Posted by: SJS | August 30, 2012

Grandfathers, fathers, and sons

Mary, Junior, George in '25

Nana, Red, & Pop in 1925

My research and writing on the Navy career of my father has taken me down many paths.  In addition to learning about his service on the PT boats of WWII, I have come to a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by my grandparents.  They raised their only son to have a strong sense of duty.  Their love gave him a strong foundation for the challenges he faced in distant places and under stressful conditions.  My father, Red, was a capable sailor, a trusted friend, and a dutiful crew mate.  Those qualities didn’t emerge in him by chance.

My grandfather, Pop Stahley, was a strong, generous man who was quietly affectionate and deeply sensitive to the needs of others.  Pop was born in 1905.  My son, Thomas, has many of the same qualities as his great-grandfather.  Thomas, born in 1995 came into the world as the Twentieth Century was drawing to a close.  Pop arrived as the century was just beginning.  The link between Pop and Thomas runs through my father and me.  Seeing photographs of my grandfather, hearing stories about my father from his surviving PT buddies, and watching my son in action as a varsity football player, I find myself lost in the wonder of it all.

Thomas & football buddies

Thomas George Stahley (right) and WHS team mates in 2011


My continuing research into the story of my father’s PT boat days has affected me deeply on many levels.  The most profound effect however, has been my overwhelming gratitude for the gift of family.   It’s been quite a voyage so far and it just keeps getting better all the time.


  1. Steve,
    Wonderful post and tribute to your father and your son. Your blog is a real blessing to your family. Thanks so much for sharing.


    • Aneise,

      Thanks so much for your supportive words and your continued encouragement. I am so grateful to you for those books you’ve given me about the PT service, books I never knew about. My journey of exploration into my father’s service and the legacy of the PT boats have really helped me to understand the man who became my father. My research keeps taking me deeper into the story and the story keeps helping me to get a fuller picture of my father.


  2. This was very beautiful, thank you. I think it will mean a lot to Tom.

    • Lis,

      Thanks for your kind words. I never realized how much Tom reminded me of my grandfather until I wrote those words. While Tom does have some of my father’s traits (and those traits serve him very well on the football field), he has a much stronger resemblance to Pop whose strength was manifest in his quiet attention, his gentle presence, and his warmth. You know what an enormous influence Pop had on my life; there is no higher compliment I can pay to a person than to compare them to Pop.


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