Saturday, August 29, 2020

Personal Note to My Blogging Friends

Herman Sattler (1922-2020)
Messing Around Somewhere in Germany at the End of WWII


This is a personal note to my blogging friends, many of whom have been aware of my father's ill health in recent weeks and how difficult it has been for me to deal with his problems during this awful pandemic.

Dad passed away peacefully this afternoon with the immediate cause of death listed as congestive heart failure. He had been unconscious for the last three days, subconsciously listening (I hope) to the Cajun music he grew up on in southwest Louisiana being played at his bedside. He sincerely believed in an afterlife and looked forward to seeing my mother for the first time in 21 years. Perhaps, he got his wish today.

Dad was born on a small farm in Louisiana in 1922 and lived there until moving to Texas for the first time in 1946. He was drafted into the U.S. Army one week after Pearl Harbor, landed at Normandy, and fought his way through France, Belgium, and most of Germany before the end of World War II. He tried farming again briefly after the war, but eventually decided to join one of his older brothers in Texas to start a new life here. He worked as an air-conditioner installer and repairman for almost exactly thirty years before being forced to retire because of bad knees. He liked to joke that he had been retired longer than he had worked at the job, something that is possible, I suppose, when you reach your 98th birthday.

Herman Sattler was indeed one of the lucky ones, but he was also one of the best men I ever knew in my life, always an example to his two sons and to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I, for one, didn't always live up to his standards, but it was never because I didn't know better.

We will miss him.


(Even now, things are complicated. Dad is to be buried in the little southeast Texas town he lived in with my mother for over 50 years. But...the town lost power during Hurricane Laura earlier this week, and both the funeral home and the church are still without power. So, it's still one day at a time.) 

26 comments:

  1. My deepest condolences for the loss of your father. He was a hero and we all owe our life to him for what he has done for us in WWII. I salute him.

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    1. Thank you, Moshe. WWII was the experience that shaped him into the man he ultimately became. Somehow or another, he managed to take almost 200 pictures during the war, and they still survive.

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear your news, Sam. But what an amazing and full life your father led. And this tribute to him that you've written, well it's wonderful and is making me a bit teary. I'll be thinking about you and hoping arrangements won't be too tricky for you to deal with. You take care.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cath. Arrangements are the final hurdle, but I know that Dad was ready to go. In a way, I'm happy for him.

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  3. Oh Sam, such a loss is never easy even when it's expected. What an amazing life your dad lived. A beautiful tribute.

    My dad was born in 1916 and mom 1917, but they died at 72 and 69.

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    1. Diane, you're right about it not being easy even if expected. Hearing the words that he was gone still came as a shock to me yesterday. It is all so final...that's the hard part.

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  4. I'm so very sorry. It is painful losing a parent no matter how long they lived. I'm sure you feel lucky he lived as long as he did, but in some ways it is almost hurts more because you've known him that much longer. He died on what would have been my mother's 107th birthday. Thinking of you.

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    1. I really got to know him in the last 15 years better than I had at any time of my life, I think. I was his primary caretaker for those years and spent hours and hours in conversation with him. I found out that way that I still had a lot to learn from him. He never stopped being a father above all else.

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  5. Oh, Sam...I'm so sorry. Your father sounds like an amazing person. And I love the thought of him being together with your mom again. What a reunion that must have been! Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

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    1. Thank you, Lark. I appreciate your kind words more than you know.

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  6. I'm so sorry, Sam. It is wonderful, however, that you know what a good man and good father he was. It is always such a terrible loss when a parent dies. I'm so glad you had the opportunity to get to know him better as a man and not just as a father. I will be thinking about you and your loss and sending prayers.

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    1. Thank you, Jen, for the kind words. I appreciate it, and it helps me realize just how lucky we were to have him for so many years. He had a full life and out lived almost all of his family contemporaries, so he was starting to feel a little lost even before he broke his hip in April.

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  7. I'm so very sorry for your loss, Sam. An expected death, even in the best of times, is still difficult. I can only imagine how dealing with everything under current circumstances adds to the pain. Sending prayers...

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    1. Thanks so much, JoAnn. It is finally starting to come together for Friday if nothing goes wrong in the next two days. It's been a challenge.

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  8. Sam, I'm sorry to hear of your loss. You worked so hard to help your father weather the last year and I know it was a great comfort to him. My father was also a veteran of WWII. They served our nation at a time when our national existence was in peril. Everyday we lose more of these brave men and women. We owe them a debt of gratitude for what they did. I pray that your father finds his just reward in heaven. Best wishes, Bill Glass

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    1. Much appreciated, Bill. The fact that I was able to spend so much time, and that he was able to see so many family milestones in the last 20 years, gives me quite a bit of comfort. I know that he was tired and fully prepared to go when he did.

      You are definitely right about that generation. WWII was the experience of their entire lifetimes, and they had a lot to be proud of.

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  9. *HUG* A loss, even though expected, is difficult. Thank you for sharing your father with us. He sounds like a wonderful man. I'd like to think that he got his wish and is with your mother now.

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    1. Thank you for the hug, Cathy. That always helps. He was in good spirits until he lost consciousness three days before his death, even joking with one of the nurses about how she was his best friend. She was so taken with dad that she videoed that conversation with her and sent it to me. It's a nice memory to have.

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  10. I'm so sorry about your dad. It's never easy to lose a loved one, and these times somehow make the loss even more difficult. I'm glad to got to know him better. I'm sure you made his last years memorable, not just for him, but yourself. Best of luck with all those end of life logistics that are so bedeviling.

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    1. Everything is set for this afternoon, Pat, including a livestream of the service. Now I hope it all goes off as planned. Maybe tomorrow it will all start to seem more real to me.

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    2. Thank you, Pat. The day went off without a hitch, with even the rain holding off until everyone cleared the cemetery. He was buried with military honors, and I think I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

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  11. What a lovely tribute to your dad! Sounds like he was a great man. I know you will miss him desperately and I pray that you will find comfort and peace at this time. I like to imagine heavenly reunions with the recently passed and their loved ones. That's what heaven is to me :)

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  12. Thanks for the kind words, Susan.

    If there really are reunions in heaven, I'm sure that his with my mother, after all those years, must have really been something to see.

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