Louis Robert Lordi was ‘always there for a friend in need’
dia.com The corner of Chew and Cheltenham was not always the safest place, but it was nothing compared to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Specialist Louis Robert Lordi grew up at the Philadelphia intersection before he moved to North Wales with his family when he was 18 years old. Lordi was one of the thousands of soldiers to lose his life in battle.
“At the age I was, I did not want move to North Wales,” Lordi’s younger sister Denise ( Lordi) Spear said. “( Louie) was only ( in North Wales) once and my parents gave him a big party before he left.”
On May 17, 1968 the 20- year- old brother of two ( George Jr. and Denise), died in the Saigon area during the heat of battle from multiple fragmentation wounds.
“They brought ( George) home from Vietnam and sent Louie over right away,” Spear said. “He was supposed to come home in October and you wait for him to come home. I was only 12 at the time and could not really understand it. Sometimes I think, ‘ Why did he not go to Canada?’”
Lordi was expected to return home in five months, but when two servicemen knocked on the door that mid- May day, Denise knew exactly what the message was. The tragic event could not of happen to a more likeable young man.
“He was quiet and very generous,” Spear said. “He always had money in his drawer and told our mom to take it if she ever needed it. She never took it, but that’s how he was.”
It was like any sibling relationship with a sixyear age gap. Louie did the babysitting and Denise did the pestering tactics that younger sisters enjoy. It was not until later in life did Denise realize how much she missed her older brother.
“I could be a bratty sister,” Spear said. “My brothers would be at the corner and give me a quarter to buy a pretzel stick so I would not tell Mom. After all these years, I still lose it sometimes.”
Friends of Lordi remember him as a jovial teenager. Not too athletic, not too talkative, but a nice guy always there for a friend in need. Fellow Vietnam vet and 1965 Cardinal Dougherty grad Jim Money spent years in the same classroom as Lordi, but really got to know him on the corner of Chew and Cheltenham Avenue.
“I graduated Immaculate ( Conception Parish) in 1961 with Louie and went all through grade school and high school together,” Money said. “He was always joking, always laughing, and always upbeat. He and Tommy Lyons ( also a Vietnam War casualty) were always walking home together. Tommy would have gone places with football, but Louie was not the athlete.”
When Lordi was not working Supco Automotive Sales he was spending time with friends and his fiancée ( Barbara). Money — who now resides in Herndon, Va. — remembers Louie as a guy who was friendly to the star athlete as well as the introverted student. His distinct traits made for friendly banter back and forth among the young men of Germantown.
“I swear he looked like Jiminy Cricket if you put a hat on him,” Money said. “He had the puffed up cheeks and the dark hair. I also remember he always had his collar unbuttoned. He would always laugh when I called him Jiminy Cricket. I was the conduct- disorder. Louie was never a disciplinary problem.”
Lordi was drafted into the Army of May 1967 and received the Combat Infantry First Award, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Purple Heart (according to togetherweserved.com). By all accounts, published and spoken, the world lost a kindhearted man that midMay day 45 years ago.
“We were young and the only thing we knew was Chew and Cheltenham,” Money said. “All we knew was cheesesteaks, hoagies and pretzels. The year Tommy Lyons and Louie were killed, I made sure to visit the memorial wall.”
On the WallW Panel 62 E, line 8