Carl E. McGiffin, 89, a retired Toledo firefighter, longtime bar owner, and Korean War veteran, died June 23 at the Grand Rapids Care Center in Grand Rapids, Ohio.
Mr. McGiffin suffered from dementia and had been in declining health. His death occurred four days after that of his wife, Marvie, who was a resident in the same room, daughter Sandra Gulch said.
She said she didn't think this was an example of "broken-heart syndrome," in which longtime partners die about the same time, but it wouldn't surprise her. "They were just inseparable. They never went anywhere without the other [and were] very protective of each other," she said.
Her parents provided her and her three siblings with an idyllic childhood.
"They raised four kids and did it with smiles on their faces, and there's not one kid who could find anything bad to say about them. I just had a great childhood," Mrs. Gulch said. Her parents were married in 1947 at Somerset United Methodist Church in Toledo.
Mr. McGiffin was a U.S. Navy veteran who enlisted in 1942 and served in World War II as a corpsman in the Philippines until 1946. He was recalled into the service in 1950 and was a medic with the 1st Marines Division that was part of the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. The U.S. soldiers were trapped in the dead of winter where temperatures plunged as low as minus-35.
Mrs. Gulch said her father talked about his time in the service, especially the Chosin Reservoir campaign.
"It was bitter, bitter cold, subzero weather and there were limited supplies," she said. "The military would drop big Tootsie rolls from the sky and they'd be frozen before they hit the ground."
He received a Purple Heart after being injured by shrapnel and suffering frostbite in 1950 and came home to Toledo in 1952.
In addition to co-owning the Lustre Greeting Card Company with his father, Mr. McGiffin was a Toledo firefighter, assigned to Station No. 14 and Station No. 15 from 1953 to 1980. He also co-owned several Toledo area bars or nightclubs, including Parkside Bar, Dallas V Nightclub, and Sinbads.
Mrs. Gulch said her father was a gregarious, friendly person. "He was very social and always laughing and joking around," she said.
He and her mother built their dream home in the Grand Rapids area, using bricks from the Tiedtke's department store for the fireplace wall. The bricks were acquired after the downtown Toledo store was destroyed by fire in 1975 and the couple hand-cleaned each one.
Mr. McGiffin is survived by daughters, Diana Drouillard; Sandra Gulch, sons, Dean and Brad, and nine grandchildren.
Mrs. Gulch said Mr. McGiffin's funeral will include special services and honors accorded to firefighters and military veterans.
Visitation will be Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Walter Funeral Home, 4653 Glendale Ave. A combined funeral service for Mr. and Mrs. McGiffin will be at 1:30 at the funeral home. Military honors will follow at Toledo Memorial Park.
The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or Grand Rapids Care Center.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: email@example.com or 419-724-6159.