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Born on the 4th of July / Nick Ehrhardt

Born on the 4th of July

Bereaved families tend to include July 4 birthdates in obituaries - perhaps as a mark of a patriotic loved one, who served the United States military in some way. Or maybe they just think it’s neat to say, “He was born on the 4th of July.”

Dozens of other July 4th babies died in recent weeks, including:

Peter Savino (Press of Atlantic City)Peter "Pop" Savino was born on the 4th of July and departed on Memorial Day. Pete came into the world with fireworks and left with flags flying, according to the obituary his family prepared for the Press of Atlantic City.

Savino, 81, who served in the Army in the Korean War, loved the beach.

His family wrote: The beach played an important role in his life, he met his wife there." Pete" was the unofficial mayor of 51st Street beach. He loved watching the girls and helping everyone find their spot on the beach.

He had bragging rights of having the darkest tan on the beach and would proudly display his tan lines to anyone who wanted to see and even to those that didn't.

 Phyllis Stohrer Smith (Concord Monitor)Phyllis Stohrer Smith, who died June 14 (Flag Day) at age 92, worked as a Colonel's secretary for the Department of the United States Air Force for 15 years at the Pentagon and then worked for another 15 years as a staff member of Prospect High School in San Jose, Calif., according to the obit in the Concord (N.H.) Monitor.

 Farine E. Scavone (The Daily Gazette)Farine E. Scavone, 90,who also died on Flag Day (June 14), served in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps during WWII, worked a number of years for General Electric and the NY State health care system, according to the obit in the The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y.

 Merle J. Robbins (Globe Gazette)Merle J. Robbins, who died June 12 at age 69, proudly served his country in the United States Army from 1964-67 during the Vietnam War, according to the obit in the Globe Gazette of Mason City, Iowa. He spent part of his military tenure in Cambodia, Thailand and in Germany guarding the Berlin Wall. He was Honorably Discharged as a Sargeant in February 1970.

His family also wrote: All who had the opportunity and privilege of crossing in Merle's life journey will remember him as a man with a booming and resonantly deep voice who was very dedicated to his faith, family and friends. They will reflect upon his oftentimes blunt and straight-forward personality, unique humor and that "Merle Gaze" in his eyes as he shared his thoughts, stories and insights.

 Frances Spencer (San Francisco Chronicle)Frances Spencer, who died June 13 at 92, served as a WAC in the army and came to Oakland CA after WWII, according to the obit in the San Francisco Chronicle. The mother of seven started the Bernal Heights Girl club and assisted with establishing the Senior Center and Neighborhood Health Center. Frances was able to assist neighborhood youth find jobs through her community connections.

Harry "Sonny" Ackeret Jr., who died May 31 at age 78, received a Silver Star for his bravery in the Korean War, according to the obit in the Tribune of Jackson County, Ind. He was a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 where he held several offices and did a lot of volunteer work. He was also a member of American Legion Post 89 and Immanuel Lutheran Church. He was a former grand marshal of the VJ Day Parade.

 Helen Elizabeth Bowman Barnes (Winston-Salem Journal)Helen Elizabeth Bowman Barnes, who died May 27 at age 86, was a civil service employee for the Army, Air Force and Navy in her early work years and then went on to work and retire from the Veterans Administration, according to the obituary in the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal.

This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She is the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.