My grandfather on my Mom’s side was born this day in 1928. If he were still living he’d be 84 today. He passed in 1998 from complications of cancer caused by mesothelioma. Before his death, he helped build hundreds if not thousands of public landmarks as a brick mason. Many throughout the Philadelphia area, Baltimore and upstate New York.

Next time you walk or drive past Washington Square in Philadelphia, know that my Grandpop constructed the brick wall with the “Washington caps” on top that surround the open space. Perhaps his favorite project, aside from the many schools, libraries, hospitals, police and fire stations, YMCAs, and other public as well as private buildings he helped construct after his time in the Navy in World War II.

An inspiration to me daily, we’re forever connected through our personality and generous, fun-loving attitude. Though I may no longer be able to hug him and tell him I love him, I feel his presence and his loving grace and I know I can tell him anything, even without speaking a single word.