20 April 2013 — Dearborn, Michigan
Thomas Harper was my father. His middle name was Elwyn. He was only 44 years old when he died quite suddenly. He married the girl of his dreams, Evelyn Brown, on September 4, 1948. After his first date with her he told his friend that she was the one he would marry. Together they were raising five children, 3 girls and 2 boys. His youngest daughter was only 18 months old when he died, the oldest (me) was 20.
Tom had dropped out of high school just before graduation to join the Navy. He said he was afraid the war would be over without him. I wish I'd had him in my life longer to ask him about his service as one adult to another but that wasn't to be. I do know that he was wounded. And I know his ship, the USS Stokes, was a supply and transport ship to Iwo Jima and the legendary battle that ensued there. It may have been where he was wounded.
He also saw action in the Philipines and I think he did go to Japan. I know he had wanted to take my mom to a Pacific island to show her all the orchids that he thought were so beautiful.
My dad was a great dad - strict and loving. I couldn't have asked for a better man to be my father and even though more than 40 years have gone by since he left us so suddenly I still miss him every day. Love you, daddy.