Posted by: SJS | December 19, 2016

December 20th, 1924

Mary and Junior 1926

Mary and Junior 1926

Had lung cancer not claimed his life in 1999, perhaps we would be celebrating my father’s 92nd birthday on Tuesday of this week.  I feel his loss most keenly at this time of year, especially since his death occurred on November 13th–just as the holiday season gets underway.  His birthday–coming between Thanksgiving and Christmas–was always a special part of the family celebrations that mark the final weeks of the year.

Through my research into his PT days, I’ve had the chance to meet my father on a new level.  Sharing conversations with men who knew him well and remembered him fondly opened up new dimensions in my connection to him.  The voyage of discovery continues and I am so grateful for the wealth of knowledge and insight that has emerged through the memories of PT veterans who served with my father.  And I am grateful as well to the extended family of my fellow PT “Splinters” who have broadened my understanding of the Mosquito Fleet and its inspiring history.

In the photograph, my father stands with his mother, my grandmother Mary (Nana) Stahley.  In Nana’s face, I can so clearly see traces of my four sisters.  In my father’s face, there are mirror images of my children as toddlers.  Family photos like this one always lead me to a wider appreciation of the precious gifts we have inherited from those who came before us.

Best wishes to all for a happy Christmas, a healthy new year, and a peaceful holiday season Thanks for your continued support.




  1. So touching.

  2. My thoughts are with you. I can completely understand – the loss is hitting hard this year.

  3. I appreciate how your blog has consistently made me aware of the importance of better understanding my own father’s earlier life and how it shaped his world view. Your pursuit of your father’s experiemces is one of the most respectful and effective ways to keep his memory alive.

    • Dudley, I really appreciate your good words. The research process has been among the most rewarding projects I’ve ever undertaken. The circle continues to widen and it has been a great experience in every way. Thanks for your continued support. Steve

  4. What a kind and beautiful post. Thank you! My best to you this holiday season, and to those who proudly serve our country.

    • Jennie, Thanks very much. I am most grateful for your continued support. S

      • My pleasure!

  5. Best wishes to you and yours too.

    • Greg, Thanks for your good wishes. And thanks for your continued support! All the best to you and yours for 2017. S

  6. I stumbled onto this site – thought it might interest you….

  7. GP, This is a fascinating slice of WWII history–I’m going to check it out in detail. Thanks for passing this along–much appreciated. S

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