Friday, February 24, 2012, is the centenary of the birth of my father, James Herbert “Jack” Lobb, in Dublin, Ireland. He came to this country with his family at the age of twelve. His father, Frederick, found work with a wealthy family in Ridgewood, New Jersey, so he had the advantage of attending prep-school-quality public schools. He signed up for the Navy on December 8, 1941, and served as a photographer on the USS YORKTOWN, taking leave from training to marry my mother, the former Margaret O’Shea, on September 12, 1942.
After the war, they raised five children, of which I am the middle. Dad worked for the U.S. government — the General Accounting Office and then the Department of Labor — for about 30 years, retiring around 1980. My mother died in 1983, but Dad lived on to the age of 88, dying in 2000.
As a civil servant, Dad never took part in politics, but he was a lifelong Democrat; he and Mother voted in every election and canceled each other out, since she was an equally staunch Republican. He was active in the community as a Scout leader.
Dad was one of many who came to this country, enjoyed its benefits, defended it, served it, and helped build it. Much has changed in a hundred years, but not our need for men and women like him.