Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Vincent Johnson

10/29/2013 (3 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 (3 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

Life Is Seasonal - Embrace It

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

I've been reflecting much on the idea of seasons in our life lately.  NASHVILLE, TN - Seasons come and they go, it's inevitable. It's true for the kind of seasons that relate to weather but what I' m really talking about is the seasons of our lives. We often find ... continue reading


You Can't 'Untruth' THE Truth

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Sometimes it smacks you in the face and sometimes it's a gradual, almost unnoticeable acquisition, but when you learn Truth, you can't "untruth" it.  NASHVILLE, TN - I'm talking about Truth of the Gospel, Truth of faith, and Truth of The Way. Once you learn it, ... continue reading


This Is Amazing Grace Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Amazing grace. King of glory. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. A traditional Christian spiritual. The Old Testament. The New Testament. What do these three things have in common? They are all lyrics in the Phil Wickham song "This is Amazing Grace." This young ... continue reading


I Kissed His Feet

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

God calls all of us to walk the Via Dolorosa with Him, to spend time at the foot of His cross, to be there as He is nailed to it, to be there throughout the entire three hours of His agonizing death, to be there as He is taken down from the cross, to be there as He is ... continue reading


Your Name Rules The Atmosphere Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Jesus was born to save us from our sins, to bring us hope and to show us how to love. He is the source of our peace. We look to him for all of these things and more. What is more fitting than calling on him and recognizing all that he has done for us? <a ... continue reading


2017: 5 Ways to Start Anew

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill

The New Year is upon us and with it we get all get to start anew. What better way is there to start the New Year? It is a great time to look ahead to see where we want to be this time next year and switch gears to meet our new goals - new plans, new perspectives, new ... continue reading


3 Easy Steps to Growing in Gratitude

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill

I have a friend who tells me she gets pretty sentimental each New Year's Eve. Like so many people, looking back over the year - and looking ahead at the upcoming year - she has a blend of both nostalgia and anticipation. Nostalgia for all the good times, successes and ... continue reading


Joy To The World! Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

"<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLT9dSt8cwg">Joy to the World</a>" is a traditional and popular Christmas carol. The lyrics to the carol were first published in 1719. The music is attributed either to George Frideric Handel or Lowell Mason. In ... continue reading


A Christmas and Eucharistic Reflection Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

Imagine this Christmas that before exchanging gifts with family and friends, Jesus thanks you for the greatest gift you could have possibly given Him. What might that be? Interested? Listen to this podcast.Merry Christmas![media id="16661"]     continue reading


The Truth of A Charlie Brown Christmas Watch

Image of What keeps A Charlie Brown Christmas on the air year after year is because it speaks to the truth we all know in our hearts: the true meaning of Christmas!

By Michael Clark

After 49 years, Charlie Brown still outclasses all the other Christmas specials. For sure it was the first of many animated holiday specials, but it is its truth that keeps it the best of them all. DENVER, CO - First broadcast in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas set the ... 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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 9:2-3, 11-14
2 There was a tent which comprised two compartments: the first, in which ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:20-21
20 He went home again, and once more such a crowd collected that they ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 21st, 2017 Image

St. Agnes
January 21: St. Agnes of Rome was born in 291 AD and raised ... Read More