Earlier this week, we received the sad news that Mrs. Crab's grandfather, "Poppy", had passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was 93. He was a World War II veteran.
Poppy was one of the classiest guys I knew, from a time when all men were still gentlemen. His life was not an easy one. Born in Philadelphia and orphaned as a child, he grew up in one foster home after another, leaving school early to work such odd jobs as a bicycle messenger for Western Union. At 17 he finally settled down in Baltimore, where he got a job at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrow Point plant. It was there that he found his first true calling: union organizer. Poppy was the "inside man" and helped organize workers, and later, helped end segregation of African-American workers within the factory and union. His work as a labor activist is profiled in Deborah Rudacille's book, "Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town."
In 1943 he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Navy (after being rejected earlier in the war due to flat feet). He served aboard the USS Cronin in the Pacific theater. Thankfully, he managed to avoid nearly all wartime action, but he still had some whoppers of stories that left us in stitches. He was a great storyteller and voracious reader and listener. But most of all, he was a devoted father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband to the love of his life, "Mom-Mom". In his neighborhood of Dundalk, Maryland, he was known as the guy everyone turned to when they needed a helping hand or just a sympathetic ear.
Poppy was buried yesterday with full military honors yesterday. We are thankful that Poppy was part of our lives. On a selfish note after missing several funerals whilst stationed abroad, we are also thankful that we were home in the States during this difficult time. We take comfort in knowing that Poppy is now together with Mom-Mom and their son "Cal" (Mrs. Crab's late father). Goodbye Pops. You will be deeply missed by all whose lives you touched.