During his life, there were many accomplishments, not the least of which was conquering the debilitating disease of Polio, and being told he would never walk again on his own. At 16, while he and his Dad were visiting his Uncle's farm in the countryside of Pennsylvania, he took off his leg-brace and with great frustration and defiance, threw it as far as he could into "Brodhead Creek," announcing loudly to his father and uncle that he would never wear it again. He told me once that his Dad "had a fit, and looked for the thing for almost an hour before giving up. It was during the Great Depression, and that brace cost my folks a lot of money." He used his crutches to get back to the farmhouse, tied a wooden spoon behind his bad leg, and thereafter, walked on his own for the rest of his life.
Although his family was almost destitute during the depression, he managed to get an education through the New York School System by attending the "Art Student's League" during the mornings as a student, and teaching Color Theory there in the afternoons as an instructor. During the war, he worked as an airbrush retoucher for a Military facility, and over the years, truly perfected this amazing art form. When he finally retired in his 60s as the art director for the largest Utility Company on the East coast, he began his real career. He became a multi-faceted commercial artist, book illustrator for various Science Fiction Journals and designed the Strategic Air Command Insignia for Lockheed Aircraft. He was an art instructor in Airbrush design and technique, lecturer and instructor in drawing, painting and graphics. He was a creative woodworker and furniture designer, and renowned wood-carver, whose massive carved Totem Poles can still be seen at Bear Mountain Scout Camp in New York State. Over the years, his work won him much acclaim, and many awards. He exhibited extensively all over the East coast. His work now appears in many public and private collections all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. Three weeks before he died, he was still teaching and managed (in my opinion) to paint the best thing he'd ever done.
I would like to close this short story of my Father by relating one of my favorite anecdotes. He told me once, that when he was about 16 years old, his parents finally gave him permission to "decorate" his room (I have a feeling it was after the brace in the creek affair as it came to be known). He went for the idea with gusto. "What did you do to decorate your room," I remember asking him. He related the following story: He painted all his favorite movie star's portraits on the walls and ceiling, some faces, some full standing; Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, etc. etc. and of course all the great Cowboy stars of the day. It was so amazing he told me, that all his parent's friends heard about it and wanted to see his room. When his folks finally sold the house, it was that room that convinced the people to buy the place; they just loved it so much --as well as the big Oak tree by the window of his room. He told me that it was how he used to climb in and out of his room when his parents thought he was asleep --not a bad accomplishment for a kid with polio.
Yes, there is and was ONLY ONE REQUA and I can easily say that I am very happy and proud to have had him as my friend, my greatest teacher and counselor, and my beloved Father.