Obituary of Thomas Grissett
Thomas Alvin "Al" Grissett, died January 9, 2018 at the Salem Veterans Affairs Hospital after a short illness. He was 88 years old.
Al was born October 6, 1929 in Washington, D.C. to Thomas Jefferson Grissett and Catherine Greene. He was predeceased by his first wife, Rebecca Davis, and his second wife, Mabel Creasy. He is survived by his daughter, Catherine Yerkes, and son, Tracy Grissett, 13 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren.
Al had a rough start early in life, orphaned by age 12, and placed in a thinly disguised work farm doubling as an orphanage. He joined the Army as soon as he was old enough to enlist, escaping the orphanage just in time for the Korean War. Al served in a Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion, landing at Inchon, Korea in September 1950, and fighting for a year straight. Al described a devastated Korean Peninsula, devoid of buildings or vegetation, and sleeping in a foxhole or pup tent for that whole year. Al survived this fighting uninjured, and was awarded the Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, and the United Nations Service Medal for his service.
After his Army Service, he met and married Rebecca Davis, with whom he had two children, moving to Roanoke to pursue his trade as an automobile upholsterer. He worked for several shops in Roanoke, including Roanoke Seat Cover Shop, Maxey's and King's Auto Upholstery. When he retired from upholstery work, he worked for Virginia Truck Center as a driver until the age of 80.
After his first marriage ended, he met and married Mabel Creasy, with whom he enjoyed 40 years of bliss before her passing in 2009.
In 1987, Al tired of the grip alcohol had obtained on his life, quit drinking, and smoking on the same day. He maintained his sobriety with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, attending a meeting a day for the rest of his life. This effort assuredly added many years to his life, and strengthened his bonds with family and friends. When he passed, among his possessions was an AA "Chip" marking 28 years of sobriety.
Al will be best remembered for his gregarious, friendly nature. He had many friends in the Roanoke Valley with whom he saw regularly on his daily outings to the VA Medical Center to visit with his fellow veterans, trips to the Flea Market and AA meetings.
Memorial Donations may be made to the Army Emergency Relief Fund, "Helping the Army Take Care of its Own" at https://www.aerhq.org/Donate.
5160 Peters Creek Road
Roanoke, Virginia 24019
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