He was my father-in-law, and thus I’ve been in his debt ever since that wonderful day when I first met my wife. There is, in one sense, only a little to be said, but that is only because he was “just” a good man.
He worked, all his life. From childhood when he used to help his father deliver ice in New York City, to just a short while ago when he was still giving aid to the crew doing some modifications to his garage. This is what men of his time did: they worked. His main job of his life was working in iron – some of those fire escapes you can still see in New York were built by him. He started out doing that sort of work in the shipyards of World War Two, until Uncle Sam decided that he could just as well do that in the Navy. He might have made the Navy his career, but the death of his father meant that he was needed back at home, to help take care of his mother and his sisters.
He got married: another thing men of his time did. There was no need to run around – you found the girl you liked, and you married her. And then stayed married. Joe and Dolores were together for more than half a century, until she died in 2009. They had three children together and they did their best by them. Those kids have now turned into five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was not just my father-in-law: he was my friend. I’ve learned a lot from him. How to be a bit tougher. How to apply just a little more elbow grease to problems. How to not complain and just get the job done. I’m going to miss him.
UPDATE: Turns out, the old guy died on July 5th – his birthday. Little screw up in recording of times.