The Greatest Generation…

…lost another member today. Frank Clark, an infantry rifleman who fought in major battles in the European theatre in World War II, passed away last week at 92. Mr. Clark was father to 8 kids, each of whom had a corresponding McCauley kid opposite them. Both Mr. Clark and my father survived WWII to have large, Irish families in the Jersey suburbs.

I just came from the wake and was impressed with how the family was holding together. But reminded that no matter how old, no matter how ready someone might think they are, that losing your dad knocks a gaping hole in your heart that can never be replaced.

Mr. Clark was iron tough, as many of his generation were. Growing up down the street from him, my brother Mike and I lived in fear of him. We spent a lot of time at the Clarks, a substantial part of our childhood with Jimmy and Charlie, respectively. If Mr. Clark yelled at or for you, it was like you imagine the voice of God, and you didn’t hesitate — you moved. But he was also a great teacher, and very patient with all of us. Taught me how to fish in a john boat on Lake Hopatcong with Charlie. He loved his family, and I understand from all the stories I heard tonight that the toughness mellowed over time, mostly, leaving the patience and love to shine through unencumbered.