Rudolph (Rudy) Franklin Mathes
Today at 12:00 noon, my wife’s father, another member of the "Greatest Generation” slipped quietly into the arms of his Creator at the age of 90. While there is now an empty seat at the table here on earth, one that cannot be filled by any other, and there is sadness in the hearts of those left behind, there is rejoicing in Heaven, and he has been seated at the table of his Lord, a seat reserved only for him.
Rudy proudly served his country in WW2 through five major campaigns, including landing at Utah Beach on D-Day. While serving, he was often called upon to deliver messages across enemy lines. He learned a secret that allowed him to deliver these messages quickly and safely. He related the story of how he stole a German motorcycle and rode close enough to enemy camps to hear them talking in order to deliver his messages to units that were on the other side of the German lines. The Germans, hearing one of their own motorcycles, paid no attention to the rider, and Rudy was able to move about at will. He said he was no hero, but to those who knew him and served with him he was indeed a hero.
He counted it a great honor to have served for a time as a driver for General George S. Patton. He related the story of them coming under sniper fire from a tree while in an open Jeep, and he was able to get the General to safety.
His many decorations include a Bronze Star, but he didn't relate the story as to how the award came about. It was one of those things that members of his generation often kept to themselves, for they sought no individual glory but only victory and honor for their country.
The brave men and women who served with honor and pride during WW2 are becoming fewer with each passing day. Soon they will all be gone, but let us never allow their memory or the memory of what they did for their country to be forgotten. May we always give them the honor and respect they so richly deserve.
We are with heavy hearts today, but at the same time, we can rejoice knowing that Rudy is in a much better place where there is no pain or suffering.
There will be a Celebration of his Life on Thursday, October 14, 2010, at Woodall Anderson-Dugger Funeral Home in Johnson City, Tennessee. At this point, I do not have a time, but it will be announced in the Obituary in the Johnson City Press. Visitation time will be announced as well.
Nancy and I will be traveling to Johnson City on Tuesday or Wednesday. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.