United States Marine Corp. / World War II
Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, my father enlisted in the Marines. He said he wanted to be a Marine because they were â€œThe Best!â€ He was assigned to the South Pacific and was a navigator. Unfortunately, my father was very reluctant to share stories or experiences of his years in the service. Later, we learned that this is not uncommon for many miliary personnel. Our family is so proud of him and his dedication and love for our country. He died this past year at the remarkable age of 90. We will always be grateful to the Honor Guard that came to the funeral and the cemetary. This was truly a fitting tribute to one who belonged to â€œThe Greatest Generation!â€
Below are some thoughts and tributes that were shared at his funeral â€“ September 2011.
Tribute to Howard J. Grenell
When we hear the word â€œOne of the Good Guysâ€â€¦most of us would immediately think of the movies and characters portrayed by actors like: John Wayne, Jimmy Stewartâ€¦ Harrison Ford.
But when I hear the words: One of the Good Guysâ€¦.I immediately think of one person. MY Father. In all honesy, my dad was truly â€œOne of the Good Guys.â€
In factâ€¦my brother would often have conversations with my father stating : Dad, if you do not go to heavenâ€¦there is no hope for the rest of us!
Not only was my father one of the good Guysâ€¦he was a man who never , ever complained. Even though he had his share of aches and pains these last few years. He always saw the glass half full and was for ever the optimist. Even during our recent conversation regarding the upcoming football season and the Cleveland Browns. My father would simply sayâ€¦, â€œ Sally, there is always a chance for a miracle.â€ My father always a kind word for everyone, enjoyed the simple things in life: flowers in his garden, a beautiful sunset, music, concerts, movies, reading, and a great homemade pie!
Our dad chose to serve and help others when he became a social worker. I remember my mother telling me that when they were first marriedâ€¦my father told her that he would never make a lot of moneyâ€¦but he would never ever lack for a job. And he was rightâ€¦. He flunked retirement 3 times! When the call went out for helpâ€¦my father answered it. Thatâ€™s what good guys do.
There were 2 things very important to my fatherâ€¦.His faith and family. My father was a very religious and devoted man. Every morning, he would begin the day with his devotions and prayers and saying the rosery. Three years ago, when he realized that he could no longer driveâ€¦his only concern was how would he get to church. After a few phone calls, Pete McCormick and his wife, Mary , were an answer to those prayers. They faithfull drove my father to mass several times a week to make sure that his wish would be fulfilled.
And of course, My father was truly a devoted family man. He enjoyed all family gatherings and celebrations. He always wanted to be thereâ€¦even if it meant he just sat in the background and listened to the rest of us ramble on. In July, we celebrated his 90th birthday. The whole family gathered together for the weekend. We all knew that this was one of his goalsâ€¦to make it to his 90th birthday . He outlived all his relatives. His only comment was: I just donâ€™t understand what all the fuss is about? He was humble and modestâ€¦. Just like your typical good guy.
He taught us lessons from the heart. For example, when I was 16 I failed my drivers testâ€¦ I was very upset. He looked at me and said, I am glad you did not pass. â€œSally, in life you have to learn to accept disappointment. And if you canâ€¦you will beable to survive and handle anything that comes your way.â€ How true. I have never forgotten those words. â€¦â€¦ That was so typical of my father. He taught us many lessons : Patience, kindness, acceptance, perseverance, gratitude, and always, always maintain your sense of humor. And even during his last few days on earthâ€¦.he taught us one final lesson.. When it is all said and done, and your time has come, you joyfully and willingly ride off into the sun setâ€¦because thatâ€™s what Good Guys do.