By Naeisha Rose
Earl Alfred Snell, a World War II veteran who resided in South Ozone Park, died on Veterans Day after celebrating his 102nd birthday last month.
Snell was born Oct. 15, 1916, to a farmer and a housewife in Virginia, later serving as a Technician Fifth Grade on a warship for the U.S. Army and on the front lines in Okinawa, Japan from April 30, 1942, to Jan. 9, 1945, according to his certificate from the military, which said he was honorably discharged.
“I was a good shot in the Army,” said Snell. “They were shooting, but they missed me. They shot my hat right off my head.”
The fight on Okinawa was so bloody that he remembers loading injured and dead men on three trucks.
“They were shooting all day and all night,” said Snell. “It was like bop-bop-bop-bop-bop.”
After his service, he traveled across the U.S. to Maryland, California and then later settled in Harlem. He met his wife Carrie, a nanny who moved from Georgia. Sparks flew when they met on the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.
They got married Aug. 27, 1949, and lived in Long Island City, until moving to other parts of Queens and settling in South Ozone Park in 1966. He did odd jobs until he worked at Astoria Chevrolet Dealership for 30 years.
He was married to his wife and for the last two years, he combed her hair after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She died Sept. 13.
Together the couple had seven kids, five grandchildren, 11 great-grandkids and one great-great-grandchild.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose