Grandfather John Lenahan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I'm proud to say I knew a hero. Not a president or a rockstar or a baseball player, but a real man whose presence in this world changed itfor the better. A man whose story is one of triumph and struggle, who is thedefinition of excellence. This man was my grandfather.

John Lenahan wasborn in 1915 in Gary, Indiana. Soon after, an influenza epidemic swept thenation, killing his parents. My grandfather was alone in his house for daysbefore a curious neighbor discovered he was alive. Already he was asurvivor.

He was sent by train to Pennsylvania (with his parents' bodies)to live with an aunt, and, although she was not unkind, he was denied theaffection a child needs. Because of this, my grandfather made up his mind thatwhen he became a father, his children would have all the toys and parties henever had.

By working very hard, my grandfather graduated from college anddecided to become a lawyer. The orphan from Indiana studied his way into HarvardLaw School. While there, he didn't have enough money to go out with friends, butthat made him work harder.

After graduating and returning to Pennsylvania,my grandfather enlisted in the Navy during World War II. In the service, he wasrecruited as an officer in Naval Intelligence and received many honors. For yearsafter the war, he was a professor of naval science at Penn StateUniversity.

John met and married Mary Donnelly. They had eight children,seven of whom followed in his footsteps becoming lawyers, the other a doctor. In1951, my grandfather and his law partner founded their firm. Now one of the mostprestigious in Pennsylvania, it has been recognized for outstanding charitableactivities and was presented with the Keystone State Award for service to thecommunity.

Throughout his life, my grandfather was involved in and reveredby his community. He served on many government bodies, was active in educationand was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Scranton.

Mygrandfather loved charitable work and was active in the March of Dimes. He alwayshad a special fondness for the American Red Cross and served on its NationalBoard of Governors. In 1992, he was honored by the American Red Cross as the MostOutstanding Volunteer of the Past 50 Years.

He was a loving husband,father and grandfather. When he died three years ago, his passing was announcedon the radio and television, and thousands of mourners paid theirrespects.

When I look back on his life, I am in awe that a man who camefrom nothing accomplished so much. Most of us can only hope to do half the thingshe did. My grandfather's determination to succeed and his love for family andcommunity guided his life. He epitomized the quality of self-discipline and bypracticing and teaching it, enhanced the lives of all he met. I am proud to berelated to this remarkable man and miss him dearly.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback