Louis Robert Lordi was ‘al­ways there for a friend in need’

North Penn Life - - VOICES FROM VIETNAM - By An­drew Mar­cus

amar­cus@21st-cen­tu­ryme

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

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