3/5/22 - 9/27/07
Members of the Greatest Generation were being killed at a rate of 1000 per day during World War II. Sixty years later those who survived the carnage are still dying 1000 per day. Last Thursday, my father was one of those who rejoined his comrades in arms.
Joseph Buda was many things to all those who knew him. He was a devoted husband to his wife of 64 years, 11 months, Margaret. He was the eldest brother to Robert Buda, Betty Rose Beets, Elsie Steinwandt, Wallace Buda, and Ernest Buda. He was a father and provider to his eight children: Susan, Ron, Bunny, Brian, Merrianne, Kevin, Patty, and Becky. In his later years, he enjoyed his 17 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Joe started his long journey in Michigan, the first son of immigrant parents. He graduated high school in a class of 6 students. He left the family farm for the lights of the big city. He initially worked in a machine shop making left-hand springs for British Spitfire airplane engines. Within months, Pearl Harbor was bombed, war was declared and Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served as a Machinist Mate 1st Class in the South Pacific aboard the Destroyer U.S.S. Converse from 1942-45, participating in several of the great naval battles to defeat Imperial Japan. During the war, Joe married his sweetheart, Margaret in 1942.
When he left the Navy in 1948, Dad worked as an assembler for Ford Motor Co. where he was fired. He then walked across the street and was hired to work the night shift at Chevrolet Motors. When he left that job, Dad went into dairy farming during the mornings and evenings while during the day he worked as a cabinet maker to pay for the farm and provide for his family which had grown to three children. In the mid-1950s, Joe and Margaret, gave birth to a physically handicapped child. For the health of the child, the family (now increased by that child plus one more child) moved to Auburn, Ca. to manage the turkey ranch on Lone Star Road owned by sister Elsie's husband. While there, the Joe Buda family grew by two more children.
Leaving the turkey business, Dad worked through the local Carpenter's Union as a Journeyman Carpenter. He helped build many of the houses in Auburn and surrounding towns. He also worked a few years building the California's water storage system of dams. Dad and Mom also had their eighth child during the Union years. When he left the Union, Dad worked freelance and eventually operated his own company, Joe Buda Construction.
He loved to work the land. Dad would plant a vegetable garden every year with tomatoes, squash, corn, beans, and many others that we kids often hated. But, he would have us out in the garden with him weeding, spreading compost, and picking. He showed us the wondrous tastes of fresh picked vegetables while working right there in his garden.
Dad also loved the Pioneer Methodist Church where he often volunteered time for committees and activities. Dad gave freely of his construction skills when the Church needed repair. Not a man comfortable speaking in public, he would read the Scripture because it served his beloved Lord and Savior.
Dad was a collector. He collected stamps from all over he world, and Indian arrowheads in Michigan and the Auburn area before it was illegal to do so. He would often display the arrowheads at the Auburn Museum. Dad was always a writer of poetry and prose. He wrote a book, "Hell in Paradise" about his experiences in the Pacific during WWII. At the time of his death, Dad was writing a journal about growing old, his thoughts on death, and reflections on his life.
He would tease and tell the same favorite joke dozens of times to anyone who would listen. In the very early morning hours, just before sunrise, Dad was teasing the nurses in the ICU. He asked for his socks to be taken off his feet. When the socks were removed, his Earthly journey ended. Dad died.