Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy 97th birthday Dad! We hope you have a great day there, and the whoopie pies Joyce sent arrive soon if they are not already there.

We have been blessed with a wonderful father and grandfather over all these years, and what an incredible life he has had. So many stories, such a rich and giving life. Here is dad, with a group of other friends and comrades-to-be, getting ready to ship out for basic training in the army in 1943.

Born in Junction City, Ohio, his family moved to nearby Zanesville on Central Ave when he was still very young. He grew up there, just down the street from where our Mom also lived at the time. They met when they were both very young, and have been an important part of each other’s lives since.

After training, Dad became an aircraft mechanic in the Army Air Corps, working on the planes and keeping them flying during the war. That is, he was a mechanic until the day when he walked up to one of the officers and said “I want to fly one of those.” So he was sent to pilot school for training, and became a B-17 pilot. After the war, he continued to fly cargo, VIP transports, up to and including the B-47, which was the first jet power bomber.

Dad in front of his C119 after landing at Cheju Do grass strip.

After Dad retired from the Air Force in 1963, he started a construction business in Zanesville with my uncle. After a short vacation trip to Florida with my mom (where Lori and I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Lemert), Dad announced we were moving to Florida. We moved to Winter Park, a small suburb of Orlando. One week after we moved there, the local papers announced the mysterious company buying up land south-west of Orlando was Disney.

Dad built a successful construction business in the Orlando area, mostly building homes, but also built a few warehouses, small office buildings, and even a steakhouse restaurant for a national chain. After retiring, Dad and Mom moved to the east coast of Florida, living in beach-front condos, managed communities, and independent suburban to rural homes were they were up until this March.

Dad has had a bit of a rough time lately. After a fall in a Winn-Dixie supermarket in late December, he developed an epidural hematoma. This was successfully drained at Holmes Medical Center in March, and Dad is currently recovering at a rehabilitation center.

Thumbs-up from Dad.

Dad is expected to be released later this week, where he will join Mom at an assisted living center where he will continue his recovery. As soon as all these restrictions are lifted, I’ll be going down to seen them both, giving hugs and kisses from all of us up here.

Happy Birthday Dad!