Ole Bach; epitome of the American Dream

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Obituaries

Ole Bach was one of those people that left a mark on everyone he met.  His warm, infectious smile never left his face and he had the wrinkles to prove it.  

When I first met Ole what seems like a hundred years ago, or maybe only yesterday, he had recently arrived in America from Denmark.  You could see in his eyes that he understood what America had to offer a man with his skills and drive, and while at the time he didn’t have two nickels to rub together, Ole went on to make his fortune and mark here.  In fact, if you know horses and racing, you know why his name sounded familiar.  Ole Bach was a pillar in that community.

He would have been and undoubtedly was a pillar in any other business or social community that he chose to be involved with, because he embraced life with zeal and a work ethic that many only think about.  

If you had a problem or just had something good to share, Ole would help you out or wish you well in your good fortune.

I think my favorite memory of him was the time many years ago while I was living in NJ for a very short but special season of life and he asked to see my license because of the photo. At the time, it bore one of those awful DMV photos and made me resemble of all people, Adolf Hitler.  I didn’t really think much of showing it to him at the time until a few months later when he and a whole gaggle of our mutual friends showed up where I was working one evening and kidnapped me to take me out.  You see, I don’t like to share my birthday with folks because I generally don’t do much and they really wanted to know when it was. That’s how they found out…when he asked to see my 'picture’ he was really getting my birthday and that’s the day they 'kidnapped’ me after arranging it with my boss.  I couldn’t even get mad at him; it was a great night and he was a good guy to do it.  

Time moved on, I left NJ, visiting on occasion; I didn’t see much of Ole after that time, however we stayed in loose contact via mutual friends and I watched his career skyrocket.

At the end of the day, Ole Bach was a great guy, a loving husband and father of three, and the epitome of American success stories who will be missed by many.  The complete impact of his sudden and tragic death on Thursday evening may never be realized.  He leaves behind his wife, three wonderful children, countless friends, business associates, and admirers. 

It was a privilege and an honor to know him and be among those friends.

Until we meet again, rest well Ole.

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Charlie Bisol, member of the Greatest Generation

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Obituaries

Charlie Bisol was an American Hero.  A little less than a year ago I accidentally met Charlie while we were both going about our business; I got to know him a little, and while it turned out as fate would have it that our friendship would be brief, my life was made better by it.  I only heard yesterday that Mr. Bisol passed away back in July.

His story would be typical if it were not so unique.  After I met him last year, I wrote an article about him and the book he wrote about his war time experiences titled “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) begins with a Bang.”  The following excerpt from that article says it all:

“Let me take a moment and properly introduce this blessed soul to you.  Charlie Bisol is just that guy next door, he got born at a rough time in our nation’s history; he grew up, and he did what kids have been doing since time began.  He had fights with other kids in his neighborhood in the morning, and laughed about it later that day with the same kids.  Maybe, more than a few times like so many other kids back in the day, he and the gang scraped up a nickel together and bought a pack of cigarettes and maybe snuck away with everyone else on the block.  The point is, he was just a normal kid growing up in the twenties and thirties. Guys like Al Capone and John Dillinger were on the newsreels in the movie houses and the world was a very different place, albeit a very dangerous place.

Then one day back in 1941, at the ripe old age of 16 or 17, Charlie, like millions of other young men everywhere on both sides watched the world they knew change in an instant. Yeah, the winds and rumors of war had been brewing for a while, but on the very fateful morning of December 7, 1941, without any warning, forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked our Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and forever changed the mindset of millions of guys and gals like Charlie Bisol.  We were at war and all bets were off.

As fate would have it, Charlie was sent to the European theatre and found himself up to his neck in some of the most intense battles of the war on that front.  Assigned as a truck driver, he found himself in lots of very dangerous and potentially deadly circumstances.  In any war zone, all vehicles are targets of opportunity, and trucks that can move men and supplies are prize targets.  There are snipers, mines, tanks, and who knows what else?  Every turn of the wheel could be your last moment….the kind of stuff that keeps you awake for days on end, and wakes you up in a cold sweat and shaking when you do drift off.

Such was and has been Charlie Bisol’s existence.  Charlie, and all the other guys and gals that did what they had to do to defend our great nation.”

Charlie Bisol; American Hero, husband, father, one of the last of a dying breed….my friend.  

Until we meet again and catch up, rest well sir.  You will be missed. 

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Melinda Campanale Galiano, 1954 - 2014...Heaven just got a whole lot better

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Obituaries

No one ever said it would be otherwise, but life on this side of Heaven is not fair. The longer I live, the more I realize how truly blessed I am, but I also find myself saying goodbye to more and more friends and loved ones all too frequently.

Over the past year or so, I have been one of many that have helplessly watched my dear friend Melinda Campanale Galiano contract and succumb to the insidious, dreaded disease of cancer.  And it was just a bit more than a year ago that I watched another pass from the same thing.

I only knew Melinda for a brief time really, having only met her around three years ago.  However, Melinda was one of those rare individuals that touched and impacted everyone; she was that missing element to everyone she came into contact with, and from the moment we met, we became part of each other’s inner circle of friends and got to know each other very well.

She was probably the strongest, most fearless, and giving woman I have ever had the privilege to know.  Her undying patriotism and the hours she spent honoring our fallen military as a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, her endless support of Wreathes Across America, and her never ending generosity for those less fortunate are only a scant few of the things she will be remembered for.

We had started attending services together at Christ Fellowship Church on occasion and I remember the Saturday just near the end of last winter when she texted me to see if I was planning on attending the next day.  I did, and we sat together with a few other friends, but she did something I didn’t expect.

We always sat in the front row, but on this occasion we were a couple of rows back, and when Pastor Todd was wrapping up his sermon, he ended with an 'Alter Call’ inviting all in attendance who had never invited Jesus into their lives to pray and come forward.  Before I even realized that she had left her seat, I saw that Melinda was the first one standing in front of Pastor Todd.  I’m pretty sure she was a believer in her heart before that, but as far as I know, that was the day she officially confessed and accepted Him.  I still tear up every time I think of that day and moment.  

From that day forward, with rare exception, we never missed a Sunday morning service together and a coffee afterwards in the Cafe.  It was only about two months ago that she 'sealed the deal’ and was water baptized in a private event.

I know many of the 'Framily’ at Christ Fellowship Church, and I love them all…but it is never going to be the same anymore without Melinda.  I know I’ll see her again on the other side in Eternity, and I’m happy she is now free of the pain of this world, but her going Home will leave an un-fillable void for many in this temporary existence.

I can only join countless others and offer my heartfelt sympathy to Gary and the entire Galiano family, and I pray that they can find peace and solace in the Loving Embrace of Jesus.  

Rest in Peace Sweet Melinda, while Heaven is in for a rare treat, you are and will be missed terribly.  

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A Hero Remembered...

Written by Fox News on . Posted in Obituaries

Publisher’s note:  They are dying off by the gross and we lost another yesterday. Theodore VanKirk, also known as "Dutch," the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay,’ the bomber that dropped the first of two Atomic Bombs on Japan has passed away at 93.

Historians will probably never cease to argue the need or value of the decision to use 'The Bomb,’ however it is certain in this columnist’s mind that it was necessary and that it saved countless lives that would have otherwise been lost in a protracted war in the Pacific.

In any case, The Patriots Press salutes an American Hero, Theodore 'Dutch’ VanKirk.  Thank you for your service sir.  Rest in Eternal Peace.

Fox News:  ATLANTA –  The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, hastening the end of World War II and forcing the world into the atomic age, has died in Georgia.

Theodore VanKirk, also known as "Dutch," died Monday of natural causes at the retirement home where he lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, his son Tom VanKirk said. He was 93.

VanKirk flew nearly 60 bombing missions, but it was a single mission in the Pacific that secured him a place in history. He was 24 years old when he served as navigator on the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb deployed in wartime over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

He was teamed with pilot Paul Tibbets and bombardier Tom Ferebee in Tibbets' fledgling 509th Composite Bomb Group for Special Mission No. 13.

Click for complete story…  

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Just a Cat...

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Obituaries

He was just a cat in a lot of ways.  Slept most of the time, ate when he felt like it, and did what he had to do when he had to do it.  

We met him back in August of 1996 up in the Boston area when he was just about 6 months old. When we walked into the shelter, he looked at us as if to say, "it’s about time you got here, I’ve been waiting a while, now bring me home.”  On that first of what would become many rides in the family cars, we asked him his name…several times.  Since he didn’t respond, we decided that it would be appropriate to make it easy and fun, and just named him after us.  That was it…'David’ was the name, and mischievous kitteh would be the game.  

From that day forward, and for the next nearly 18 years, he frolicked, acted insane, loved on and smote the other cat we got for him as a playmate many times before that poor guy passed away, snuck outside when he could once in a while, and just brought a tremendous amount of joy and fun as a permanent member of our family and household.  He became my faithful companion and travel partner, taught me a bit about myself, and thereby helped me do my part to raise my son into the tough/tender, amazing man he has become, and he was always glad to see me as my personal reception committee whenever I arrived home from the day or frequent business trip.  

He never demanded much really.  Just for me to meet his basic needs; and for that, he loved me unconditionally.  He loved to be patted, loved people, and loved the other pets that he met along the way through his long life.  I will always miss the low rumble of his purring and the neat way he would answer me when I talked to him by simply opening his mouth and not making a sound or just flicking his tail in response. It was as though he just wanted me to know that he heard and understood me.

I found this little poem that I felt appropriate to share at this moment.

Member of the Family...

What would I do without you, my precious furry friend; part mischief, but all blessing and faithful to the end.

You look at me with eyes of love, and you never hold a grudge; you think I’m far too wonderful to criticize or judge.

It seems your greatest joy in life is being close to me; I think God knew how comforting your warm soft fur would be.

I know you think you’re human, but I’m glad it isn’t true; the world would be a nicer place if folks were more like you.

A few short years are all we have, one day we’ll have to part; but you my pet will always have a place within my heart.

Author unknown. 

I don’t know if there is really a place in Heaven like the "Rainbow Bridge” for our furry family members, but I sure hope so, because I am going to miss my beloved pet and friend 'David’ until the day I am called home myself, and I’d sure love to be greeted by my personal reception committee once again.

Goodbye my sweet, precious kitten.  Daddy loves you. 

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