As I mentioned, even though my marriage to his son did not work out, he remained a very important part of my life through the years. That alone takes a very special man and I know that few men out there would continue to treat their former daughter-in-law with the love and respect I received from this gentle and loving soul.
The fact that he continued to treat me as family even after I was no longer legally family is not the reason I consider him to be so wonderful. He came to the United States on a boat as a young boy with his family. He grew into a fine young man and served in the United States Army in World War II. The young woman he married was the love of his life until she died in 1999. With his wife by his side, they raised a family of six girls and one boy. It wasn’t always easy…he worked hard not only in a factory, but also by farming. Because he was a church-going, God-fearing man, he knew that there was no need to run from trouble or hard times—he faced them head on and he came out a better and stronger man after each trial. I never, in all the years I knew him, heard him utter one negative word about anyone. He not only loved his children and grandchildren, he loved them enough to teach them about love and how to be wonderful, caring, self-sufficient adults.
Four years ago today, his family, friends, and I had to say goodbye to this wonderful, amazing, loving man. But even though he is gone, his love and life lessons are still with us. I feel it and see it every time I look at one of my sons. I am so thankful this man was a part of my life. I treasure each and every time he would tease me just to see my face turn red; I treasure each and every time I would run into him somewhere and he would pull me into a hug and plant a huge kiss on my lips; I treasure that his children allowed me to visit him and gather one last hug and kiss before he passed away; but most of all, I treasure the fact that he was a very special man put on this earth to be a blessing to so many others, including being the perfect father-in-law to me.
John J. Ladiski
9/5/1918 – 8/21/2011