Monday, October 03, 2011

My Last Uncle


My Uncle Joe died today.

It wasn't unexpected. He was 89 years old and had been destroyed Alzheimer's in the last few years.

But he was a real "man's man" and a member in good standing of America's Greatest Generation.

He joined the Army in Dec. 1941 and stayed in until Nov. 1945.

He served in 753rd Tank Battalion and the 216th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion.

He participated in the Battle of Kwajalein in the Pacific.

He was stationed on radar duty south of San Francisco in 1942 when a Navy anti-submarine blimp came over the beach at low altitude dragging landing lines.

He and a few other soldiers grabbed the landing lines and were trying to stop the blimp when it hit a bluff.

A depth charge dropped off the blimp but thankfully did not explode. The blimp bounced off the bluff and continued on until it settled in Daly City.

The gondola was empty and they have never discovered what happened to the crew. The gondola was removed and later attached to one of the Goodyear blimps.

He was an enthusiastic big game hunter and his home in Houston was filled with pelts and trophies.

He was a prolific photographer.

He was married twice, but had no children.

He started work at Southwestern Bell in 1956 selling advertising and stayed there until he retired in 1980.

In his retirement, he enjoyed living on the land he bought in Coffeyville, KS, riding his horses and shooting his guns.

He and I grew close in the late 80's and early 90's when I spent 11 years researching our family genealogy.

There will be no funeral. Just a graveside service with full military honors on Thursday afternoon.

R.I.P. Uncle Joe.

5 comments:

Superdave said...

Sounds like he was an awesome uncle.

Spyder said...

My sympathies

Poodles said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

Joe said...

You and I know a guy named Joe who lives in Kansas City, was this Joe named after your Uncle?

Anonymous said...

Please accept my sincere condolences