By Marsha M. Brown
As a writer you know one thing for sure, the words you put together can lift someone up, give them hope and raise their spirits or just the opposite depending on the subject matter.
Just into a brand New Year 2013, I wanted to start off on a positive note and remind everyone that not only are there supporters of veterans but veterans themselves who carry the torch to lift up their fellow comrades and others onto a higher plain.
Case in point: Mr. Paul T. Frazza, Jr. a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.
It was through my profession as a Realtor that I came to meet Mr. Frazza. I had represented his son and daughter-in-law, Luke and Beth Frazza in their purchase of property in Waves where soon after, they built their vacation home. Not long after our initial contact, our relationship graduated from professional to more like ‘family’. My sweetie pie Billy and I grew very fond of Luke, Beth and their children Matthew and Annie and as time passed Luke invited us to visit them at their home in Fairfax, VA.
Through the years our relationship expanded even more and we were fortunate to meet many of their close friends and family. Much like Luke and Beth, everyone was genuinely nice, hospitable and gracious. But an especially meaningful introduction of all time was that of Luke’s Dad, Paul…what a sweetheart!
As crafters ourselves, it was neat to see that Luke’s Dad enjoyed a unique hobby in which he crafted metal/pewter angels. The angels were tiny but detailed and when you held them in your hand, you literally felt a little piece of heaven. Billy and I were gifted twice by Mr. Frazza’s work of art. We have a single angel that oversees us as we sleep and we have a Nativity figurine too. I remember the small green box he sent them to us in and the wooden round disc that displayed them. The box wasn’t fancy, but the little labors of love inside were wrapped in time lapsed paper…obviously you could tell the figurines were gently placed inside.
Luke’s Dad was quite a character. He was a tall man who had a sense of humor as dry as a bone. He could make you laugh, smile and then stop to think for a minute and ponder on what he had just said. Of course anyone who knows me can tell you it takes a while for a joke to set in and sort itself out. But if I didn’t understand a joke, he’d take the time to explain it. This kind hearted, generous ‘jokester’ was a real gem and someone you liked to be around. He had somewhat bushy eyebrows and his eyes were deep and impressive. When you looked into them, you saw into his very soul and his life’s experiences were right there staring back. His sincerity about what mattered in life was clear and evident. You know how you can look into someone’s face and see goodness? That was Mr. Frazza! We loved him but then, everybody loved him, you just couldn’t help it.
Mr. Frazza was a World War II veteran (1943–1946) but later he continued to serve later as Chaplain of his local American Legion Post. Also, his younger brother, Luke said, had served as a Medic during the landing at Normandy…another hero! A good, sweet man and one who cared about veterans and men who had faced war head on describes Mr. Frazza.
In later years his interest in metal casting had been inspired by a spiritual figure in his life, his priest. Initially he had started making playing pieces for chess and figures of the Bible. But his kinship with the military and the respect he held for those who served eventually generated more of his metal angels.
Over time he made angels that his church members sought, not only for themselves but for their family members who served overseas. The divine inspiration laid on his heart went to serve their mission. From watching diligently over actively serving troops in Afghanistan or over a sleeping couple safe in their bed on American soil, Mr. Frazza’s angels have put in their hours.
On August 8, 2012 at 89 years old this precious angel maker went to be with the Lord. He had reached this life’s end and he left behind his adoring wife Peggy who together had had raised three loving sons and a daughter. Mr. Frazza had served our country well in the U. S. Army during WW II and he was a very proud American. Though Billy and I were unable to attend his service in PA, we thought of him and we cried at his passing.
Mr. Frazza will never be forgotten by those who loved and knew him. His tiny little angels will continue to carry on their assignment of overseeing their subjects and powerfully influencing those fortunate enough to have one. They will continue to remind us of just how important prayer and faith are…especially to veterans and their families. This gentle giant of a man emulated patriotism, valor and spiritualism.
In talking to Luke who so loved his Dad, he said the celebration of his Dad’s life was honored with the American Legion Color Guard and a representative holding one of Mr. Frazza’s angels for all those present to see – it was a tribute – a further testament to his love, worry and care for others especially those in harms way doing their job and sacrificing for us.
In searching the Internet about Mr. Frazza’s notice of passing, the information was frequent. He was a celebrity of goodness. Like the materials he used in his castings…he was a source of dependability you could count on and even since the loss of his physical presence with us is felt, his spirit lives on.
In an article by Keith Hamas, Staff Writer for THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS, Friday, August 1, 2007, the story of Mr. Frazza was featured along with a picture of him holding his little angels in the palms of his hands…that photo by Gary Jung/Staff Photographer says it all. It depicted a proud man who knew that what he was doing was touching lives.
There are a lot of people who love our veterans – some want to do much to serve those who serve us but they just aren’t sure how. When you wonder what you can do, think of Mr. Frazza and his inspiration to be creative, thoughtful and become inspired yourself.
Please read GIG LINE, join the American Legion, V.F.W. or Fraternal Order of Eagles if you haven’t already and pay forward good deeds for others who deserve it.
Happy New Year from my sweetie pie and me! Until next time, be happy, be safe, be proud and stay tuned…