You knew who he was the moment you shook his hand

Rides. Many different variations of the word are understood when it is heard. A ride could be taken in a car, to get to where you need to go. A ride can be at an amusement park to bring cheer to whoever decides to get on it. Or a ride can be as simple as a young child getting on his father’s shoulders to take him around the house. This word can go much deeper; however, because everyone’s life is just one… long…ride.

When I think about Pop I always flash back to one of his most beloved hobbies, gardening. As a young child, I always remember going over to the house and seeing him working in his garden in his dress pants and collared shirt. Pop always dressed to impress. Never a wrinkle in his shirt or a petal out of place when he was gardening. He hated rainy days; he wanted to be outside tending to his flowers and plants as much as possible. He raised his garden much like he raised his family, with love and with care.

My grandfather not only served his family, but his country. A corporal in the U.S. Army in WWII, my grandfather earned a bronze star in the line of duty. The bronze star is the forth highest award of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is given to an individual who shows acts of bravery. Although we are unsure of what he did to earn it, it is assumed that what he did was courageous and honorable. This is just another reflection of who he was. Headstrong and brave are just two of many adjectives that could describe the man my grandfather was.

Knowledge and wisdom was not something my grandfather selfishly kept to himself. As a journalist, for the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Gloucester County Times, and The Catholic Star Herald, he shared his knowledge and opinions to people all over the Philadelphia area.

Pop was a religious man to say the least. An usher at St. Mathew’s Church for 58 years, and a regular at Sunday Mass. He was a good role model for all of his children and grandchildren, teaching us what faith is all about. This reflected in his personality as well, a good man has a good faith, and believe me, my grandfather was a good man.

Everyone who has ever been close to him has learned valuable life lessons. Whether it was from the words that he spoke or just his take on life, Pop gave off wisdom like the sun gives off heat. I know I learned so much from him just by sitting in the same room. Everyone has defining moments in their life when they feel like giving up. Listening and watching how my grandfather lived his life gave me personal hope that I could get though anything in life. He was headstrong, and a fighter, and if I gained even a fraction of what he possessed in those traits, then I am satisfied.

His pipe, his whiskey, and his crosswords will all are things that I will never be able to look at again without recalling my grandfather, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

His legacy lives on in each and every one of his friends and his family, and I know we will all make him proud with the future decisions we make in our lives. We all wish you could have stayed around longer and, Pop, if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

My grandfather was a great man, and knew how to value life. We all learned so much from him. He was like another father to us grandchildren. He was an influence to everyone that met him. You knew who he was the moment you shook his hand.

Life is a consent roller coaster filled with ups, down, loops, starts, and stops. My grandfather had ridden this coaster many times, and conquered every twist and turn that stood in his way. His ride through life was an adventures one, and after all the thrills, all the sadness, all the ups, and all the downs, my grandfather left this world saying, “It was a good ride.”

J.T. Flood of West Deptford is the grandson of Frank Spellman, who retired from the Catholic Star Herald in 1990, where he worked as a staff writer for 10 years. Mr. Spellman died Dec. 13, 2009.

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