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Ora F. Delauter

Ora F. Delauter's family ties were made partly by choice

Ora F. Delauter's family ties were made partly by choice

November 10, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Ora F. Delauter, who died Oct. 22 at the age of 94. His obituary was published in The Herald-Mail on Oct. 24.

After 65 years of marriage, Ora F. Delauter and his beloved wife, Goldie, were still very much together, even though on different floors of the Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village near Boonsboro.

"We got Ora a red scooter so he could visit Goldie whenever he wanted," said Louise Morningstar, who married the couple's foster son, Harry. Those visits were part of Ora's routine until two months ago when Goldie passed away.

Ora died Oct. 22.

Although Ora and Goldie both came from large families, the couple had no children of their own. When Goldie's nephew, Harry Morningstar, was 12 years old, the couple took him in as their foster son after Harry's parents separated.

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But the bond had formed much earlier, Louise said. When Ora and Goldie were dating, they often took Harry along. "They just kept him, ... he was so used to them," Louise said.

"Ora just slipped into the role," Harry explained. He recalls building a soap box derby car with Ora. And later, when Harry built a boat for the river, Ora helped with that, too.

"As we both got older, we got closer," Harry said.

Goldie Smith married Ora on Nov. 20, 1942, while he was on a furlough from the U.S. Army.

Ora distinguished himself in the military, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He participated in the Normandy invasion and fought in France and Central Europe during his 4 1/2 years of military service.

When Ora first came home after the war, he didn't want to talk about his experiences for a long time. In 1945, Harry was just 10 and, though he hadn't officially joined the family, he was already living with Ora and Goldie.

"When Ora first came home, he worked on trucks at Delauter's Garage in Myersville," Louise said, drawing upon his experience maintaining his unit's vehicles during the war.

Attached to the 5th Armored Division known as Patton's Ghosts, Ora's wartime exploits were described in The Herald-Mail commemorative book, "Our Country Called," on pages 68-69.

"Ora's oldest great-grandson will get that book," Louise said. The oldest grandson is to get all of Ora's medals, which have been carefully preserved under glass.

After the stint at the garage, Ora and Goldie ran a grocery store together just down the street from their home in Cavetown for 20 years.

"Ora once told me that Harry ate and ate candy from the store until he got his fill," Louise said. To this day, Harry isn't much on sweets.

Because of the war and to make up for not having a honeymoon, Ora took Goldie on trips. Every year, the couple would travel around the country to attend the reunion of Ora's Army unit.

Harry said he remained close to his mother and his siblings through the years, but Ora and Goldie filled the role of parents for him.

And when Louise and Harry married, she said she became their full-fledged daughter-in-law from the onset. When they began their own family, Ora and Goldie were automatically designated grandparents and later great-grandparents.

Though his health was failing, Ora was still able to attend his oldest great-granddaughter's wedding at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Hagerstown in September.

The bond was strong and long-standing.

"When our two boys were 10 and 13, Harry and I adopted a little girl," Louise said. They chose the announcements of Misty, now 37, joining their family very carefully.

The front of the card said "I wasn't expected ..." and then the card opened up to say, "I was selected."

Louise said the same could be said for Harry when he became part of Ora and Goldie's family so many years before.

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