My parents, Sidney and Lucy, were members of what has become known as "America's Greatest Generation."
They were both born to very poor southwest Louisiana farming families in southwest Louisiana near the junction of St. Landry, Acadia and Evangeline Parishes.
They were born to much simpler times when things were a lot easier going than the hectic pace of today.
Both were products of stern, hardworking and proud people. They worked the land and drew simple rewards from their religion, their family, their land and their community.
They grew up during the 1920's when major changes were happening and eventually the Great Depression set in.
My mother had thought that she was going to be an "old maid" at 21 until my dad asked her to marry him. As products of these trying hard times, they eventually met and were married on February 2, 1938.
Little did they realize that a second great war was looming just over the horizon.
Mom was a devout Catholic, religious and a wonderful protector of her children. Mom spent the war years bringing into this world and raising three of her five children. I was one of the children born during the war on the very same day that my Dad was in Lafayette undergoing his physical exam in preparation for his service in the U. S. Marine Corps.
Dad was the family provider -- often working long hours six and sometimes seven days a week to provide the basic necessities for his wife and five children. Dad relished hard work. He worked as a butcher, a laundry delivery man, a bread route supervisor, a factory worker, a gas station worker/owner and an apartment manager which he held for the last 25 years of his life.
Mom spent all of her life dedicated to her family and was paramount in instilling decent values into us as children. She was instrumental in teaching us right from wrong, caring for others and loyalty to family. She always gave of herself and would always put her children's needs before her own.
During the last year of the war, Dad served in the U. S. Marine Corps. He entered into the service too late to see any combat action and served on the west coast as a military policeman. He was to take part in the inevitable invasion of the Japanese home islands -- but along with millions of others was spared this great battle.
Mom was but a simple country girl. She held on to her beliefs of family tradition, family respect and a strong understanding that there was good in each and every person whose path touched her life.
Dad always made sure that Christmas was a special time for the Richard children. Each and every Christmas, the children of Sidney and Lucy always had something to open on Christmas morning -- even during the very lean years of the early 1950's -- when things were very tight for them financially.
He made a point of getting gifts for his children on an installment plan and then paying for those Christmas presents over the coming year.
Both Mom and Dad were devout Catholics, religious and stern. They raised five children -- a daughter and four sons. They always were extremely proud of their children and their accomplishments.
We lost Mom on September 27, 2002 following a short hospital stay. She was admitted for a surgical procedure to correct an ongoing problem.
Two weeks later, the family gathered to remember her passing and to place her in her final resting place in Eunice -- the town where she had spent most of her life.
Less than a year later, we lost Dad on August 30, 2003. With his favorite Grandson by his side, Dad died peacefully in his sleep, following a three month battle with lung cancer.
Mom and Dad now rest peacefully, forever side-by-side in the small town of their birth.
Mom and Dad,
you are in our thoughts
for all time.
We Miss You.