Wait of 71 years for an Iwo Jima veteran Cub fan cut short

“Hooray, I’ve just been given a ticket to the first Cubs home game of the World Series! Dave Walker and I will be seated in Section 208, row 9, seats 9 and 10. Look for us. Dave Walker heads the veterans' group, Coalition to Salute to America’s Heroes.  I’m not a hero, but I’ll pretend to be in this case since I’ve waited since 1945 for this to happen but never thought it would. Go Cubs!”
    
Sadly, when Walker came to take Bill to the game, he became ill with a blocked colon and went to the hospital. Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 1. But with a weak heart and failing kidneys, the prospects were bleak.
    
On Wednesday, I received a message from Bill’s son, Jim: “Dad passed away last night with his four children holding his hand. He was in the prep room waiting for surgery but didn’t make it. I was able to read the Cubs newspaper articles to him about the last win (Game 5), which made him happy, but we regret he didn't get to see another win. His was a life well lived.”
    
Indeed Bill’s life was well lived. He taught high school English for 34 years and had also taught classes at Purdue and Indiana universities. He was a great father, a poet, a teacher who could still recite verbatim some 20 poems and a good Marine. At 90 years old, he was still a great Cubs fan. I’d hoped he could hang in there for a World Series winner.  
    
“That was the last thing on my bucket list,” he told me when the playoffs began and I told him I thought this was the year. “I hope so, but I’ve endured a lifetime of disappointment.  This time I will wait and see.”
If only he’d have been able to wait just a couple more days.
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