Toby Harnden, the Times of London reporter who has covered war with the troops and United States politics with equanimity, tweeted on Wednesday: “Trumpeter, food blogger, actress, golfer get New York Times obits today but this man has death notice paid for by family.” Let’s fix that.
Heroes are born and made. Melvin Garten was born May 20, 1921 in New York City, where he became another smart Jewish boy attending City College of New York. Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, greatly altered his immediate plans. Upon graduation from CCNY, he joined the Army and became a paratrooper. He then married his girlfriend, Ruth Engelman of the Bronx, in November 1942. She was a war bride. Everyone said the marriage wouldn’t last, and they were right because the marriage ended on January 9, 2013 — the day she died.
Do please read the whole thing. Melvin was a remarkable man, but much of what makes this story so interesting is the rest of his family.