Roland “Stormy” Goss – 1920-2008
My grandfather passed away this week and we are headed to Dallas this weekend for the funeral. His death wasn’t unexpected, but it is still unreal. In the past decade I only got to see him a couple of times – he was in hospice care and I rarely made it to Dallas. But growing up I spent lots of time with him. Every Sunday evening we had a family dinner at his place – my cousins, brothers, and I building blocks and playing with Star Wars figures in living room while the “big people” chatted away in the dining room.
During my childhood, he was building and losing his fortune in the Texas oil business, but what remember most are his stories. From stories of his dad the policeman who was involved in the pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde, to his football days at SMU, to WW2 we never tired of hearing those tales. A former officer in the U.S. Navy, he would show us the dagger he “liberated” off of a dead Nazi SS officer. He told us about his ship almost sinking in the D-day invasion at Normandy. And in helping General Patton win his rivalry against British marshall Montgomery by coordinating the naval end of the crossing of the Rhine River and getting Patton across first. And also of his best friend dying in the foxhole next to him.
Stormy wasn’t able to remember who I was the last few times I saw him, but he remembered these stories – the defining moments of his life. I’m sure we will all be remembering these stories as the family gathers this weekend.