Vince and Blanche

0001 - Copy In this photo taken in 1944, Terri’s parents (Vincent Sojat and Blanche O’Leary) were at a supper club in San Francisco. Blanche was 18 and Vince was 24. At this point in time Vince had already served in the Navy for six years and had seen an incredible amount of action in the Pacific starting on December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. Vince, like so many WWII veterans was truly a humble man. But he was also a hero. Vince was from the small town of Lincoln, Illinois and he left home as a teenager to escape the Depression by joining the C.C.C. At age 17 he joined the Navy and was on the cruiser USS Honolulu when the Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet. Blanche was from Loleta California in the far northwestern corner of the state, a dairy rancher’s daughter who fled to San Francisco when the war began to get away from her rural, small town life. Like so many couples from this “Greatest Generation,” war and fate brought them together for better or for worse for the rest of their lives. After the war Vince and Blanche settled in Long Beach California where Vince continued to serve in the Naval Reserves. Terri was born in 1949 and grew up in the sprawling post-war suburbs nearby. I mentioned in a previous post that I met Terri at a high school football game in 1964. Terri was just 15 at the time. While her Dad, Vince kept an eye on both of us, it wasn’t enough. We were married in Hawaii in 1967 just two months after Terri turned 18.


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