Follow up on my grandfathers story

The above picture here is from his burial services at Arlington national Cemetery.

Ok so after my grandfather was liberated, he made it back to Hethel, AB England. His base was nearly deserted. They were getting ready to deploy to Japan but then Hiroshima was bombed. After the war he served with the NY Air National Guard. It was either at HPN or SWF airport. (White Plains or Stewart ANGB). His mother at that time urged him to go to the police force. he told me he hated the job but did it for the money. He had to give up the Air National Guard to do so. So for about thirty years almost, he served on the Mt. Vernon Police force in NY. Eventually my mother came to be in New Rochelle, NY. I’m not going to tell you her age on here sorry. Before leaving New York, at one point my grandfather did airport security at HPN. Im not sure what era that was in.

At one point my grandfather and grandmother were divorced and then my grandfather took my Aunt, Uncle and mother to West Haven, CT. In the time my grandfather was in West Haven, he did security work at Yale New Haven Hospital. As late as the 80s and early 90’s, he was a chauffeur to a guy who lived in New Canaan, CT. That experience proved to be valuable as he knew without a map or GPS how to navigate the bridges and highways in the Tri State area.

Eventually he did retire for good and moved into Bella Vista apprtments in New Haven. In the later years of his life he didnt like it and in 2007 he moved into my house with my mother and sisters. I then became his chauffeur and drove him to places as far away as Frederick, MD to go see his sister there. The two of us did many airport trips to JFK or EWR to go pick up his friend from Paris. (BTW I think the craziest airport to drive to is EWR because from CT you have to deal with the GW bridge and a crazy loop at EWR.)

In July 2009 his doctors at the VA medical center in West Haven, CT diagnosed him with CTCL and originally gave him 6 moths to live and then rescinded that. I gotta be honest: everyone here had an oh shit moment. Since march of 2009 we had to deal with him being admitted to the ER at the VA twice and Yale once. Since his last ER visit in August 2009, he started slowing down. For many years he kept saying every Christmas would be his last. In late October 2009 he went through a stretch where he didnt eat much.

On the early morning of 04NOV2009 my Uncle found my grandfather face down halfway into his bathroom. The paramedics came and my sister also administered CPR but it was too late. he finally died from cardiac arrest. Of course everyone here was saddened and I still get teary writing this part. Eventually we were able to bury him at Arlington National Cemetery the Monday before Thanksgiving 2009. I have two videos on my facebook page of his service, but I want to shoot myself for whoever deleted them on the computer, or id post them to here.

My grandfather was a few days shy of being 90.

Walter Jerome OConnor 13NOV1919-04NOV2009

This picture here was taken at my grandfather request back in July 2009. This was his room and I volunteered to move down there for peace and solitude.


About planeliker

I'm 23. Im big and vocal when it comes to airplanes and the military. (I know my stuff and probably could be considered an expert), Im a Civil Air Patrol 2nd Lt. Technically I'm a veteran by federal standards but there's no point in pursuing federal benefits. (served in the Air National Guard) Trying to change that though by getting back in the military.
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