The Catholic Defender: A Tribute To My Father


My Father, Donald Lee Hartley, (far upper right) is an Army Veteran, who served our Nation.

Recently I learned that his Brother Joe, my Uncle, was wounded in the Pacific in World War II.

I watched with great interest Mel Gibson's new movie, Hacksaw Ridge, a true story of a major Operation fighting the Japanese. Uncle Joe was wounded when a Japanese came charging into the crater he was fighting from with his bayonet attempting to home in on a kill. Fortunately, Uncle Joe fired his 45 killing the enemy but with his momentum coming at Joe, he was stabbed in his hip. It took two Soldiers to pull out the bayonet as it went into the hip bone.

My Father had a sense of humor when he talked about his service as he never had the heroic tales like Uncle Joe. But he provided a service for our Country in a time of peace.

I recently received a letter written by my Mother to one of my Aunts, it is dated October 3, 1955 one year before I was born:

Dear Bud, Margaret, and Karen,

Hello! Are you surprised to hear from me? I have big news. Or I think so and I hope you agree with me. I was married the 17th of September at Miami Oklahoma to Don Hartley of Butler (Missouri). I don't suppose you knew him? He's 24 and very handsome, I think he's 6'1 with black hair, brown eyes, a mustache (ha). I think he's wonderful.

I met him in April and we've gone steady ever since. We're living in Independence (Missouri) in an apartment for now but we hope to buy a new house on the G.I. Bill. I don't know if we can or not. But I hope so.

Have you got your house finished yet? I imagine so as I haven't heard about it for so long. Mon and family seemed all right when we were down Thursday and Friday.

Well, I really haven't anything else to say. I hope that you will send me your congratulations.

Love, Mary Anne and Family

My Mother passed away August 1, 2006 as my wife and I were preparing to return to Fort Hood Texas. I was soon returning to Iraq and my leave was ending.

With my Mother's death, fortunately, we were present for the funeral and was able to honor her.

Since that time, my Father has been living in Missouri near my Brother Randy and his family which has been a great blessing to him.

I would come and stay with him when I came to the area for our many Marian Conferences and the past several years was able to have quality time with Dad.

My Father, the past two years has had a number of medical problems that caused him pain, but until recently, he was able to hold his own. I was with him a couple of months ago when he told me of his inevitable death. I wanted to assure him of the Lord Jesus promise that when He returns at the end of the age, that he would receive a glorified body just as Jesus and all the Saints. I shared this passage of scripture:

"I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Right now my Father is preparing to go to meet his maker in eternity, he is on his last leg on this earth. Dad responded to what I was telling him saying, "When the Lord does return at that time, I sure do what to shake his hand"! In Dad's way, he was telling me that he looks forward to that time as we all should.

Our Lord gave a very important promise to St. Faustina with the praying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. Jesus said: "My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. ... Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior (Diary, 1541).

Also, Our Lord said to her, "At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same" (Diary, 811).

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Love you Dad.

Dad Passed this day on 14 January 2017 at 12:55 P.M., without know this exact time until later, while I was driving to work in Alabama, I was praying the Divine Mercy at the very time he passed! May the Perpetual Light of Christ shine upon him now and forever, Amen.

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