|Birth: ||Dec. 26, 1929|
|Death: ||Nov. 16, 2012|
MEDIC, USAF ♥ VIET NAM VET
Wow, where do I begin? From the beginning, I reckon.
Dad was born on the old Daniell homestead in Jackson Township, Dallas County, Arkansas, the day after Christmas of 1929, the only child of Norman Ellis and Dorothy Daniell Creech. The Great Depression was about two months old then, and during Dad's earlier years his dad was gone a lot, looking for work and eventually working on WPA construction jobs. Until Ellis finally got a permanent job with the railroad, Dad and his mother lived with her mother, Phemie the Primal Force, who was naturally a huge influence on him, it being completely against her nature not to be. All that was strong and good in Dad I expect came ultimately from her.
Another influence on Dad was his uncle Paul, who came back from WWII looking and sounding heroic to Dad, with the result that Dad decided to make a career of the military. In one of his rather rare shows of impatience, he talked his Dad into signing the papers so he could join up when he was only 17. Dad entered the Army Air Corps just in time for it to become a separate branch, the US Air Force. In its infinite wisdom, the Air Force decided Dad should be a Medical Corpsman. Being a Medic wasn't exactly what he'd had in mind, but he quickly found the job interesting and rewarding, and he became a danged good one - and not just in my opinion, either.
Dad got sent to Japan, and then to Texas, where he drove an ambulance. While driving his ambulance he met a civilian nurse one day in 1951, and fell immediately in love with her. She was warm, witty, and beautiful, and the fact she was 14 years older than he didn't faze him a bit. Ora didn't look any 14 years older anyhow. Like him, she loved to dance, they liked the same music, books, movies, agreed on politics and many other things, like whether sugar belongs in cornbread or not (NOT!). She wasn't a cougar though, and Dad had a heck of a time getting her to agree to go out with him - she'd grin mighty big when recollecting how persistant he was. Persist he did, and in 1952, my Dad and my Mom got married. I showed up 10 months later. By that time he had been transferred to Alabama and then New York. Dad was taking courses while in NY - it seems that every time he turned around the Air Force had a new course for him to take. (Dad also took courses on his own, and not only got his GED, but eventually a Masters Degree, majoring in Math.)
Dad was due to reinlist when his mother became so ill it was thought she wouldn't make it, and so Dad left the Air Force for a period of a bit less than a year, going home and trying to help with her - his father's job kept him away from home a lot and Dad wanted to be able to be around when his father was away. So he got a civilian job and he and my Mom helped with my grandmother, who didn't die after all. Dad missed the Air Force and being a Medic, and when his mother was clearly on the mend, decided to go back in. The Air Force said OK, but froze his rank at a grade lower for five years. He was happy to be back anyhow. They shipped him (and Mom and me) off to Washington State, then France, California, and Arizona.
Then Dad got orders for Nam. You might find the next a bit hard to read.
Dad was stationed at the big Evac Hospital at Cam Ranh Bay. He sometimes drove buses with the seats taken out to make room for stretchers, hauling patients to the flight line and the planes that would airlift them back to the world. A few times he was in helicopters sent on missions to pick up wounded. Mostly, he worked at the hospital itself. Dad was there during the big Tet offensive of 1968. Like a lot of Vets, Dad didn't talk much about his war, but he did talk a bit about that. He said the grounds around the hospital got to looking like the Depot Scene in Gone With the Wind. They ran out of medicine, bandages, blankets, and the wounded kept coming. Men lay out in the sun and died before anybody could even get to them. People worked for 36 or more hours straight, going from one wounded man to the next in a round of blood and suffering that lasted for days - I am unsure just how long but it was clearly way too long.
When Dad got to go home, he put on civvies and kept a low profile because of the war protesters at the airports. Once home, for the next year or so, he screamed in his sleep.
Dad was lucky though. Perhaps it was his own inner strength, his stubbornness, or the ghost of Phemie telling him not to give his inner demons the time of day, but the screaming stopped and he was all right again. He was stationed in Utah for a year, then he retired from the service, and we moved home to Arkansas. Dad got a job with the VA. When he retired from that job, he bought a Chrysler Imperial and went to Caesar's Palace in Vegas for a couple of weeks. One more tragedy hit in those years though. Mom was stricken with cancer, and died in '85, and Dad took it so hard, he just went through the motions for a year or so. When I heard he had invited a lady at work out to lunch, it was a relief, it meant we were getting Dad back again. He remarried in '87, to a nice lady who I will not name since she survives him. Once he retired from the VA, he and she were able to indulge their shared passion for travel, gaming, and things like old movies and fine food. Dad stayed active up until the slow decline of his last year.
Dad is survived by his wife of 25 years, his daughter, his son-in-law, a grandson, seven great-grandchildren, and a brand new great-great granddaughter. Besides his first wife Ora, his grandson David Varnell predeceased him.
What else can I say about Dad? He was the world's greatest Hank Snow fan, but loved a great variety of music. He was a WWII buff. His curiosity was boundless. He had a broad sense of humor and never met a stranger. It was nothing for him to drive 30 miles one-way for lunch if the place had good food. Dad loved animals, baseball, old cars, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and the old comedy teams. His capacity for stubborness was amazing and he could get testy on you, but he wasn't much on holding grudges and as he grew older he grew more demonstrative.
I am blessed in my parents. I am so lucky to have been their daughter! I am so proud of my Dad I could just bust! Dad, I love you and I am going to miss you terribly until the time comes we can all be together again in Heaven.
See you later, alligator!
Many warm thanks to the Hospice ladies, the Rev. Robert Patterson and his sweet wife Thelma, and all Dad's friends and neighbors for all their help and support!
Heartfelt thanks to Maja for sponsoring Dad's page, it is so kind of you! And thank you so much to all of you here at Find A Grave for your thoughts, prayers, and visits to Dad's page.
God Bless all of you! May His light shine upon you!
Norman Ellis Creech (1907 - 1972)
Dorothy Dewdrop Daniell Creech (1903 - 1998)
Ora Ila Moody Creech (1915 - 1985)
Note: Buried with military honors.
Pinecrest Memorial Park and Garden Mausoleum
Plot: Veterans Field of Honor
Created by: Dorothy Varnell
Record added: Nov 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100789694