December 18-2011 at 10:20 PM I lost my Dad at the age of 95. I will miss he dearly he taught me so much in life I will never forget him. Born March 24 -1916. I can only imagine what he has all seen in his life. He served in WWII from December 2 – 1944 to February 11 – 1946 but never talked about it.
My mom handed me a brown envelope that said “Official Records” Aug 1945 in there was a booklet with maps and information on the island of Tinian where he was stationed, also with letter of commendation.
He was a baker, medical aidman for 12 months, expert Rifleman, and observed the Enola Gay B-29 bomber take off for Japan. I had no idea he was involved with that part of the war, mom told me he had helped unload the Little Boy bomb from the ship and that was his letter of commendation unloading the ship in five days when tentatively set for twelve days.
He build 4 houses for himself over life time, he was a mason, carpenter, mechanic, plumber, repaired watches for the guys in WWII, bee keeper, raised quails, gardened, farmed, worked on his Aunts mink ranch raising mink and skinning them for pelts and the list goes on. William A Stipe Sr
Bill Stipe Jr
He sounds like great man, father, husband and hero, Bill. Carol and I send our condolances. You have written a wonderful tribute to him.
A great man from the greatest generation. There'll never be another generation like that. Thank God we had guys like your Dad when we needed them most. My condolences.
Nice story, Bill, thanks. He must have been a proud father.
Coincidence. Yesterday at Long Beach T club dinner, I sat beside long time member Red Baysinger. Since he's 91, I asked him about the war. He was a B-29 mech on Tinian, but being the only private in the group, he was given KP, guard duty, etc., all the time. so he volunteered for action, and got sent to Iwo Juma in June '45, just before the bombs arrived on Tinian.
He was disappointed he didn't get to see Japan.
Red got his first T at age 12, in 1931, and was a pipefitter on the oil wells near his family's house on Signal Hill before being drafted..
Bill, so sorry for your loss. I know these "snipets" won't mean much, but so many of us on the forum have similar stories.
My father is 89. He served in the Pacific too. His first T was as a schoolboy, as he and his brothers had a T pickup they drove to school.
I am so sorry for your loss. I brace for the day when I have to deal with the loss you feel.
Bill, very sorry for your loss. My dad turned 94 on Dec. 2nd. Every day that I have him is a blessing. Dad was a machinist, also built houses including plumbing and electrical and restored cars. He only has an 8th grade education but seemingly like your dad can do so very much.
They are not many dad's today that have the ability do so much......alot of young people today can only push computer buttons much less be able to change a tire.
We are both blessed for having such great dad's.
Bill, Sorry for your loss. My Grandfather is 91 and in the hospital possibly for the last time and it has moved me to realize life is short and to do as many of the thing you love to do while you're still able. Thats why i'm starting work on my T and networking with great likeminded do-it-yourselfer and lend-a-hander type people
My condolences as well, Bill. I know at age 60 I am very lucky to still have both my parents. My dad is 92 and still has a current commercial driver's license. Still drives truck for some of the farmers in his area. He too was in WWII, and served in the Ninth Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, and later flight engineer on C-47s. He made three flights over Normandy on D-day, two carrying paratroopers and one pulling gliders. These men are all heroes in my book, and they are leaving us at an ever increasing rate.
As a locomotive engineer, may I also share with you one of my favorite poems, which I find comforting.
Railroad men depend upon colored signal lights to indicate whether or not it is safe to proceed, just as automobile drivers do. Nowadays, the colors are also the same, red for stop or danger, yellow for caution, and green for proceed, or clear.
In the 1800’s, however,(when this poem was written) the lamps were white if the track was clear, and green meant slow or caution. This was changed when it was discovered that often a colored lens would be broken, and a light that should be indicating danger or caution showed as white instead, causing many accidents.
The following poem is one of the most famous of all railroad verses, written by Cy Warman around the turn of the 20th century.
I Hope The Lights Are White
Oft, when I feel my engine swerve,
As o’er strange rails we fare,
I strain my eye around the curve
For what awaits us there.
When swift and free she carries me
Through yards unknown at night,
I look along the line to see
That all the lights are white.
The blue light marks the crippled car,
The green light signals slow;
The red light is a danger light;
The white light “Let her go.”
Again the open fields we roam,
And when the night is fair,
I look up in the starry dome
And wonder what’s up there.
For who can speak for those who dwell
Beyond the curving sky?
No man has ever lived to tell
Just what it means to die.
Swift toward life’s terminal I trend,
The run seems short tonight;
God only knows what’s at the end--
I hope the lamps are white.
I add my condolences too. My Dad is almost 92, and is failing (in hospice care) I go to visit as often as I can, and expect each visit to be the last.
He went in on D-Day +4 to St. Low. Never talked much about the war, and now can't remember. He taught me most all I know; plumbing, electrical, carpentry, concrete, roofing. Nope, not how to drive a T! No one in the family can figure out how I became an "old car nut." Started with a Model A when I was in 8th grade (still have it).
I know I will miss him terribly when the time comes-as I already do.
Yes, the greatest generation. I wonder what I will find when we go through his Europe trunk, which we just discovered in one storage cabin.
I'm so sad to hear of your dad's passing, I lost mine 3 yrs ago. God Bless his soul and yours.
George n L.A.
Bill, Our sincere condolences go to you and your family. I lost my mother and father who lived back on the homestead farm in Iowa several years ago but when I read stories like you wrote about your Dad it touches very close to home for me.
A song by Justin Moore called "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" made me remember some fond times and wished I could also go for a visit with my Grandkids. here's some of the lyrics:
Every day I drive to work across Flint River bridge
A hundred yards from the spot where me and grandpa
There's a piece of his old fruit stand on the side of
He'd be there peelin' peaches if it was twenty years
And what I wouldn't give
To ride around in that old truck with him
If heaven wasn't so far away
I'd pack up the kids and go for the day
Introduce them to their grandpa
Watch 'em laugh at the way he talks
I'd find my long lost cousin John
The one we left back in Vietnam
Show him a picture of his daughter now
She's a doctor and he'd be proud
Then tell him we'd be back in a couple of days
In the rear view mirror we'd all watch 'em wave
Yeah, and losing them wouldn't be so hard to take
If heaven wasn't so far away
You are so lucky to have had your dad around for so long. He sounds like a great guy. My condolences for your loss.
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. A good Dad is one of the biggest blessings anyone can ever have. So many memories rolled over my soul when I lost my Dad. And for me seeing the notes from others on the forum helped me realize that I wasn’t alone. Sitting in front of the key board helped me process that he had gone on to heaven as he said he would do. And that it was ok even for a guy to cry when he loses his best friend. Not that the friends and family that visited were not supportive or loving – just that for me some time alone to think was so helpful to me.
Your Dad was one of the Greatest Generation. He and others with him helped to change the direction of the world. Something we all owe him and those who served a debt of gratitude. With all you are going through -- be sure to take time to grieve. I've been in the military and sometimes you can’t stop and take time to grieve -- you just have to push on because there is mission etc. that has to be completed. But it has been documented that most of us go through some very predicable stages when we loose a loved one. If you are not familiar with those 5 stages of grief or if you would like a refresher -- please see: http://www.recover-from-grief.com/index.html or http://www.way2hope.org/5_stages_of_grief_and_loss.htm or one of the other websites that describe those different stages. I know I went through them when I lost my Dad and again later when I lost my Mom. It is just nice to know that our feelings switching from anger, loss, denial, etc is normal and we are not losing it. And while each of us does that in a slightly different way all of us need to do it so in time we can move on with our lives.
And when you have some private time (I hate to cry in public) there is a country song I would like to share with you. It’s by Brad Paisley called “When I Get Where I am Going.” Even though it says “don’t cry for me down here” it’s really ok to get misty eyed – sometimes it expresses the way we really feel. And yes – there will be some sort of 30 second commercial for something at the beginning – but then the song starts. It does a good job of capturing that “bitter sweet” feeling and for me it was and still is helpful for processing my feelings. It is located at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYHT-TF4KO4 . And remember to “turn off the video at the end or at least hit replay” as sometimes the song that follows doesn’t fit in at all. And if you don’t like country songs – feel free to skip it.
We will be praying for you and your extended family. If I can be of any help – please drop me a note.
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My condolences Bill. That was a great write up for a great man. I would bet with the secretive nature of the operations of the bomb back then, that the men were told everything they did was TOP SECRET and they were never to speak of it. Being part of a generation that kept it's word and did what needed done, it's understandable that even 65 years later with countless books and movies about the facts, some guys still kept their word.
Hello Bill, Sorry for your loss. You were truly blessed to have him as long as you did. I lost my dade at age 67.
My thoughts and prayers to you and your family. I lost my Dad 5 years ago and wish I had 10 more years of him being here to teach me more. It is because of him I have my T now.
Thank You for sharing with us what is the loss of a great man. God Bless.
I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. I understand the feeling of loss. I lost mine 7 years ago and the loss will always be very real especially at the holidays. Cling to all your good and happy memories. We will hold you in our thoughts and prayers.
Brent & Nancy Mize
Those memories of your Dad are wonderful - your thoughts about him will always be with you, and may they comfort you in the days and years ahead.
Oh, that more children would have cherished memories of their folks....what a better world this would be.
Bill, my condolences to you and your family.
Sorry for your loss. They are rightfully called the Greatest Generation. They stepped up and sacrificed both at home and abroad, and we owe so much to them. It seems a common trait among WWII vets to be humble and not talk about what they did. My dad served in the Pacific in WWII...he passed away 3 years ago. It is sad to think that the Greatest Generation will be gone soon. Hopefully future generations will not forget them.
I'm glad that you will miss your Dad.
Allow me to explain.
My biological father left when I was 1 year old. He never saw to it that we had any needs met (he never paid child support although modestly wealthy for many years). He visited approximately 5 times during my entire life. You see, he loved booze and wild women more than his four children. 3-5 birthday cards and never a Christmas gift. We were just not important. Later in his life, the family fortune dwindled. He lived in scwaller. After the family Lumber mill shut down in 1962, although still a young man, he never worked another day. When he died about 18 years ago he was living in a scwaller of a house that my grandfather's estate had given him. His brother and sister had his house put in mine and my siblings names (without our knowledge)so that he couldn't sell it and gamble it away as he had done several other houses. After his death, the house proved to be a liability rather than an asset. It was extremely small and hadn't been maintained. At his funeral my brother and I would not sit with the family, I felt that it would be a farce to pretend to be part of a family that we never were. I don't want you to think that I hated him; How could I? I/we didn't even know him. The very best epitaph that I could/can give to him is "Tragedy" "continual bad choices that cost everyone around him". I have never mourned him because I never knew him. He did impart one great gift. He taught me how not to be a Dad.
I didn't know your Dad but from the pain in your voice I can tell that he was a great man. His records declare him a hero but I believe that he accomplished a far greater goal, the goal of being significant enough to be missed.
While we certainly don't want our loved one to suffer pain, we do want them to mourn our passing. You can prepay your funeral and buy the grandest tombstone ever carved but it's impossible to buy true mourning. That can only be purchased with love. Evidently, he made wise investments in his family. Mourn him well, he paid dearly for all the precious memories that you possess of him.
I am so terribly sorry for your loss.
My condolences. It looks like your Dad got to enjoy life for many years before he passed on. My Dad was a Korea era veteran and I lost him five years ago. When our parents leave us, they leave a hole in our lives.
Bill condolenses from Karen and I in Fulton Mo I met you and the wife at the first Speedster function in Lincoln Neb, we stayed in the same Motel. I lost Dad in 1975, Mom in 78, I was 1/2 way to the age I'm now, it hurts, but life goes on with each generation, now I'm the oldest in our family at 71, remarried 23 years ago, have my children, step daughter, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren. and I'm still into T's even thou dad said you DON"T want a T Model, as he had one and sold Grant rings etc in his childhood, his T oly had a Ford frame, and block and chassis as all else was replaced over his lifetime but he sold it in the 30's and its never been found. Mourn your loss and keep up your wonderful machine work and you and the wife enjoy life in the T world , after today new email firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm so sorry for your loss. Sounds like you and I were both blessed in having a great dad. It's been a year and a half for me and there are some days it still hurts terribly.
Bill, My condolenses to you, also. I lost my father back in 83 and I am convinced that if the medical expertise that is available nowdays, was available back then, he would have lived longer, although he would be 100, if alive, today.
By coincidense, my wife's father, Frances Leo Pozniak, served on Tinian at the same time. He was a Second Lieutenant chief aircraft maintenance Supervisor in charge of B-29's for his squadron. He was in the first group of three or four B-29's to arrive on the island after the enemy had been defeated. They expected to be met by a ground echelon, but were met by Seabees making the runways. Being in one of the first B-29's to arrive, he picked out what he thought would be the choicest revetment for his group's planes. Apparently, Paul Tibbets thought the same thing, because when he arrived with the Enola Gay, my father-in-law and his squadron had to give up their revetments to Paul Tibbets.
Hi Bill - Carol and I offer our sincerest sympathy. Like others said above, you were fortunate to have him for this long. My dad was also born in 1916, but has been gone for 13 years already. My dad and 5 of my uncles were all in the Army in WWII, and one of them was in the Pacific Theater like your dad. Now he's gone, but the memories will live with you forever.
So sorry for your loss - My Dad was also stationed on Tinian during those 'Enola Gay' days - and also never talked about it . . .well after his death we did find a number of 'photos' . . of both little boy and fat man. Wow! Seemed like a lot of people were stationed over there . . .God Bless the entire crew . . .
Bill, my condolences. My dad has been gone 20 years this month. His dad died in 1960, and I remember when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969, one of the first things my dad said was, "I wish Dad were here to see this." Now I find myself saying the same thing.
I wish you and your family strength, especially during this difficult holiday season.
I'd like to offer my condolences, as well.
My Dad was with the Group (509th.?) while it was at Wendover Field Utah. Don't think he went to Tinian though. Too late to ask. He's gone over 30 years now. Had, at one time, a 3 day pass signed by Col. Tibbits. Haven't seen it in years.
My condolences Bill. The last time I seen my dad was 1946 at three years old. I envy those who had time to spend with there dads.
He was a Ukrainian immigrant who bought every tire he could get before the war in ND. With a Harvestor dealership and a heated shop he sold parts and let farmers use his shop and had tires. They came from miles away.
I'm sorry for your loss Bill. I know what it's like to lose your father.
I too am sorry for your loss Bill, but I can tell you that your Dad will always be with you.
I lost my Dad 16 years ago, but he'll always be with me, and so will your Dad always be with you.
On the rare occasions that I do an exceptionally good job on something, I can feel Dad's "pat on my back". And more often, when I screw up on something, I can hear his voice then too.
You'll have the same experience Bill, and it's good. The thing to keep in mind is trying to feel the way your Dad would want you to feel. Not easy now, but it will get easier as the good Lord tends to soften these things for us in His own time,........harold
Sorry to hear Bill, I spent all day cutting wood with my father last Saturday he is 82 and it is something he has always enjoyed, being outside in the woods. I love spending T times with my father also and I hope I have as many years left with mine as You have had. Joe Bell
I lost my father too...many years ago. He was a great man and served society as a prominent dentist and developer of solutions for restoring cleft palet defecs and providing improved lifestyle for patients. He did all of this without butchering quail and mink.
I'm Sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Family.
I will be very sad when my dad goes.
"Father and Son - Pals Forever"
Yes, my condolences also. But please let me share something with you.
My Dad has been gone for 29 years. He was only 65 and still had a lot of restorations ahead of him. The T that I own today was his car before became mine.
There is a lot of truth in what Harold said about feeling his Dad's "pat on the back", and feeling the way your Dad would want you to feel. With 29 years to reflect on it, I have come to realize that my Dad is still here with me. I am my Dad's blood descendant, and I carry his traits, his interests, his conscience, and his ideals. My Dad truly lives on in me. That's why we feel that our Dads are still with us -- they are. They live on through us.
One last thing: Les, if your Dad turned 94 on Dec. 2, then he and my Dad were born on the same day.
Sorry for your loss.
Thanks for everyones kind words, I will truely miss him.
As I read through the posting I can not believe the number of post about the island of Tinian. I have a list that was in the brown envolope of officers, nurses and enlisted men and was trying to find some names posted hear but no luck, I would guess this was from his group but I don't know that for sure. The list is only 5 pages and the info on the Tinian pamphlet said camps to house approximately 50,000 troops where built.
Bill, my condolences also, for the loss of your father . As for WW11 vets, or any other vets for that matter, being "humble" doesn't always fit, I have found that it usually means that the memories hurt too much to talk about. So much history has been lost because of that. Your story tells that so well. No doubt, your Dad saw much more than he let on. Dave
Bill, Sorry for your loss. I was very close to my Dad too. He's been gone for 15 years but I still think about him every day.
Bill, You have my most sincere condolences. Your tribute to your dad shows your love for him. What more could a father ever wish for than a loving son and the peace that that brought him.
Very sorry to learn of your loss. Thank you for sharing your tribute with us. Condolences.