This is my father’s obituary. I wrote most of it.
John L. Rhatigan, husband, father, Marine, 85 years old, died early Monday morning after a long illness, surrounded by his wife of 62 years and his children.
John was born in Grasmere, went to St. Sylvester’s Elementary school and St. Peter’s High School. His dream was to join the US Marine Corps, but his mother wouldn’t sign the papers when he was still 17. He also met the love of his life, Leanor Marenco Rhatigan, at that age. After high school graduation, he went to college for a year, but decided that he wanted to be a carpenter. He joined the US Marines and was sent to Korea, where he was in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir. After experiencing the brutally cold weather there, John swore he would never complain about the heat again and he didn’t. He also would say that, “Every day since Korea is a gift,” and he lived his life that way. He woke up whistling every morning and went to bed singing every night. He led by example: all three of his brothers, George, Ray and Donald, joined the Marines when they became old enough to do so.
When he returned home from Korea, John married his love Leanor Marenco Rhatigan, and started a construction business and a family. He built the house he lived in for the next 50 years, and lived his life with kindness and integrity, a devoted husband, kind and gentle father and honest businessman. He was a history buff, filling his house with books from different eras. He studied Italian in his later years, and took up running at the age of 70 with his daughter, Lauren Rhatigan. He became one of the fastest runners in his age group, regularly taking home 1st prize. He loved his garden, working a large plot at his house every summer, and sharing the bounty with neighbors and friends.
John Rhatigan lived a life well lived, with no regrets and nothing left unsaid. He is survived by his wife, Lee Rhatigan, his three children, John L. Rhatigan Jr., Nancy Lee Rhatigan Dunn and Lauren Rhatigan, will miss him tremendously. He is survived also by his sister, Betty Dolan, his brother, Ray Rhatigan, six grandchildren and 20 nieces and nephews. His brothers, George and Donald, predeceased him.
Visiting hours for John will be Wednesday at Casey’s Funeral Home on Slosson Avenue. The funeral,will be at the church of his childhood, St. Sylvester’s, on Thursday at . The family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the local Marine Corp Legion or to Wounded Warriors.