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Veterans' friend Speener Hose dies

December 01, 2005|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

tarar@herald-mail.com

Speener Hose spent much of his life at the side of veterans.

From organizing a Hagerstown parade to honor veterans to spending countless hours volunteering for them, Hose was committed to lending a helping hand, his daughter, Marsha Pickens, said Wednesday.

"I think a lot of it was looking around and seeing veterans of all ages suffering, not having the medical care or the general care that they needed," said Pickens, of Middletown, Md.

Up until his final months, Hose's thoughts remained on those who served the country.

Pickens said she found notes that Hose, a World War II veteran, had written that included ideas on organizing a Pearl Harbor event this year, even though he was sick.

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Hose, 80, died Wednesday at Newton D. Baker Veterans Hospital, where he stayed for the last 22 months.

Hose had cancer that started with a tumor on his kidney, then spread throughout his body.

"He's in a better place," Pickens said. "There is no more suffering, no more pain and medication."

"We asked him to go ahead and let go ..." she said.

Pickens said one of Hose's biggest successes was organizing a parade for the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing.

While it rained during the parade, people still lined the streets and the dinner that followed was crowded, Pickens said.

Hose also was known to make the rounds of various organizations and businesses asking for their support of veterans, which led to Hose calling himself a "professional bum," she said.

By doing so, Pickens said her father was able to obtain a big screen television and piano for residents at Avalon Manor, where a lot of veterans lived.

One year, Pickens said he raised money to buy 50 flags to line the driveway at Avalon Manor by asking businesses for assistance.

Veterans returned the respect Hose showed for them, Pickens said.

The Joint Veterans Council of Washington County, of which Hose served as president, said it would honor Hose as president until he died.

"They wouldn't let him retire," Pickens said. "They said, 'You will be our president until you're gone.'"

Hose was born in Pinesburg in 1925 and joined the U.S. Navy in 1942, serving in New Guinea on the LCT 37, according to Hose's obituary. He attained the rank of chief warrant boatsman mate.

He also managed Acme Markets in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Winchester, Va., in the 1950s and worked in sales in the 1960s. He was the first driver for Washington County Commuter and retired in 1978, the obituary states.

His wife, Wilda Laise, whom he married in August 1947, died on March 30, 1996. He has three daughters, Pickens, Amanda Robyn Robinson and Melissa Hose; and one son, Kenneth Hose.

"He's amazed me," Pickens said. "He's done so much since he was retired. He just put his heart and soul into it."

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