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Welcome to www.ussfranklin.org.  I invite you to leave USS Franklin comments below. I am also looking for people interested in contributing to this site.  Please contact me at franklin@ussfranklin.org with any information you may have.

Update Feb 2013, I have set up a “Forum” tab as a more appropriate place to leave comments for everybody to see.

The forum is here: http://www.ussfranklin.org/?page_id=393

Thank You.

Obituary, Chris Bargas

Bargas, Chris
Chris Bargas, age 94, of Trumbull, passed away peacefully Sunday, October 19, 2014, at his home with his loving family by his side. He was the beloved husband of 76 years of Rose (Cordone) Bargas. Chris was born in Lowell, MA on December 22, 1919, son of the late Athanasios and Lemonia (Kiourkas) Bargas, and three years later he returned with his mother and brother to their native Greece where he spent his formative years. Chris came back to Bridgeport in 1929, where he left school to work during the great depression. He married Rose and as a young adult worked as a hammer operator for Heppenstall Steel in Bridgeport before he enlisted in the US Navy and served in WWII. Chris served with distinction as a 40mm anti-aircraft gunner on the Aircraft Carrier USS Franklin in the South Pacific. He returned with honor in 1945 with 7 battle stars and a purple heart. Upon his return he opened Midway Luncheonette with his wife in Bridgeport. In 1954 he opened Capitol Realty Co. and worked as a real estate broker. He began a construction and development company that grew beyond Fairfield county to include New Haven county, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida, and real estate holdings in Puerto Rico. He was an original investor in the Claridge Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, and the producer of the 1961 feature film, Antigone. Over the years, Chris developed miles of roads, thousands of homes and condominiums, as well as building three golf courses, including Hillandale Country Club in Trumbull, Oronoque Village in Stratford, and Whitney Farms Golf Course in Monroe. He loved the creative process of developing land from scratch, and working with everyone involved to realize his vision. He was also a devoted family man who loved to spend time with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family and close friends. He is the beloved father of Thomas Bargas and his wife Pamela George and James Bargas and his wife Gertrud Leuwer. He is the cherished grandfather of Lisa Bargas, Jamie Bargas, and Jill Bargas-Gold and her husband Bruce, Chris B. Bargas and his wife Jennifer Condren, Stephanie Bargas, and Elke Bargas, and great-grandfather of Jack and William Fitzmaurice, Eleni Alexandra Gold, Amelia Rose and James William Bargas. He also leaves a sister-in-law, Antoinette Caselli, several nieces and nephews, and his closest of friends, James Cormier. Chris was predeceased by his brother John Bargas. Friends may greet the family at the Riverview Funeral Home, 390 River Road, Shelton, on Wednesday from 4 to 8 PM. On Thursday, friends are invited directly to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 4070 Park Ave, Bridgeport for a Funeral Mass at 10:30 AM. Burial will follow at Nichols Farm Burial Ground in Trumbull. Memorial contributions can be made to Folds of Honor, 5800 N. Patriot Drive, Owasso, OK 74055 or through the funeral director. Offer condolences online at www.riverviewfh.com. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/ctpost/obituary.aspx?n=chris-bargas&pid=172869519&fhid=13053&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.btnvervF.dpuf

Obituary, Robert A. Ladewig

Robert A. Ladewig. Age 90 of Park Ridge. Navy Veteran WWII. Beloved husband of Tina & the late Shirley. Loving father of Steven (Chris) & Richard Ladewig, Joe, Nick (Valerie) & Chuck (Patricia) Vanella. Devoted grandfather of Brittany Megan & Lindsay Ladewig, Caitlin, Kelsey, Emily, Tess, Mia & Charley Vanella. Funeral Monday, October 20, 10 a.m. from Ryan-Parke Funeral Home, 120 S. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge proceeding to Morton Grove Community Church, 8944 Austin Ave., Morton Grove. Service 11 a.m. Interment Private. Visitation at the funeral home, Sunday 3-9 p.m. Funeral Information www.ryan-parke.com – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=robert-ladewig&pid=172863874&fhid=4352#sthash.9phrHenj.dpuf

Obituary, Harry George Smeltzer

Harry Smeltzer 2Harry Smeltzer 1

Harry George Smeltzer died Sept. 20, 2014, at VAMC, Prescott. He was born March 23, 1923, in Manor, Pa., to Harry and Madelyn Smeltzer

Harry served in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the USS Franklin CV-13. The ship was attacked by Japanese kamikazes on March 19, 1945, losing over 900 crew members. Harry was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart. He is the Arizona representative for the WWII Monument in Washington, D.C.

June 26, 1949, Harry married Gertrude Mary Hickey. They spent most of their life in Michigan City, Ind. retiring to Prescott, Ariz., in 2000.

He is survived by his wife; children, Carolyn, Mary (Charlie), Jim; two sisters, Marilyn and Gerry.

The family extends their greatest appreciation and thanks to the VAMC in Prescott for taking care of Harry in his final years.

Visitation is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, followed by a Memorial Mass at the VA Chapel, 500 N. Highway 89, with full military honors at the Prescott National Cemetery at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you simply help a veteran whenever possible.

You are invited to log onto ruffnerwakelin.com to sign Harry’s guestbook and share a memory with the family.

Information provided by survivors.

March 23, 1923 – September 20, 2014
USS Franklin CV 13 Proud plank owner, “Big Ben the Ship that Would Not Die”
Purple Heart Recipient, Representative for the state of Arizona for the WW 2 Monument and Steeler Fan

Born in Pennsylvania to Harry George and Madelyn on March 23, 1923. He grew up in Irwin Pennsylvania with his two sisters, Marilyn and Gerry. He served in the US Navy on the USS Franklin CV 13 during WW ll. He honored his shipmates’ everyday and was proud to be of service to his country. He had many stories of the Franklin and shared them with the fellow VA patients and staff as well as the government and his family.

He married Gertrude Mary Hickey Smeltzer on June 26th, 1949. They were married for 65 years. They have three children, Carolyn, Jimmy and Mary (Charles Buckner). For his children he said he wanted them to have respect for the country and be responsible. He said he achieved that with all three. He was, besides his family, very sincere about other three importantaspects of his life, Pennsylvania, the Pittsburg Steelers and the USS Franklin, CV 13.

His favorite song was: Allegheny Moon

Composer: Al Hoffman / Dick Manning

Allegheny Moon, I need your light
To help me find romance tonight
So shine … shine … shine

Allegheny Moon, your silver beams
Can lead the way to golden dreams
So shine … shine … shine

High among the stars, so bright above
The magic of your lamp of love
Can make him mine

Allegheny Moon, it’s up to you
Please see what you can do
For me … and for my one and only love

(Shine … shine … shine on tonight)
(Shine … shine … shine)

High among the stars, so bright above
The magic of your lamp of love
Can make him mine

Allegheny Moon, it’s up to you
Please see what you can do
For me, and for my one and only love

For me, and for my one and only love
(Shine … shine … shine on tonight)
His favorite Team the Steelers:

His favorite Ship was of course, the Franklin:He was extremely proud and honored to be the selected the veteran of WW11 to represent Arizona at the WW11 Monument. He was quoted in the book Inferno, There were two huge explosions and from time to time a rocket would fly…I was not afraid…though I prayed. “I prayed let me see my next birthday,” which was just three days away. I didn’t think I had three hours—let alone three days.”

The Supreme Commander called them home to sail the crystal sea,
Where they will steer with steady hand thought out eternity.
No longer will the high sea roll,
The skies will be clear and every day will be a day of happiness and cheer,
No storm shall cross their valiant prow and calm will be the sea,
In that bright place where all is well and kindly is the breeze,
They are at peace with our shipmates who have gone before.

Obituary, Richard B. Ferris

Richard B. Ferris

Mason, MI

Richard B. Ferris, 92, of Mason, Michigan, passed away September 25, 2014. He was born on May 4, 1922 in Eaton Rapids, Michigan to the late Jay and Violet (Hertzberg) Ferris. He graduated from Eaton Rapids High School. Richard proudly served in the US Navy during WWII on the USS Franklin. A life-long resident of Aurelius Twp. and Mason, he was the former Assistant Postmaster at the Mason Post Office and a Scoutmaster for over 20 years. He enjoyed photography, stamp collecting, and coin collecting in his spare time. He was known for his bright iris beds and was a master gardener. Richard also loved travelling with Elder Hostel.

Richard was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Dorothy. Surviving to cherish his memory are his children, Elaine J. Ferris, Dewayne J. (Kaye) Ferris, Gary R. (Linda) Ferris, and David A. Ferris; grandchildren, Jessica, Timothy, Lesley, Heather, Stephanie, Kenneth, Raylene, Patrick, and Joelynn; and great-grandchildren, Aubrey, Madison, Katelyn, Zoe, Dante, and Dominic.

Memorial Services were held Thursday, October 2, 2014. For those desiring, memorial contributions may be made to: First United Methodist Church of Mason Camping Scholarships, 201 E. Ash Street, Mason, MI 48854; or Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes,

564 South Main Street, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

The family is being served by the Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, Mason Chapel. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.grbdmason.com

Published in Lansing State Journal from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5, 2014

Obituary, Edward Slagle

Edward, of Mason, formerly of Montgomery, Ohio, Brooksville, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio, passed peacefully on September 6 from natural causes at the age of 92. He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Lois Shannon, and survived by his children Laura, Tom and Jim, daughter-in-law JoAnn, grandchildren Leah and Paul, and great grandchildren McKinzie and Landon, all of whom visited his bedside during his final challenge. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Slovenian-American parents, Ed served on the USS Franklin aircraft carrier during WWII. He married his Collinwood High School sweetheart Lois while on shore leave. After the war, Ed toured with the Ray Anthony Orchestra and other big bands before settling down to raise a family in South Euclid, Ohio. He earned a mechanical engineering degree at Case Tech and worked for many years at Picker X-Ray and Liebel-Flarsheim. His career as a musician (saxophone and clarinet) brought joy to thousands, and most especially Eddie. In the 1950s he played weekly on the “Polka Varieties” live television program in Cleveland. He was inducted into the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame in 2006. Moving to Southwestern Ohio in the early 1970s, he played with a variety of bands, including Maple Knoll and Jack Carr bands. Ed loved golf and boating, his family and his music. In “retirement”, Lois and Ed founded SS Specialties, a drafting-instruments company that they could manage from both Ohio and Florida, where they had a second home. Ed was a lifetime member of the musician’s union. Ed’s fulfilling life, kindness and buoyant spirit will be celebrated in private memorial services. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ed was a member of the VFW band in Mason.

Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer on Sept. 21, 2014 – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/cincinnati/obituary.aspx?n=edward-slagle&pid=172519516&fhid=17229&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.LCBxMDg9.dpuf

Obituary, Jess Rand

December 25, 1925 – September 12, 2014 Jess Rand, born in the Bronx, NY. Graduate of Dewitt Clinton High School. Studied journalism at Columbia University. At age 16, began his musical career with Irving Berlin in NY. His career was put on hold to enlist in the US Navy/1943-1946 where he served in the Pacific (Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Philippines Liberation). Served on USS Franklin CV-13. Honorably discharged as Signalman, PO 2nd class. After the War, he became close confidant and press agent for Sammy Davis Jr and personal manager to Sam Cooke. Rand represented great stars including Lee Marvin, Mel Torme, Glen Campbell, Judy Collins, Bobbie Gentry, The Lettermen, Mort Sahl and Dick Gautier. In 1961, produced The Plunderers with Jeff Chandler. He created a 90-minute episode of “Sam Cooke Phenomenon”/debut show for the Westinghouse Broadcasting TV Network. Continued working as Personal Manager until 1991/co-founder and served as President of Conference of Personal Managers West until he moved to Montecito, CA in 1986 with wife Bonnie Rand. Next to his family, Rand’s greatest love was music. Rand is survived by Bonnie Rand, loving wife of 60 yrs, son, Jonathan, daughter, Amy, 4 grandchildren and great grand-child.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 17 to Sept. 21, 2014
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?n=jess-rand&pid=172487241&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.BQB1lEUm.dpuf

Obituary, Kenneth Thompson

Kenneth ThompsonKenneth K. Thompson

Kenneth K. Thompson, much beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend, died surrounded by those who loved him on Friday, August 29th in his home in Union (Wa).

Ken was born in 1924 in Wilson, Oklahoma and grew up during the depression in the Dust Bowl. His early hard-dash scrabble life gave him a drive to succeed.

He joined the Marines at 17 and served proudly in the famous Black Sheep Squadron. He was serving as Ships Company aboard the USS Ben Franklin when it was bombed off the coast of Japan in 1945.

After WWII, he settled in Santa Barbara, California, married, raised a family, and went into business.

Ken was instrumental in the post war building boom in Santa Barbara. He eventually joined in the development of full-service car washes and finished his career in Dallas, Texas as a sales representative and distributor of car wash equipment. He was a successful entrepreneur and owner of seven car washes in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metro-plex.

In his spare time, Ken enjoyed golf (golf, golf, and more golf!) football, flying his Cessna and a good cigar.

His memorial will be held on Sunday, September 7th at 1:00 p.m. in the Alderbrook Golf and Yacht Clubhouse in Union (Wa).

If you wish, in lieu of flowers, please remember Ken with a donation to the New Community Church of Union (NCCU) building fund- (P.O. Box 232, Union, WA, 98592.)

Obituary, Edward Loeffler

Edward “Big Ed” Loeffler

Great Falls —Edward Gene Loeffler, 87, died of chronic kidney disease early Sunday morning, August 17, 2014, at Peace Hospice.

“Big Ed” requested no services. Schnider Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Born on September 17, 1926 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, he ran away from home to join the Navy in 1943. He served as a gunner’s mate on the USS Franklin during World War II. He met and married his wife Zita Guza in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 18, 1951. Ed made the Navy his career for 20 years achieving the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. After his retirement in 1963, Ed served another 10 years inactive duty in the Fleet Reserve.

In 1964, Ed and Zee moved to her home state of Montana with their two daughters, Candace and Patricia; they settled in Great Falls. Ed felt that there was no better place to live! Born with a true gift of gab, Ed worked in sales for Montgomery Ward, American Life & Casualty Insurance, and the U.S. Tobacco company. In 1975 he realized a life-long dream and bought the Tracy Bar re-naming it the “E-Z Bar” after himself and Zita. Ten years later he sold the bar and truly retired.

“Big Ed” was one heck of a card and pool player. He was an avid golfer having played the game since his early days in the Navy. When health issues took him off the course, he could be found watching the game on TV. He also loved a cold beer, a smooth cigar and a good Western … and his favorite recliner. He was a life member of the VFW, the American Legion, and the Elks.

He is survived by his daughters, Candace and Patricia Loeffler; granddaughters, Bryce Weinert and Briana (David) Gerena; grandsons Alexander (Jessica) Drew and Zachary Drew, son-in-law Robert (Candace) Drew; sister Mildred Herman of Iowa; sisters-in-law Marian Golie, Edith Guza and Opal Guza; many nieces and nephews; and that guy in the basement, Michael. We will all miss our “sweet, lovable” Ed.

Ed was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 61 years, Zita; his older brother, Donald Loeffler, and most of his golf buddies.

Many thanks to the caring staff at Peace Hospice and to his home health nurses, Tawnya, Gale and Rebecca.

Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Aug. 20, 2014

Obituary, John F. Popola

John F. Popola

AGE: 88 • Formerly of Sayreville

John F. Popola, age 88, formerly of Sayreville died Saturday, September 6 at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Edison. Born in Newark, he resided most of his life in Sayreville, then Toms River and finally he moved to the Veterans Home about 5 years ago. John served in the Navy during World War II aboard the USS Franklin which was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack that resulted in a loss of 800 crewmen, becoming the most heavily damaged carrier to survive the war. John received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in the attack. John retired after 36 years with the South Amboy Post Office as the Assistant Post Master. After his retirement he also worked in the Mail Department of the Garden State Parkway. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, he was an avid bowler and he was a huge New York Yankees and Giants fan.

John was predeceased by a daughter, Frances Clark and a brother, Bob Popola. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Loretta (nee Flynn) Popola; a son and daughter-in-law, John and Kathleen Popola of North Hanover Twp.; a daughter and son-in-law, Joanne and Tony Cser of Amelia, VA; two brothers, Tom Popola of Florida and Pat Popola of California; a sister, Violet Bruno of Parlin; seven grandchildren, Alan John Ellison, Mary Fran Clark, Tammy Horner, Jaclyn Popola, Lindsey Popola, Steven Popola and Matthew Popola; seven great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services for John will be held on Wednesday, September 10 at 12:00 Noon at the Tilghman Funeral Home, 52 Main Street, New Egypt, NJ 08533 (www.tilghmanfh.com), with burial to follow in the BGWCD Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Arneytown. Calling hours will be on Tuesday evening, September 9 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM and again on Wednesday morning from 10:00 AM until noon at the funeral home. Due to cemetery restrictions, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in John’s memory may be made to the Disabled American Veterans (www.dav.org/donate). – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/app/obituary.aspx?n=john-f-popola&pid=172386729&fhid=15170&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.5BVzg1dR.dpuf

Published in Asbury Park Press & Home News Tribune on Sept. 8, 2014

Obituary, Joseph A. Filz

Joseph A. Filz, age 95 of Falls Township, PA, died on Monday, April 12, 2010, at Saint Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Filz was a resident of Fairless Hills since 1975. Until his retirement in 1977 he was employed as a steamfitter for Local #420 for 40 years. Joe was a member of St. Frances Cabrini parish and was a member of the Knights of Columbus, St. Joseph the Worker Council #4215 and the St. John Neumann Assembly. Mr. Filz is the beloved husband of 70 years of the late Anna L. Filz. He is the loving father of Joseph A. Filz, Jr. and his wife, Jean, Barbara A. Krasnay and her husband, Bob, and Elizabeth Kurtz and her husband, Norman, all of Fairless Hills. He will also be sadly missed by 6 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, 1 great great grandchild and many nieces. Family and friends are invited to call on Thursday, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and on Friday, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at St. Frances Cabrini Church, 325 S. Oxford Valley Rd., Fairless Hills, PA 19030. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday at 9:30 a.m. Rite of Committal will follow in Resurrection Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the James J. Dougherty Funeral Home, Inc., Levittown. There will be no calling hours at the funeral home. Mass cards or memorial contributions to St. Frances Cabrini Church at the above address would be appreciated by the family.

http://www.doughertyfuneralhome.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=1326579