Monday, March 15, 2010

My Humble Hero


My cute little Grandpa Poole died a week ago today. His funeral was Saturday. I've been putting off this post because I did not know how to sum up his life and who he was into a few paragraphs.

Grandpa Poole was probably only 5'6 and I towered over him but I will always look up to him. He was the kindest, sweetest, most honest person I know. He had a remarkable life. During WWII, he was captured by the Japanese and was forced on the Bataan Death March, where he was starved and abused. He ended up as a prisoner of war for 3 1/2 years were he was mistreated and starved on a daily basis. At the end of the war when he was finally rescued, he weighed under 100 pounds.

The amazing thing was, he forgave his captors the day the war ended and has never looked back. He didn't want hate and anger to ruin his life. He rarely talked about his experiences until later in life when people became interested in his story. He has always been so positive and eventually sent his son on a Mormon mission to Japan.

I'm so proud of my Grandpa and I'm most proud of him for things that had nothing to do with his amazing war experiences. My sweet grandma died when I was one year old and he has been alone a long time. He kept himself busy working in his yard and helping his neighbors and widows that lived in his neighborhood. At 85 years old, he was out shoveling other people's walks and mowing lawns. He assigned himself to set up chairs at every church function and would stay to put them away afterwards. Every time I had a baby, he would find out I was in labor and get on his knees and pray for me.

Grandpa Poole was very skilled at making things with his hands. When I was a kid, he made a float every year for me and my siblings to ride on in the East Milcreek Fourth of July parade. He made everything from the Love Float to a political merry-go-round. A few years ago, he started making floats again for my kids to ride on in the same parade. The picture below is of Luke and Grandpa last year right before the parade. He knew it would be his last.


I will miss this humble, sweet man so much.

23 comments:

The DeVito's said...

What a sweet man! I didn't know him but your post warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Jill Tew said...

He is the cutest little grandpa. Those pictures are priceless. What a nice tribute to him and I'm sorry for your loss. I'm happy for him to be with his honey again.

Lauri said...

There is nothing in the world better than grandparents! You were lucky to have him for so long...what a blessing that he is now reunited with your grandma. xoxo

Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing that--sounds like he was a treasure of a man! What a great heart he had to instantly forgive and to send a son on a mission to Japan. I'm sure that was a great blessing for him. Sometimes I think we keep ourselves from enjoying the choicest of blessings...glad he didn't. What a wonderful example of humility and love. Glad you got to have him in your life as long as you did. What a blessing it is to meet your great-grandkids! I'm sure he'll be missed but so glad he could be with his sweetheart again.

Heidi said...

Brooke, Sorry to hear about your grandpa. My parents admired him a lot and are really glad to have gotten to know him the last few years. My dad had him come to one of our family dinners once and tell us his story and it was amazing!

Sara said...

Brooke,
I am so sorry for your loss.
I saw the story they did about him on the news (channel 5?) and thought I recognized your mom (from blog photos). What a neat man!!

Heidi said...

Brooke, my mom will be glad to hear that you liked the lunch. She always worries about stuff like that. I had stopped by their house to pick up something from my dad and was there when my mom got home from the funeral. She said it was so nice that your family was so organized and helpful.

Ashley said...

This was nice. I am going to write about grandpa as soon as I can get a computer and don't have to snag Tyler's for 5 minutes/day. I'm going to Costco tomorrow and getting the cheapest thing I can find.

Tiffany said...

What a precious post. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like he was an amazing man. You have some wonderful pictures of him.

Denise said...

I'm so sorry. He seems SO sweet and wonderful! I loved hearing about him and will think of him, on his knees, praying for you when you are in labor this time around...just from a different place and with his long missed wife at his side.

Jill said...

Wow, what a man! How remarkable that he forgave his captors as soon as the war was over, and then sent his son on a mission to Japan.

joslyn said...

what a hero. it is alway hard to loose a grandparent. they are the best!
didn't he help with the primary float as well? you know when we were flower heads.

Heather said...

I remember being flower heads in the parade! Brooke...your grandfather sounds like a wonderful person...what a touching tribute..

Linde said...

That is such a good post. It is always so hard when a grandparent passes--especially when they were such a part of your life!

You were lucky to have him that long and long enough for your kids to have spent time with him.

Liz said...

Love Uncle Harold! He was truly the best. I haven't stopped thinking about his funeral since Saturday....I left there completely inspired. I used to LOVE riding on the merry-go-round and the Love Float with you guys. I remember being very young and staying at their house when my family would go on grown up kid trips.He was so fun.

So.....can I have a stuffed weasle...ha ha!

Julie said...

That post made me cry. What a sweet man. I am sorry for you loss. I am truly captivated by WWll stuff and especially those involved in the Bataan death march. It is miraculous that he made it through all that. What a hero. I am happy that he is reunited with his wife again. Thanks for sharing.
BTW- I grew up in East Millcreek and attended those parades almost every year as well! I even twirled a baton in a couple of them!

Alison Carvalho said...

What a great tribute. He looks like the example of what we all should be. You are blessed to have had him! My thoughts are with your family! Btw, my mom just told me today of the loving tribute that she saw on t.v. That's great!

alexandra said...

I loved your grandpa from you last post about him (Veteran's day, maybe?). What a wonderful person. It made me really sad to read that he knew that 4th of July parade would be his last. What a strange thing it is to get to that point. And that we all do. What a wonderful legacy he has left.

Kim said...

Brooke I am so sorry to here about your sweet grandpa. I still remember when he came to the ward to speak to the R.S. about his time as a prisoner of War...what an amazing man.

Aaron + Mandee said...

What a sweet, sweet man. This made me think about my boys and what kind of legacy they will leave when they pass. I can only hope to raise boys that will turn into men of this stature.

And sending a son to Japan to preach the gospel is the ultimate act of forgiveness. As a girl with Japanese heritage (although my Japanese grandfather fought in the US Army during WW II) I appreciate that.

Dave & Kami said...

So sorry to hear about your cute grandpa. He sounds like an amazing man. wow!! what a great story about forgivness. Makes me think I should forgive my neighbor for all the nights her barking dog kept me up.:)

Toria said...

WoW! what a legacy. I love to hear about people like your Grandpa and then I'm sad that I don't know more. Where's his blog? I would read back posts through and through.

nic said...

What a great man. I am sorry to here about your loss.