Posted by: SJS | June 13, 2012

Red’s 8th grade graduation

It was probably around this time of year when George (Red) Stahley graduated from the eighth grade at the parish school of St. Stephen’s in North Philadelphia.  The year was 1939.  The turmoil in Europe and Asia would soon erupt into the conflagration of World War II.  All of that lay in the future, however, as Red and his classmates finished elementary school and prepared to enter Northeast Catholic High School in the fall.

Mother and son in 1939

Red’s eighth grade graduation

Standing proudly next to her son, Mary Stahley savored the accomplishment of her only child.  Since she was forced to leave school after the sixth grade in 1918 and care for her five younger siblings, Mary was keenly aware of the value of education.  Having lost her mother in the tragic flu epidemic of 1918, Mary and to go from childhood to adulthood in a matter of months.  Her father, George Young, was a Philadelphia fireman who worked long hours in a demanding job.  So Mary became the mother to her two sisters and three brothers.

On that June day in 1939, watching her son graduate from grade school, Mary was happy and proud to know that he would soon be attending high school–an opportunity she never had.  Four short years later, Red would enter the service and begin his training to serve in the US Navy.

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