|Birth: ||Dec. 15, 1923|
|Death: ||Mar. 26, 2001|
Our Dad, Joseph William Schuman "Joe", was born in Danville, Illinois on December 15, 1923. He was the only child of Joseph Albert and Anna (Abel) Schuman. Dad was baptized at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Danville on January 13, 1924. He and his parents went to Mass every Sunday. Dad attended Collett Grade School and later graduated from Danville High School in May of 1942.
Dad had a happy childhood and often told many comical stories, in all of which he came out on the short end. Those stories grew arms and legs as the years went on – but they were so funny! Dad was a real comic. He would've made a fabulous stand up comedian. While his early childhood was spent during the Great Depression - Dad was well fed, well clothed and very well loved. He was the 'early to bed - early to rise' type all his life, just like his parents. I'm sure that's where I get it from, too!
Dad had many friends and liked school – even all of his school teachers. He always had nice things to say about them. He seemed to be a carefree, happy boy – as often told to me by his cousin John Alfred Rains – two years older - with whom he shared a brotherly friendship with. John was also an "only child". Dad and John went to a movie matinee nearly every Saturday morning, played ball, went fishing, built model ships, and helped their Mom's with daily chores. Our Grandfather taught Dad all about the sheet metal trade and how to apply roofing. Dad was a natural, as he was not afraid of heights.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Dad was one week from his 18th birthday - a senior in high school. His parents made him promise not to join the service until he graduated the following spring. Dad and his cousin John joined the Navy on the same day. John left first and Dad left after graduation. He attended Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Chicago and told funny stories that the Navy thought so highly of him - "They put him up in the Drake Hotel after Boot Camp!" Actually, the Drake opened their hotel up to the Armed Forces as a stopover before shipping out. No plush draperies, no oriental carpets, no fine china and NO comfortable beds! Only wall to wall cots! Dad always tried to make light of a bad situation. For every funny story he told, I am quite sure there were a dozen not-so-funny stories he kept to himself. One evening in the late 1960's during a terrible thunder storm, I walked out on to the front porch to see Dad standing with his head in his hands, crying. I quietly stood next to him and when he saw me there he said, "Those guys were just kids out of high school." Just like my Dad was, but by then he was in his mid forties.
Dad didn't talk much about his time during the war - he was like so many Veterans of his generation. Dad was proud to serve his country and proud to be a sailor. He served in Africa, Greece, Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, Normandy and England. Dad was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained when the ship he was on was torpedoed in Anzio. I didn't know until long after Dad died, but while he was recuperating in an Army Field Hospital a few miles behind enemy lines in Anzio, the German Forces came through in tanks, killing and further injuring scores of troops.
Joe returned to the US in November 1944 and was in Norfolk, Virginia in December 1944 for reassignment. There is where he met our Mom, who was also in the Navy. After the war ended, Mom and Dad were married in Yorktown, VA on October 18, 1945. Dad remained in the Navy until his enlisted ended in 1946.
In 1946 - Dad and Mom made Danville their home. They moved into a home owned by Dad's parents, Joe and Ann Schuman – which was next door to them on Anderson Street. Their first child, John, was born on July 29, 1946. Daughter JoAnn arrived six years later, September 13, 1952. In early in 1952 Dad and Mom moved into a new home on Plum Street in Danville – a home Dad physically built, with the help of his Dad. Daughter Jennifer arrived on October 2, 1958. Daughter Jeannine on September 17, 1962. In 1965, our family moved to Cleveland Street. That same year, John entered the US Navy. On January 21, 1969, daughter Jodi arrived. Dad and Mom lived on Cleveland Street for the remainder of their lives. I can still see Mom and Dad dancing to "Silver Wings" by Merle Haggard - one of their favorite songs.
Dad spent over thirty years as a respected and highly skilled Sheet Metal Worker and roofer. He had a great work ethic. After Dad retired at the age of 55, he went back to college and earned his Bachelor's Degree. Dad was a friendly man, who spoke to all he met regardless of race, religion or politics. I never heard him speak against anyone. He was a very generous man who would give you the last nickel he had. He was very thoughtful and felt genuine empathy for people and the world around him.
Dad loved baseball and the Chicago Cubs – it was a family tradition! He watched the Cubs on WGN and even stayed up late when they played night games! He always wanted to see the Cubs go to the World Series –(like the rest of us). He was disappointed every year when they didn't –(like the rest of us). But he always tuned in to WGN on opening day to root the Cubs on –(like the rest of us)! I can still see Dad and Grandpa watching baseball on that RCA console TV.
Dad and Mom were wonderful Grandparents to their eighteen Grandchildren and they would visit them all regularly. Dad and Mom came to my home nearly every Sunday afternoon. In the summer, Dad would always bring fresh vegetables from his garden. He had a small, but prosperous garden and he took pride in everything he grew. Dad and Mom raised flowers in the backyard and lovingly cared for all of the flowering bushes we'd give them for Mother's Day and Father's Day each year.
Dad died March 26, 2001. He was buried with his Purple Heart pinned to his chest. Dad struggled for over eight years with Parkinson's disease. Far worse than that, I think he suffered from a broken heart. There are wounds in life that cannot be seen from the outside. It's easy to see that in his later years, especially after our Mom's sudden death, Dad lost a lot of confidence and the ability to defend himself. He didn't enjoy his final years in the way he should have.
Joe was alienated from his daughter, Jennifer, and her Children (his Grandchildren) Erica, Mary, Jake, Ben, Karl, Natalie and William) two months after Joyce died, by his other daughters. This caused a deep psychological wound for those effected especially, William, who was only 5 1/2 years old when his Grandma Joyce died and two months later when his Grandpa Joe was alienated from him. It is important that these facts be included, for future generations.
Dad and I were very close. I was told that his last words were my name. I love and miss Dad and think of him every day. I can't explain it, but to say that there seems to be an invisible string from his heart to mine – the same one that connects me to my Son, William.
Grandpa Joe and William loved each other very much - they were great friends. I feel when William died, Grandpa Joe and Grandma Joyce were right there to take William's hand.
Beloved Grandpa Joe to William Tyler Huber who lovingly called William ~ "Willie".
♥ Thank you for taking the time to read about our Dad. He would be happy you visited. ♥
❀~ We'd like to thank J. Edward Ross for placing our Father's page on the Find A Grave site - and for graciously transferring it to us. Sincerely-Jennifer and Jimmy Fry ~❀
Joseph Albert Schuman (1899 - 1980)
Anna Abel Schuman (1902 - 1997)
Joyce Martin Schuman (1924 - 1996)
Note: Quartermaster 2, US NAVY - World War II
Danville National Cemetery
Plot: Section 18 Site 249
Maintained by: Jennifer and Jimmy Fry
Originally Created by: J. Edward Ross
Record added: Dec 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 62769722