A Tribute to my Father in Law – Dick Smeeding
Dick Smeeding was born Valentine’s Day in 1921. You have all heard stories of the depression, but he lived it. He and his older brother left school when he was in the 8th grade to try and help support the family. Some of his stories include using bubble gum to fish coins out of the drains in New York City, where he was born.
WWII broke out and he enlisted in the Marines. He became a guard on the aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid, THE BIG I. The Navy uses Marines for guard duty on their ships. While on the BIG I, he survived two Kamikaze attacks and one torpedo. Another of his stories was that believe it or not the Kamikaze pilots fly with parachutes. One of the attacks happened to hit very close to where he was and killed several of his friends. As Marines and guarding the crash site, they found the Kamikaze pilot’s body and his severed leg. They were so mad, they kicked him overboard into the Pacific. Some Lt. Commander came screaming up to them and threatened them with court martial for failing to treat the enemy’s body with respect. Fortunately, the Captain of the aircraft carrier came to their aid and told the Lt. Commander to leave them alone. He had cabbaged onto the parachute of the pilot, but then one of his buddies approached him with a request that he give him the parachute so his fiancé could make her wedding dress out of the silk from the parachute. He gave it away. He never owned a Japanese made car.
After the war he returned to NY and married the sweetheart he had met in the war. He became a Union carpenter to support his wife and by now 2 kids. He built by hand and his own knowledge every house my wife ever lived in and his retirement home in Pinehurst, NC. He loved to golf. He loved to play poker. He loved his Catholic Church.
Dick Smeeding died on Friday the 13th in July, 2007, which was my wife’s birthday.
Thank you for reading this, a loving son in law.