Keller: Remembering my dad & the life he lived

Published 2:15 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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There are certain dates in my life that I’ll never forget.  Please allow me to share a few:

December 7, 1941 – The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, which started World War II.

March 12, 1945 – My dad’s brother, Aristide “Eaky”, was killed in Europe

while serving in the Army during World War II.  I’m forever grateful for the men and women who served and those who were killed while assuring that we would continue to be a country with all the freedoms God granted us as Americans.

April 26, 1955 – While serving in the Navy on the USS Sauflley EDDE 465

which was stationed in Key West, Florida, two Red Cross representatives came aboard ship at 7:30 a.m. and notified me that my dad had died.  My first reaction was unbelief because I had just been home on a 10-day leave.  My dad, only 48, was never sick and seemed healthy.

I flew home and got to the funeral home at 9:30 p.m. As the custom was then, I stayed all night.  At 6:30 a.m. the next day, six African American men knocked at the back door of the funeral home to see if they could pay respects to my family because of my dad’s death.

Of all the people who came to the wake and attended the funeral, those six men were special to me.  It sent me a message that my dad treated everyone as he wanted to be treated.

April 26 of this year is the 68th anniversary of his death.  I don’t focus on his death, but concentrate on his life.  He was a great husband and father who loved us and showed us how to live and treat others.

My only consolation is that prior to his death, he received a letter from me thanking him for being such a great dad.  Many years later, my brother, Mark, found the letter and gave it to me.


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