I would like to talk about Roy. Roy is one of those people that just comes out of no where, and touches your life.
What little is know about Roy, begins in West Salem, Illinois in 1914. His parents were Dalton and Estella. Roy had an older brother and two sisters. As an adult, Roy drove dump trucks and concrete trucks for a materials company in Lawrenceville, Illinois.
My grandmother had built her own cinder-block home on small piece of family land and later was adding concrete driveway. It was during this construction project that Roy delivered materials and met my grandmother. Although he was 9 years her junior they hit it off and married in 1956. Life was a competition between the two of them, seeing who could raise the biggest tomatoes and who had chosen the best variety of vegetable . They raised chickens for sale, had Shetland ponies for fun and awful Ginny hens.
Roy gave the appearance of being a gruff individual. But truly, he was soft and possessed more common sense than you could shake a stick at. Roy taught me rabbit hunting with a 410 shotgun. Never, never, sit at a checker board and expect to beat Roy. With the knowledge of a chess wizard, from your first move, Roy could see every move until the games conclusion, which was ALWAYS in his favor!
In the later years Roy and grandma like camping, in an trailer. It was interesting, Illinois citizens, on social security, could camp in a state park for $1/night all utilities included. In the summers, they’d closed up the house and camped just a few miles away in Red Hills State Park, going home once a week to get the mail.
As Roy aged, ;ole many of us, his arteries began closing, but he chose to do nothing more than take Lecithin in an attempt to open them somewhat. In 1985, Roy left us.
In Roy’s home, there was a display, my father had made, of the medals Roy earned in WWII. After grandma’s passing the display went to one of the family members.
As I grew older, I dedicated a portion of a room in my home to family members who had served in WWII. In researching Roy, I found that he was a member of the 36th Division, the famed Texas Division, 142nd Infantry, CoA. He fought in Africa, Salerno, Cassino, Anzio, France and Germany. He earned a Pfc rank, combat infantry badge, and rifle expert medal. Besides being awarded the WWII Victory and Good Conduct Medals, he also received the European Asian Medal with 2 stars, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster as well as Presidential Unit Citation. I don’t know exactly how many Purple Heats Roy earned, but it seems that some time ago, I had known of four.
Some people didn’t believe his WWII experiences. Like many of those who served in WWII, it was a time put aside from memory and rarely spoken of, but his service is born out by the medals, which speak volumes.