Thursday, January 3, 2008

Goodbye, Uncle Al

The Greatest Generation lost another of its torch bearers.

My Uncle Al died on New Year's Eve Day. He was 92.

His personal biography reads like many of his contemporaries who were born in the early 20th century, served our country in World War II and came home to settle down, build a home, earn a living and raise a family.

Uncle Al did all of these things -- with distinction.

A hard worker, Uncle Al never sought any limelight or attention. He was a "give you the shirt off of his back" kind of guy -- one of the many Kenoshans who worked for years at American Motors so that we wouldn't have to. When I was very young and needed to know how to fix something, Uncle Al was the guy to call.

My late aunt was the love of his life and they were devoted parents to my cousin. Devoted is an understatement.

When my cousin married, Uncle Al gained a son and worked hard to help them with their new home.

In 1990 I was a candidate for a judicial vacancy. Uncle Al was one of my first contributors. He was also one of my late mother's best friends when she was critically injured by a drunken driver. For all that he did for everybody he never asked for anything in return. Never.

It is written in Luke 14:11: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Our community was built on solid people like Uncle Al who without fanfare made and kept their commitments.

A humble, decent man, Uncle Al lived that out every day. He will be missed.

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