Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Vincent Johnson

10/29/2013 (2 years ago)

A Blest Life (www.ablestlife.com)

A Thank You Just Isn't Enough

My father converted to Catholicism in his early twenties and never looked back. He provided me with the words and example I needed to trudge on into adulthood. I look back and really see all he gave to us. Himself.

My Pops, a Navy radioman on Byrd's flagship during WWII.

My Pops, a Navy radioman on Byrd's flagship during WWII.

Highlights

By Vincent Johnson

A Blest Life (www.ablestlife.com)

10/29/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: Veteran, Christian, Faith, Family, Love, dad, navy, Byrd, ship


MOORESVILLE, NC - My father enlisted in the Navy at 17 to fight in the war. He was raised in a troubled family and experienced the hardships of the depression. I remember the stories of him having to collect the coal that fell off of the coal cars on the train tracks.

He served proudly, as did his brother Arthur in the South Pacific during those years of hardship and loss. He stayed in the Navy for 7 years, capping it off with a trip down to Antarctica with the 2nd expedition led by Adm. Richard Byrd in 1946. He was a radioman on Byrd's flagship. He also had served a year in occupied Japan, immediately after the end of the war.

The USS Mt. Olympus 1946


When he came back to the States he embedded himself into the post war world with his wife, my mother; starting a family and working hard to make a living. I came along much later in his life; when he was 36, but that really didn't matter. From my earliest memories he was so patriotic. He loved his country so much and shared it with me every day.

The example of the life he lived was one of integrity. He always stood up for what was right, and was the most generous man. He was one of those guys that the expression "He'd give the shirt right off of his back" was written for. He would pick up hitch hikers and buy them lunch. He taught me so many lessons. My favorite was "I don't care what you do in life, I don't care if you clean toilets; just do your best:" He was one man whose advice I always listened to.

He was rough around the edges, not perfect at all, and salty once in a while, but he was an intense man of unwavering faith. He was religious and diligent in his duties to God and once again a good example for a son. When I went to church, I would always make sure I was sitting next to him. I would watch his large hands on the back of the pew in front of us as he used it for support. He would sing hymns in a deep voice, I was proud of him. When I told him I was going to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard; following in his footsteps, it was bittersweet. He was proud that I was to serve my country, but a little disappointed it was not with the Navy.

As I grew older my fondness continued to grow, but we would spend less and less time together. I eventually found the girl of my dreams and I brought her home to visit so my folks could "try her out". My Father fell in love with my bride to be; my southern belle. We soon were married to start our own family and my visits were limited to every year or two. When I received the phone call from Mom that my Pops had cancer, I was heartbroken. We had to do something, we had to fix this. The doctor gave dad 6 months to live and he did for all 6 months. He suffered and offered it up to God for his children among other meaningful things.

Since I lived a day's ride from home I could only visit a few times during his ordeal; when I received the call that he was in his last days I rushed home. When I got there I found him in a hospital bed in the living room of our home sleeping. I sat beside him all night holding his hand and talking to him. In the morning, the family stood around him singing, praying and speaking to him. He opened his eyes and I got right into his face to ensure we connected. When his beautiful blue eyes locked onto mine, I looked deep within. His eyes seems to say "I love you" to me. So I told him I loved him, that he did a good job, and that he could go to God now. My father, Richard Alvin Johnson, passed away a few minutes later; he was gone, but not really; he is still living in my fond memories of him. He was a good, kind and decent man who loved his country and built a foundation in his children. He helped build me into the man I am today. I love you and miss you Pops!

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---

Web site to inspire others in facing their day.



Comments


More Blog

The Political Rise and Fall of Dr. Ben Carson (Part Two)

Image of

By Justin Soutar

Within two and a half years' time, Dr. Ben Carson's political star had climbed with extraordinary steadiness from the horizon to the zenith, where it shone with dazzling brilliance, and then suddenly it plunged toward the opposite horizon, disappearing from view ... continue reading


'Tolerate as I have tolerated you' Watch

Image of

By Michaela Daphne

Jesus is not nice."Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." (Matt 10:34) BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - It's no accident that C.S. Lewis used a lion to represent Christ."Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear ... continue reading


Believing in God's Providence Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

This is a tough one for me, but I am certain this is a lesson God is desperately trying to teach me. It's a lesson I need to learn if I want progress in this journey of life with the Lord. NASHVILLE, TN - When I say 'learn' I don't mean to simply understand what God's ... continue reading


End Your Silence! Use Your Voice! Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

Too many of us have for too long remained silent in the face of evil and untruth. Too manyof us have sat silently as all sense of the Sacred has been removed from many of our Churchbuildings and our Holy Masses. CANASTOTA, NY - Too many of us for too long have ... continue reading


The Political Rise and Fall of Dr. Ben Carson (Part One)

Image of

By Justin Soutar

Within two and a half years' time, Dr. Ben Carson's political star had climbed with extraordinary steadiness from the horizon to the zenith, where it shone with dazzling brilliance--and then suddenly it plunged toward the opposite horizon, disappearing from view ... continue reading


Four Phrases That Will Transform Your Relationships Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Instinctively, we long to rescue the people we love. We desperately want to take away their hurts and "fix" whatever struggle or fear they may be walking through. I know this because I've been the one that has tried to verbally "fix" other people's struggles. I didn't ... continue reading


Praying For God's Mercy With Boldness and Confidence Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

Jesus gave us the seven Sacraments and left His Church as the earthly vehicle through which He would work to save souls. The salvation of souls, not social justice issues, is the "supreme law of the Catholic Church" and the primary reason for its existence. CANASTOTA, ... continue reading


Who is the Holy Spirit? Watch

Image of

By Michaela Daphne

My most recent writing project is a multimedia about the Holy Spirit for a Pentecost youth rally next week. Usually when I write such things, it all comes about fairly easily, and I can piece together a rough draft in an afternoon or so. This time, however, I have ... continue reading


What is love? Watch

Image of

By Michaela Daphne

People say things like "If you really love me, you'll have sex with me" or "If you really love me, you'll buy me nice things," but what is the real definition of love? How do newly weds navigate the difficult terrain of authentic love? BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - When ... continue reading


Desolation, Grace, and Trust Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Recently I've crossed into a place I'm not proud to admit I've entered. It's not a physical place, but rather a spiritual and mental place. It's a product of exhaustion coupled with fear, but mostly it's due to a greater distance between God and I because I've been ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 1:10-16
10 This salvation was the subject of the search and investigation of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders, his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:28-31
28 Peter took this up. 'Look,' he said to him, 'we have left everything ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 24th, 2016 Image

St. David I of Scotland
May 24: David, the youngest son of Scotland's virtuous ... Read More