Each month, Sharp Funeral Homes honors the life and memory of a veteran by raising the flag at one of our chapels in their memory. Each of our four chapels will display a framed biography of the veteran for the entire month, and the family of the veteran will receive a certificate of participation.
Frank Joseph Rehanek
August 1, 1927 ~ January 16, 2018
Frank Joseph Rehanek was born in Lennon, Michigan on August 1, 1927. His parents came from Czechoslovakia and lived in New York City for a short time before coming to Swartz Creek where he was raised. Czech was spoken mostly at home, but he quickly learned English after starting school. He completed all of his schooling at Swartz Creek Schools.
After graduating from high school, he went to work for Chevrolet for two years. He used that money to further his education at Michigan State University. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1952 with majors in both math and science education. Science was his love.
Shortly after graduating from MSU, he received his letter to report to the Army on October 13, 1952. After basic training, he found himself in Korea at the Yangju Valley. He was placed in the artillery, but because of a hearing deficit, he could not hear the codes to call them. By the way, when he had his initial military medical exam he was asked if he had any medical issues that might cause a problem for him. He told them about his hearing loss. The response was “claims hearing loss” on his examination paperwork. So, his next job was radio maintenance. He remained with his same unit. They did utilize his skills as a teacher and set up a school for him to work with soldiers who could not read or write. He enjoyed that job! His service time ended September 29, 1954. He received the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Ribbon, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
After he returned home, he registered his teaching certificate at the Genesee County Office of Education. Daisy Howard was Superintendent of Education and was very happy to see him because there was a teacher shortage. She sent him to Atherton School for an interview and he began teaching the next day. He spent four years at Atherton before moving to Swartz Creek, where he taught at Mary Crapo and later became principal at Syring Elementary.
We were married while Frank was at Syring. So often when we went out to eat or grocery shopping, former students and parents would stop us to talk about their memories of Frank. There was always so much love and praise for him. Frank was 41 and I was 32 when were married so I missed his army life and the early part of his teaching career, but I did learn about them because he shared so much.
We had a wonderful daughter and we enjoyed raising her. When she married we gained a wonderful son-in-law. Now we have two beautiful granddaughters ages 16 and 13. Those girls idolized Frank and Frank idolized them. Both granddaughters have written about Frank on Veteran’s Day. Our older granddaughter had an assignment to write about a family member who had been in the military service. Of course, she chose her Grandpa (Papa). Our younger granddaughter interviewed her Papa to learn what it was like when he was her age. He was a wonderful storyteller and he touched and enriched the lives of his grandchildren.
I think if Frank were here to add one more statement about his army life, he would add that he was happy to have had the experience of serving his country. He wished that all young men would have the chance to serve in the military. He believed you matured out of necessity. He also said you bonded with other soldiers and they became your brothers. You were responsible for them and they for you. You were learning what responsibility was all about. I remember him telling me a story about a time, after being home from the Army, he went to a wedding reception. He ended up leaving early because he could not stop thinking that he should still be in Korea serving next to his fellow soldiers. The feeling of responsibility and brotherhood was part of you as a soldier.”
-Biography written by Patsy Rehanek
Stanley Odell Cason
August 11, 1933 ~ October 27, 2018
Stanley Odell Cason was born on August 11, 1933 in Batesville, Arkansas. His parents were Nolen and Alene Cason. Stan had three brothers, Neil (deceased), William, and Doyne (served in the Navy). Stan married Jean A. Pierce on July 1, 1966. Her children, Darcey and Gary became his and Stan and Jean raised them together. Stan died October 27, 2018 of dementia. Besides the above, he left his grandchildren, Nicole, Branden, Andrew, Derek, Thomas, John and Opal; also five great grandchildren.
Stan served in the Army from September 6, 1950 until September 5, 1953. His rank on leaving the Army was Corporal. While in the Army, Stan loaded and fired 105p millimeter howitzers in Korea and was a radio operator. He enjoyed his duty in Chicago as chauffeur for the higher ranking officers. He did not talk much about his actual experiences while in the Army. He did try to find some of his fellow comrades to no avail. He was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation, Korean Service Ribbon, United Nations Service Medal, four Bronze Service Stars to Korean Service Medal. He was Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 45th AA Brigade, Chicago, IL.
Donald Edward Spillane
December 15, 1925 ~ May 4, 2004
Donald E. Spillane was a lifelong resident of Swartz Creek. He was the son of Benjamin and Hattie (Kennedy) Spillane, and his family was among the earliest settlers of Swartz Creek, having come to the area in 1849. He was a 1943 graduate of Mary Crapo High School and was a Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp from 1943-1946.
Don enlisted October 22, 1943 at the age of 17 years and 10 months. His father signed for him to join early and he celebrated his 18th birthday in boot camp at San Diego, California. After boot camp he was transferred to a Marine Aviation Detachment Unit in Jacksonville, Florida. There he was trained to become a flight crew radio operator. He eventually was assigned to the flight crew of a Douglas C47 Skytrain and deployed to the Philippines in the South Pacific. The crew of the C47 transported troops and cargo to various locations around the Islands in the South Pacific.
Upon returning to civilian life, Don entered the Service Station business in 1946. Don owned Spillane’s Standard Service/Apple Creek Amoco for 50 continuous years. It was a family business that served the community for 75 years. Don was always active in the community, he served on the City Charter Committee which was responsible for bringing Swartz Creek to city status. In addition, he served on the Planning Commission for 12 years, Past President Swartz Creek Kiwanis, Founding Member and past President of the Swartz Creek Fine Arts, Member and past Vice President Swartz Creek Historical Society and Member and past President of the Flint Banjo Club.
Don’s wife of 59 years passed away in September 16, 2010. They are survived by three sons, Thomas Spillane and Wife Pamela, Michael Spillane and Wife Lyla, David Spillane and Wife Lisa: seven Grandchildren and four Great-Grandchildren.
One of Don’s favorite quotes was: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
- Biography written by Thomas Spillane
Daniel Robert Horan
April 3, 1925 ~ November 8, 2002
Daniel Robert Horan was born April 3, 1925 in Brooklyn, NY. He was the son of Daniel and Irene Horan. Daniel graduated from Mt. Loretto in Staten Island, NY.
On July 6, 1943, at the age of 18, Daniel enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served in World War II and the Korean War and received the European African Middle Eastern Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, American Theatre Ribbon, and Victory Ribbon. He was on the deck of the USS Missouri when Japan surrendered to end World War II. Daniel served in the U.S. Navy until July 26, 1954.
Daniel’s work in Ft. Lauderdale, FL introduced him to his eventual wife, Margaret Thibault. On May 22, 1954, Daniel and Margaret were married in St. Ignace, MI, Margaret’s hometown. He was the father of six: Daniel Jr., Jeffry, Therese, Brian, Marcie, and Cathie. He was the grandfather of 11: Kali, Kurt, Kory, Stephan, Bruce, Carson, Cramer, Garrett, Michaela, Hunter, and Elli.
Before raising a family of six, Daniel spent his early married years working as an apprentice iron worker on a crew constructing the Mackinaw Bridge. He worked as an ironworker for Ironworkers Local #25 for 32 years. In addition to his work on the Mackinaw Bridge, he worked on the building of the Verrazzano Bridge in Brooklyn, NY and the Poe Lock in Sault Saint Marie, MI.
In 1970, the family moved to Fenton, MI so he could be closer to work in Detroit and have more time to spend with his family. His daughter Marcie recalls, “His family was the motivation for everything he did, and we liked that he was around more because he always had such a great sense of humor. He loved to tell jokes and make the best out of a bad situation.” Daniel was a member of the VFW Post 3243 in Fenton, Fenton Moose Lodge, Fenton Eagles, the Knights of Columbus and American Legion, both of St. Ignace. He was a parishioner of St. John’s Catholic Church in Fenton.
James Floyd Sandlin
June 9, 1944 ~ November 1, 2008
James Floyd Sandlin was born on June 9, 1944 in Russellville, KY. He was the fifth of nine children. When he was 4 years old, his father was killed in an oil well explosion at his job in Tennessee. His youngest brother was born after his father died. Life was harder than usual for their family after that, and unfortunately Jim had to leave school after 7th grade to help support the family. When he was 21, in order to better himself, he joined the Job Corps. He was sent to the Hoxey Job Corps near Cadillac, Michigan, in 1965. After graduating from there, he spent a few months in the Peace Corps in Oregon and then got a job in Cadillac. He met his future wife, Judy, in Cadillac.
The Vietnam War was going on, and Jim knew he would be drafted, so he enlisted in the Army on February 13, 1967. He completed Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Before being sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, he came back to Cadillac and got married on April 29, 1967. From Texas he was sent to Fort Eustis, Virginia. Judy joined him there, and before he was sent to Vietnam on October 25, they were expecting their first child. He was 23 years old, older than most of the guys being sent there who were only 18, 19 or 20. He would not meet his first daughter until she was 6 months old. The Red Cross had to inform him when she was born.
While in Vietnam, Jim worked on Lark 60 amphibious vehicles taking supplies of food and ammunition to various camps along the river. He spent a lot of time in Qui Nhon and Bong Son. He said it was a beautiful country, but you never knew if a Vietnamese person next to you was a friend or an enemy, even the children.
Jim’s unit was only attacked by the enemy a couple times, but it was enough to cause him to have nightmares and PTSD when he returned home. He was also exposed to Agent Orange which caused many health problems later in his life (diabetes, COPD, neuropothy, etc.). And, adding to his trauma, he was with another soldier who was electrocuted while they installed an air conditioner in the mess hall. That soldier lost his life. His wife was also expecting their first child.
Jim returned on October 24, 1968. He never felt that anyone welcomed him home or thanked him for his service until many years later. He spent another year in the Army at Fort Eustis where he and Judy had a son. He was honorably discharged on February 12, 1970. He and his family returned to Cadillac and the job he had left to serve his country. He was honored to serve, but was never convinced that we should have been in Vietnam. He found veteran’s groups to be a part of which gave him other veterans to talk to and some peace about it. He and Judy went to veteran’s reunions in Kokomo, Indiana for a few years, and he also found much joy in playing Santa for many years. He was a Christian who loved the Lord and wanted everyone else to know Him also.
During his time in the Army, Jim earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Sharpshooter Badge (M-14 Rifle), the Expert Badge (M-16 Rifle) and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device. He served for three years. He left his service with a SP-4 rank.
Jim and Judy were married for 41 years. They had another daughter in 1971 and adopted a two year old son in 1979. Unfortunately, Jim passed away at 64 years of age on November 1, 2008 after battling with health problems from Agent Orange. They had two grandsons and five granddaughters when Jim passed away. Three more granddaughters have been born since. He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. We all miss him very much. - Judy, Julie, Jeremy, Jacqueline, John, Ryan, Brendan, Kathleen, Emily, Alyssa, Lily, Maya, Jordyn, Chloe and Hope.
- Biography written by Judy Sandlin
Albert David Yelle
April 27, 1940 ~ March 24, 2020
Albert David Yelle was born April 27, 1940 in Bay City, MI, the son of Peter Paul and Grace (Naffie) Yelle. He was a 1958 graduate of Grand Blanc High School, where he played football, and attended Detroit Business College.
Albert married Judith Mattord on February 18, 1995 in Las Vegas, NV. He had six children: David, Jeffrey, Kelly, Nicole, Joseph, and Duane; and fourteen grandchildren: Caleb, Kate, Lily, Eddie, Thomas, Ryan, Izzy, Kevin, Sammy, Ben, Patrick, Paige, Declan, and Charleston.
Albert was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving from 1960-1968. He was marksman, sharpshooter, and pistol and rifle expert. During his service, he was stationed at Quantico Marine Base and Okinawa. While in the Marines, he also played football and was a golden gloves trained boxer with a 10-0 record.
He resided in Fenton, MI for the past 27 years, coming from Swartz Creek. He retired from the U.A.W. as a Legal Services Representative. He enjoyed golfing, cribbage, poker “especially Texas Hold ‘Em”, and traveling. His grandchildren were the love of his life and were all he talked about. He enjoyed babysitting them and never missed a sporting event in track, basketball, football, hockey, and tee-ball.
James Frederick Fishwick
February 2, 1939 ~ March 16, 2019
James Frederick Fishwick of Fenton, MI was born on February 2, 1939 in River Rouge, MI. He was the son of George and Ethel (Guenther) Fishwick. He had two brothers: Doug and David Fishwick. He was a 1958 graduate of Flint Central High School. He married Mary Carol Bradley on May 6, 1961 in Flint.
James served in the U.S. Army from 1962-1964. He served with the 538th Engineering Unit at Fort Knox, KY. He received an expert medal as a rifleman. Additionally, his rank was Spec-4 when discharged. He was proud to serve and talked about his two years in the Army more than anything.
James had three children: Mark Fishwick, Teri Fishwick Kinney, and Dale Fishwick. He had eight grandchildren: Blake Fishwick, Christian Fishwick, Chad Kinney, Drew Kinney, Darien Fishwick, Bryan Terry, Alisa Dewald, and Edward Dewald.
James retired in 1995 from GM Fisher Body Ternsted as an engineer. He had a passion and talent for woodworking. He was a member of Fenton United Methodist Church, a scout leader, a hockey and baseball coach, and helped in the big brothers program.
David Norman Joseph
February 28, 1940 ~ April 17, 2020
David Norman Joseph of Swartz Creek was born on February 28, 1940 in Flint, MI. He was the son of Paul Sr. and Louise (Moses) Joseph. He had three brothers; Paul Jr., Edward, and Richard; and one sister, Sonia Zaroo. He was a 1958 graduate of Flint Central High School and attended Mott Community College for welding.
On October 28, 1961, he married Kay Shepard. David and Kay dated for 3 ½ years, were married for 58 ½ years, and were together for 62 years altogether. They adopted one son, Trevor Jason Joseph. Trevor and his wife Jennifer have two sons, Bryce and Jax.
David served in the U.S. Navy for 6 years from August 15, 1961 to August 14, 1967. He was sent to the Aviation Electrician School from November 20, 1961 to May 4, 1962. He was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, FL for 4 years as an Aviation Electrician Third Class at Patron #5 (Mad Foxes). During this time, he also worked on P2V Airplanes (Sub Hunters). In 1963, he took Aviation Electrician Classes in Norfolk, VA. He was deployed to Sicily for 5 months from May 1963 to November 1963. He was also sent to Cuba for 6 weeks during the Cuban Missile Crisis and was in the service during Vietnam. For his last two years, he served in the Navy Reserve in Michigan.
He worked at Buick Motors for 33 years as a welder, retiring in 2000. He worked as a volunteer for the Flint Township Fire Department (Station #3) for 9 ½ years and became an EMT on the Flint Township Fire Department Ambulance Service while it was in force.
Robert B. Linn, Jr.
May 19, 1926 ~ June 26, 2020
Robert B. Linn, Jr. was born on May 19, 1926 in Weiner, Poinsett County, Arkansas and died on Friday, June 26, 2020 at his home in Burton, Genesee County, Michigan. On July 1, 2020, he was laid to rest next to his much-loved wife Junia in Walker Cemetery in Weiner, Arkansas.
Bob (or Junior as he was called by his southern relatives) was the youngest son of Robert Benjamin Linn (1882-1949) and Jessie Lee James (1894-1974). He was born and raised in rural Arkansas where he lived until he was 17 years old. To his southern kin he was "Junior"; to his wife's northern family he was "Bob".
Bob had four older brothers: William Robert (1913-2001), Leroyce “Bud” (1915-1997), James Ray “Jack” (1919-1995) and Charles Rudolph “Chuck” (1921-2005).
Bob’s papa was a farmer but prior to that he had been a timberman. According to Bob, his papa was the best timberman around and he could fell a tree quicker than any other man. But at Jessie’s request, Robert left timbering and went into farming raising various crops as well as hogs. In about the 1980’s, land that has been in the Linn family for the past 125 years was turned into a family farm raising rice and soybeans.
Bob told stories about walking to school barefoot because he didn't have any shoes, but he said he wasn't embarrassed because no one else had shoes either. He said he was about 15 years old the first time he saw a motorized vehicle and it wasn't until he was 16 that he actually rode in a motorized vehicle. When the family house burnt to the ground just as they were preparing to move into it, and not having any other place to live, they cleaned out the barn and that’s where they lived for that winter. They farmed the land they lived on, hunted and raised hogs in order to provide for the family. The Linn family was very poor but they made do and never once asked for or expected hand-out's.
When he was 17 years old, Bob enlisted in World War II as a Cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Chicago, Illinois on November 3, 1943; because he was underage, he wasn't allowed to enlist as a regular soldier. At that time, he was living in Kingsford Heights in LaPorte County, Indiana with his parents and near his married brother Jack. When he was 18, Bob was allowed to enlist in the 3rd Air Force 88th Bomber Group and on June 12, 1944, while still living in Kingsford Heights, Bob reported for duty in LaPorte County. He was sent to various bases for training including Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Marion County, Indiana, Avon Air Field in Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties, Florida (Jan 1945) and Drew Field in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. While stationed at Avon Air Field from January 1945 to September 1945, he was a crewman for B-17 bomber training as a waist gunner on 50 caliber guns. From May to September 1945, he was assigned to help close the Avon Air Field (now Tampa International Airport). With Japan’s official surrender on September 2, 1945, he was transferred to Drew Field in Tampa, Florida in October 1945.
Bob had been scheduled to be sent overseas to Germany but then Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945 so he was sent for training to go and serve in Burma. After his training was completed, Bob had his orders to be shipped out to Burma but all of the soldiers were given six days leave before shipping out. While they were on leave, Japan unofficially surrendered on August 14, 1945 (officially surrendered on September 2, 1945) so he wasn't shipped to Burma to fight after all. His brother Robert had also been scheduled to be shipped to Burma to fight. Both men got lucky as Bob was later told the U.S. military had grossly underestimated the number of Japanese in Burma and any battles fought there would been bloody and costly with many American lives lost had Japan not surrendered when they did.
Bob was discharged from service on June 8, 1946 at Fort Bragg in North Carolina; he was a Staff Sergeant at the time of his discharge. However, after being discharged, he re-enlisted in the National Guards three or four times.
On May 22, 2018, Bob was privileged to go on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. along with his youngest son who accompanied him. The flight honored American veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Bob was so excited to go on the trip and walk around the various war memorials in D.C. as well as a visit to Arlington Cemetery. He remarked often on how well the veterans were treated by the Honor Flight volunteers and staff, and proudly wore the baseball hat and jacket that he had been presented with at a service honoring the vets.
After the war, Bob headed to Michigan where his brothers and parents had moved and where four of the Linn boys had taken work with the automobile factories in the Flint area.
While living in Flint, Bob met his future wife - Junia Ellabelle Beebe who he married on July 7, 1947; they were married by a Justice of the Peace in Flint. Bob didn't have a lot of money so he had to borrow some money to buy a new t-shirt, socks and shoes but what a beautiful couple they made on their wedding day. A week later they moved to Chicago as newlyweds.
While Bob attended school in Chicago to become an electrician, June worked as a telephone operator for Illinois Bell. Once Bob earned his electrician's license, they proceeded to move to places where he could get a job as an electrician including Nebraska, Indiana and possibly Illinois. While moving around for work, they lived in a 15 foot Air Stream camper that they could easily pull with their car but eventually saved enough money to buy an even bigger Air Stream - a whopping 19 feet!
June missed her siblings and wanted to return to Michigan so they moved to Detroit in about 1951 where Bob found work as an electrician. While there, he joined the IBEW Local 948 and maintained his membership in the IBEW until his death. In addition, he joined the Free Masons - Redford Lodge 152. He eventually rose to the rank of a 33rd degree Master Mason and became a Shriner. Being a Mason and a Shriner was always important to Bob and per his request, he was buried with his Mason apron, pins and ring along with his Shriner’s Elf Khurafeh fez.
Bob and June moved back to Flint (June’s home town) in about late 1952 or early 1953. Bob worked for a couple of years as an electrician and after that he got a job working with General Motors (Chevrolet) in Flint. Initially, he worked "in the hole" at the old Chevy plant on old Chevrolet but eventually went to work at the plant on Van Slyke Road in Flint where he worked as a skilled trades electrician. Bob was active in the U.A.W. serving as a Union steward with Local 598 and was a chairman of the skilled trades shop committee with GM. Bob continued working at the Van Slyke plant until he left GM after an accident injured his back. Eventually, he retired from General Motors.
Sometime in about 1954 or '55, Bob and June brought five acres of farm land on a dirt road in Burton, Michigan (that once quiet dirt farm road is now a 5-lane road and busy as all get-out). Initially they lived in a small, run-down house that June and Bob's mama Jessie fixed up. Bob and June then started to build the house they would call home for the remainder of their lives. It was in that house that they raised their six children (three boys and three girls). Their house was known as the “pumpkin house” because every year they would grow hundreds of pumpkins and those not used for canning were washed and carefully put on the front lawn in groups determined by their size. The biggest pumpkins were sold for a quarter, medium for ten cents and the smallest for a nickel.
While working in the shop, Bob also became a licensed real estate salesperson and then became a broker for his brother Chuck's real estate company called Linn Realty (in Flint). In 1969, Bob decided to build an ice-cream shop so he bought a small piece of land up the hill close to the corner of Atherton and Center Roads in Burton. He built the Dairy Bell which opened in early 1970 and which he and June operated for a total of about ten years. Their four youngest children also worked in the Dairy Bell, the youngest starting at age 8 1/2 years old.
Bob eventually retired from General Motors and went on to open three quick Pennzoil oil change businesses with two of his sons. He was so proud of those oil change businesses and spent many hours making sure everything was going just right. After the businesses were sold, it seems Bob had nothing to do so he stayed home with June and they traveled a bit to Arkansas, up north, over to the Grand Canyon and even made a month-long trip in their motor-home to Alaska which they absolutely loved.
Bob and June celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on July 7, 2012 with a celebration attended by many family members and friends. At the time of June’s death five months later on December 28, 2012, they had been married almost 65 ½ years, and through it all they had preserved no matter what obstacles and hardships they had been faced with.
When he left us to go be with his beloved June, Bob left behind six children, eight grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren and two grandpups to cherish his memory. He also left behind one son-in-law, one kinda-sorta son-in-law and two daughters-in-law. One daughter-in-law, Helen ‘Lynne’ (Smale) Linn had preceded him in death in January 2018.
Bob was loved so much - so very, very much - and he will be greatly missed, but we know he's resting for eternity in his beloved Arkansas soil beside the love of his life and they're together again in heaven with all their loved ones that went before them.
Personal Note from a Daughter
On a personal note, I would like to say that my dad was a great man. He wasn't famous; he wasn't rich, but he was a great man. He was honorable, honest, hard-working, trustworthy, moral, and ethical and always provided for his family that he loved so much. He would do anything for his family and was always the person I called when I needed advice about anything (as did my siblings). He was so intelligent - I don't believe there was one thing he couldn't have done and his physical strength always amazed me. Even in his 90’s dad was always a strong and independent man. And what a story-teller! He would talk with anyone about anything and he would share stories about his youth, his WWII service, his time as a union steward and so many more events in his life. Hours would go by and he was still willing to spend time with whoever, talking about whatever subject came up. Time had no meaning then. Dad could talk intelligently about any subject and recalled things from so many years ago that it was astounding. He was well-read, loved to watch the evening news (we learned not to call when the news was on!) and he loved to read his bible every evening just as my mom had done. I am so proud of both mom and dad and know how lucky I was to have been blessed to have them as my parents.
One last thing I would like to add. At my mom’s funeral, dad pointed to the tie he was wearing and he told us it was the tie that he had worn when he and mom were married. He then went on to tell us that he had worn that same tie to each of his children and grandchildren’s weddings. Not one of us had ever caught that but upon looking back at pictures, sure enough – dad was wearing that tie. Per his request, he was buried in a beautiful grey suit and his treasured wedding tie.
Dad, we miss you and love you. Rest in peace, dad (aka Robert, Bob, Junior, Grandpa Bob and Staff Sergeant Robert B. Linn, Jr.)
Written by Bob’s daughter Toni R. Linn on behalf of her family in honor of their dad, grandpa, great grandpa, and great-great grandpa Bob
February 4, 1923 ~ November 28, 2001
Norman Parhat of Grand Blanc was born on February 4, 1923 in Philadelphia, PA. He was the son of Jacob and Nancy (Hanna) Parhat. He has a brother, Martin Parhat, and a sister, Marie (Parhat) Williams. Norm grew up primarily in Flint. He was a member of the swim team at Flint Central High School and graduated in 1940.
When Norman was 19 years old, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, now the Army Air Forces. He served three years during WWII. In 1946, Private First Class Norman Parhat, was a member of the 133rd Squadron when he received his honorable discharge as an Aerial Gunner. Norm loved flying which was very visible in the many photos taken from inside and outside the aircraft while in the Army Air Corps. He trained and served in Clinton, SC; Las Vegas, NV; Union City, TN; and at Lowry Field in Colorado. During his service he earned an American Theatre Ribbon, a Victory Medal WWII, and a Good Conduct Medal. After leaving the service, Norm's love of planes and flying led him to obtain his private pilot's license.
After serving in the Army Air Corps, Norman met Patricia Flanigan. They fell in love, eloped, and were married on February 5, 1949, in Angola, IN. Norm and Pat honeymooned in Chicago where they saw Lionel Hampton play their favorite style of music—Big Band. They had two children, Scott and Nancy.
Norm and his mother owned and operated Nancy's Spudnut Shop in Flint for many years. After the restaurant was sold, he worked at AC Spark Plug. In 1980, he retired as a Manufacturing Supervisor after 30 years of service.
Norm was an avid golfer most of his adult life. Highlights of his golfing were when he won the country club’s championship and getting his first hole-in-one.
Alton Adley Jackson
January 29, 1949 – November 8, 2020
B Troop 1st Squadron 1st Calvary (part of the 1st regiment of Dragoons)
Rank: Sargent | Vietnam War
Years of Service: March 1969 – October 1970
Awards and Medals:
•3 purple hearts
•Army Commendation Medal
•Nation Defense Service Medal
•Vietnam Service Medal
Alton Jackson came from a small mountain town in Buchanan County, VA. He ventured to Flint, Michigan where he met his bride, Kathleen Jackson. They soon were married, and he was drafted into the army. While he was fighting in the Vietnam War, he missed the birth of his first of 3 children. He loved his family and made God first in his life. Most will remember Alton for his baked goods, kind heart, and generosity. However, those closest to him will remember him for his continuous love and selflessness. Stories of Vietnam were close to his heart and his prayers for his war comrades were frequent. Alton supported organizations backing those that have risked their lives for our country as he knew firsthand how painful and how much they sacrificed.
Once he returned home from the Vietnam War, Alton put his faith and work in God. He had 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and multiple “grand dogs” who he often talked about with pride. Alton cared for his wife while she was sick until her passing in 2011 by standing by her side through every moment. He could be found donating his time volunteering in the nursing home where she resided by helping the residents build bird houses or preaching God’s word. Alton also loved to bake and often showered those caring for his wife, his neighbors, family, or friends with his delicious goodies.
Into his last days, Alton was preaching God’s word. Before this, he was a staple at Free Unity General Baptist Church in Fenton, MI assisting Pastor Willis Hurley with preaching duties as assistant pastor. Alton loved animals and often wished he had the opportunity to live on a farm. He loved to keep dog treats in his pockets to give to any dog he met. His love of God, all people, and animals is a constant memory of those that knew him. Alton is deeply missed but his memory and acts of service will live forever.