Memories of Dad on Father’s Day

(Click on photos to read and expand)


He was born in Morgan Park Illinois April 28 of 1910

Athletic,scholarly, and musical who became a man of men

Loving animals and horses, especially his own called "Pep"

He was handsome and polished and seldom out of step

Possessed of musical talent he played the piano and the trumpet

Strumming the ukelele he sang about a honky tonk strumpet

An outstanding Morgan Park Military Academy Grad

His achievements, skills, and talents made his family most glad

Appointed to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis

(Dad as a midshipman at Annapolis)

Brought his father, Poppy, and mother, Gammie, exceptional bliss

   Basketball,soccer,baseball,football, lacrosse,sailing, and even polo

At formal recitals he played many a magnificent trumpet solo

While a midshipman he fell for a beautiful debutant: Hilda Crim

                    Her grace and beauty, love of tennis and racoons, made his head swim

        Soon they were married after he graduated in nineteen thirty two

                   During the Great Depression, an insurance career he wisely did pursue

He raised a family with a lovely girl and two athletic boys

      And gave unselfishly to provide for them a multitude of joys

                  Music,stories, travel, camping, sports, fishing to name only a few

                     He filled their lives with these and always found more for them to do

Uncle Sam came a-calling him to return to face the brutal enemy

               In ruthless World War II with fascist dictators and gross barbarity

A gunnery officer on the George F. Elliott, a transport ship

At Guadalcanal what seemed in the smoke-filled sky only a blip

Grew into a descending Japanese warplane known as a Kamikaze

That his blazing guns tore into but instead of falling into the sea

Struck the Elliot broadside in a deadly gasoline fed fireball

              Down to a sea grave slowly went the transport as nothing could stop its fall

  A  friendly destroyer rescued the crew that fearful and fateful day

                  Because of brave me like "Bull" Halsey and a man known as "R.J."

                           Yamamoto and his fleet were left limping and slinked back to Tokyo

                       Our proud protectors of liberty forced the foolish fascists where to go

                        On to Korea when duty called  him again in nineteen fifty three

                 Commanding officer of an amphibious ship called an "LSD"

                             The USS Whetstone with Lavery at the helm was a beauty at sea

                                                  ( USS Whetstone(LSD-27))

                                            It was Dad's first command and he did her splendidly

                                    Even rescued capsized Japanese fishermen he noticed  adrift

                                        Opened the dry-dock saving men and boat in a manner swift

                          Earned honors from Japan and our Navy for this humanitarian deed

                     He was never one to by-pass helpless persons at sea in need

                             Rescued hundreds of fleeing Vietnamese from Saigon

                           By navigating the Whetstone in shallow river Mekong

                        His crew enjoyed the way he played his ukelele and sang a song

                        He was a model naval captain who knew and taught right from wrong

                             Gained respect and honor for his naval skill and industrious toil

                               Commanded the USS Chemung carrying to the fleet  precious oil

USS Chemung (AO 30) head on

(Dad when a Navy Captain and The USS Chemung he captained)

                 Retired from Naval Service after a dedicated thirty years

                  And became one of those McDonnell Douglas Quality Control Engineers

               He always provided for his family as he was a frugal man

                         Invested for his and their future and prepared a well-organized plan

                           He cared for his loving mother when she became ill and very old

                              Took her to her many doctors because his heart was made of gold

                         When his sister Jane's diabetes became the brutal brittle type

                  He gave up his Long Beach ocean view and moved close without a gripe

                   As he grew older he fractured his left hip and was forced to use a cane

                     Then a wheelchair, had another fracture that caused excruciating pain

                      He found peace when he played his ukelele and launched into singing

                      To our family and his dog Pablo when on life he was barely clinging

                          Dad, we will always remember you for the memories you left us all

                           And hold high the course you navigated while you always stood tall

                           Duty, honor, country, family and pets, to these you were always true

                          We are proud this Father's Day to always respect and honor you.

(Dad, Uncle Paul, Aunt Jane top

Mom and Val

Val and Aunt Jane)

(Chip an Annapolis midshipman-plebe 1956)

(Dan a midshipman at Annapolis near a wall some people scaled on a boring weekend night)

(Valerie Lee, Dan, Paige and Tico, Dad, and Nicky at Yokosuka 1956)

Richard John Lavery Jr.,  AprDad's Memorial 4 28 09il 28, 1910- March 8, 1998

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About Daniel C. Lavery

Dan’s writing shows his transformation from a child to an athlete and a Duke pre-ministerial student where he began to question ancient and arbitrary dogma. He graduated from Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and a ship to Vietnam, fell in love, turned peace activist and a civil rights lawyer for Cesar Chavez's UFW. His memoir, "All the Difference," describes the experiences, some humorous and others deadly, that changed his consciousness from a pawn to an advocate crusading for justice against some of the most powerful forces in America.

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