Monday, May 25, 2020

My Uncle Skip

I am sitting here this Memorial Day morning morning looking at the now fading WWII honorable discharge papers of my Uncle Eugene "Skip" De Young. He did not pay the ultimate price, but he did give up almost three years of his young life to service to his country.

The De Young family posing on the stops of their home in Watertown, WI  sometime in the mid 1930's.We have Skip and Harold in front, then Hazel and Frida, then John, Grandpa, and Grandma, then Gladys and Marge, and finally in the back my dad Chester.   

Skip enlisted in the US in the US Navy in November of 1942.
Skip in uniform with his mom and dad.before shipping out.
He was trained as a Storekeeper and shipped out to the South Pacific's Gilbert Islands to work primarily with Seabees who were building and/or re-building air fields on islands that were re-taken from the Japanese. Tarawa was one place he was assigned to and he was there so closely on the heels of the invasion that American planes were still bombing pockets of resistance. He recalled this as the toughest place he had ever been. After the war ended he spent several months in Occupied Japan setting up Storekeeper facilities at an American base in the city of Yokosuka on the island of Honshu.

Skip was mustered out on April 12, 1946 and returned to his old job at Abbott Labs in North Chicago, IL to continue work with data processing and the new computers that were just beginning to be invented. He remained there for the next forty six years. Shortly after returning to civilian life, Skip met the woman who was to become his wife in 1950. Marge De Young nee Huddleston was also an employee at Abbott's. and she worked there until her retirement as well.
Marge and Skip on their wedding day.

Skip and Marge had no children and only one of his seven brothers and sisters had managed to get a college degree. Yet his commitment to the importance of education led him to create two educational foundations in his estate that have since generously supported his niece's and nephew's grandchildren in their educations. In addition he left a lasting legacy to the American Cancer Society to help fight the disease that took his wife's life.
Skip on the day of Marge's funeral in 2002. He lived on another six years. 

As I contemplate this man's contributions to freedom, to education, and to the curing of disease, I somehow I find it more difficult to pay the same homage to the angry so called "freedom fighters" of this generation who feel that their sacred constitutional rights are being denied by being asked to wear a mask for twenty minutes in a Walmart.

Thanks again Skip for your service.

Skip's older brother Harold, Me (Jimmy De Young)at age two or three), and Skip taken around 1941 I believe at our old Milwaukee house on Medford Avenue

Your grateful nephew,
Jim De Young

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