is so small now. I can probably pick him up if I had to.
Dad was the 11th living child and the 5th male. He is the only one living now.
He was the only one that ever served in the military and that was during WWII. He served in the medic department even though he was never a doctor or had any formal training.
His mom was born in Germany and his dad was born in New York. They eventually moved to New Jersey and stayed there until they died.
His older brothers and sisters were so much older than he was that they could have been his parents, he didn't even know a few of them.
Dad was like any other kid growing up in the old days. He would play football and baseball with all the boys when he got home from school. Being the last born child, dad quit high school to help his parents with the bills. When he went into the service he left everything and went off to war.
Like so many other young men, he was sent to Germany where he served in the Medics. It was there that he was hit by a piece of metal in his leg and it could not be removed for fear of more damage than he already had. He still has the metal in the leg and it does give him some issues and pain but he has learned how to deal with it.
During the war he received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and many other medals and awards.
After The War
After the war he returned to New Jersey and opened up a printing business with two of his brothers. They were very successful for over 40 years.
In his spare time he was very active in the Civil Defense in his town. He eventually became the head of it and spent long hours helping everyone and teaching the young people of the community.
His biggest hobby was growing tomatoes from seeds and starting them in his basement under grow lights in February and hand spraying them everyday and night. Once they got big enough to plant outside he would end up giving many of them away, to the neighbors, doctors, mailman etc. I ended up with over 100 tomato plants every year and boy did I have loads of them to share.
This year will be the first year I can ever remember that he is not going to grow them. He can just about walk with two canes and he can't go up and down stairs to take care of them. It's so sad as everyone knows how much he loved doing it.
About ten years ago, mom had a massive stroke and after months in the hospital and rehab, dad wouldn't let her stay in the hospital and wanted her to come home so he could take care of her. They lived alone and a few times a week, after working all day, my sister and I would travel 1 1/2 hours each way to help him. That gave him time to go to the store or keep his doctors appointments and just get out for a little bit.
Mom was totally paralyzed on one side and dad had an apparatus that he had to hook up to her to lift her in and out of bed. Mom was a very big woman and dad was so small and yet he had the strength to do this for 6 years.
A Very Stubborn Man
After mom was gone dad would not hear of moving with anyone, he will not leave his home and he doesn't want anyone to stay with him. My sister and I still go visit him once a week as he likes to go out to eat. He enjoys our visits but will not come home with us and he will not let us clean for him.
Dad is now 91 and has colon cancer and we know time is running out but boy he is soooo stubborn. He likes playing games on the computer and emailing us and he keeps in touch with other family members on there.
We get worried about him falling or needing help but there is nothing we can do. I created a little system so we can check on him a few times a day. Every morning, the same time, he calls me and we talk about 1/2 hour. At night, he either calls my sister or she calls him, and they chat. We also make calls to him through the day, but if we don't get an answer when making our morning and evening calls we have the next door neighbor check on him.
He knows his time is coming and we talk about it often, he is ready to go and actually wants to. He comes from a very religious family and is ready. He says he has a very lonely life now but still is so stubborn he will not come to live with us.
October 17, 2012, Dad passed away holding my hand. I love you daddy.