Posted by: SJS | August 11, 2012

Pop Stahley wanted to enlist in ’42

Pop in '40

Pop Stahley in 1940

Young Red Stahley wasn’t the only member of the family who wanted to enlist in the armed forces after the entry of the United States into WWII.  In 1942 at the ripe old age of 37, my grandfather George “Pop” Stahley wanted to join the army and serve in the infantry.  Facing the prospect of her son going off to war, my grandmother, Mary (or “Nana” as we always knew her) put her foot down when it came to her husband.  So Pop stayed stateside and contributed to the war effort through his work at Budd Company in Philadelphia.      While Pop was the gentlest, most sensitive man I ever knew, he knew how to handle himself when trouble found him.  Growing up without a father on the rough streets of North Philadelphia during the early years of the 20th century, Pop had more than his share of fistfights.

He would never speak about those days to me.  Only with great reluctance could I prod Nana to share a few minor details of those stories with me.  While he got his share of black eyes and bruises, Pop never failed to fight back and earned the grudging respect of the neighborhood punks and bullies.

Within a few months of my high school graduation in 1969, Pop died after a painful battle with bladder cancer.   We lost him on August 7th and I continue to miss him terribly.  His death shook me to my core.

Pop and I shared the same birthday and we often spent it together at old Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia watching our beloved Phillies.  Thanks for everything, Pop.  How I look forward to seeing you again one day.

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