Posted by: SJS | December 20, 2015

George “Red” Stahley 12/20/24 – 11/13/99

Stahley family '26

December 20th marks the 91st anniversary of my father’s birth in Philadelphia.  It hardly seems possible that over 16 years have passed since his death in 1999.  Our children, Thomas and Sarah, were so young when he died that they never really had the opportunity to get to know him.  My in-depth research into his Navy career was just getting started in the late 1990s.

At the time of his death, my father was just a few weeks shy of his 74th birthday.  The cancer which began as a spot on his lung in the summer of 1999 moved with lethal efficiency through the rest of his body and by Labor Day, we knew his days were numbered.  That was a very tough time for everyone in the family.

Each day, it seems, the newspapers have yet another obituary of a WWII vet who has just passed away at the age of 90 or 95 and in some cases 100 or older.  I read those accounts with amazement and just wish that my father had been able to have a few more years with us.  And yet, I am enormously grateful for the time we did have with him and for the stories he shared about his career as a radioman for the PTs in the Mediterranean and the South Pacific.  It was those stories that planted the seeds in my memory, seeds that later blossomed into the far-ranging research project that now generates such excitement and joy as I pursue new leads and locate new sources of information.

The photo above was taken in 1925 or early 1926 somewhere in Philadelphia.  Baby George rides the shoulders of his father, George, senior, with his mother, Mary Stahley in front. My guess is that Pop’s cap was snatched from his head and tossed on the grass by the same person who seems very focused on ruffling his hair at the moment the photo was snapped.

Have a joyful Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.



  1. A wonderful tribute for your father’s memory.

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