My father-in-law was my favorite. I loved him from the moment we met. He was funny and smart, compassionate and perceptive. He understood me. I felt he understood all of me–my heart, my mind, my potential and my struggles. He was beyond special to me. It’s been a few years since he passed away, and I miss him so much that even writing this brings tears to my eyes and tender memories to my heart.
On this Memorial Day, I want to share with you my father-in-law. My Dad.
Joseph K. Cross (1923 – 2010)
Private 1st Class
3rd Battalion 8th Air Corp
World War II
He was a mechanic, working to repair the B17s. They called him “Praying Joe” because he prayed, a lot, and his prayers seemed to work. Certainly they protected him when he was working on wreckage teardown and a German plane came over for a strafing run, destroying everything in its path.
Dad told how one soldier asked him to pray for him because he knew that if he did, he’d be safe.
He was a single dad to a little daughter at home, so he worked hard, even taking on extra jobs, like repairing and ironing uniforms.
He was a poet, an artist, and a teacher. He was a friend to many and he was loved. So loved.
As a girl without a real dad, “winning” Joseph K. Cross as my father-in-law was like suddenly finding out my father was a king. He was a great man, a truly good man, and spent his life in service from his time in the military, to serving in our church, to raising eleven children, and cherishing his dear wife eternally.
I love you Dad. I wish you’d had a chance to tell more of your stories to my boys. To be an example to them, as you were to me. They just don’t make ’em like you, anymore.