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Tamaqua Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshal

A New England Valley veteran has been named as the grand marshal of the 2017 Tamaqua Veterans Day Parade.

Robert O. “Bob” Rarick says being named grand marshal is “an honor and privilege,” one he certainly didn’t expect

Rarick, 90, spent most of his life in the New England Valley, with the exception of his military service during World War II and the 17 years he lived in the Borough of Tamaqua. He spent 23 years as a Walker Township supervisor, including many years as chairman of the board.

For the past 69 years, he has been a member of the Tamaqua American Legion, C.H. Berry Unit 173, following his stint in the U.S. Navy. His ship, the USS Champlin, a destroyer, plied the waters in the Pacific Campaign during the war years. After coming home, he continued his military service with the U.S. Marine Reserves for eight years, completing 12 years of service.

Rarick joined the Navy with three close friends, Harvey Wall, Jack Lane and Billy Welsh, traveling to New York to enlist. While each went their separate ways after boot camp, they did occasionally bump into each other in the Pacific, catching precious minutes together before their ships passed in the night. He left the Navy at the rank of Yeoman Third Class.

He was a very popular man aboard ship, serving as secretary to the captain due to the typing skills he learned in Tamaqua High School.

“I was in charge of most of the paperwork, including leave orders, so no one wanted to get on my bad side,” he reminisces.

Once back on solid ground, he joined his father, Harold, and brothers, Arthur and Raymond, in the family business — Rarick and Sons Construction.

After he retired from the construction business, he continued to work, as an inspector for the Schuylkill County Home Rehabilitation program.

In addition to the Tamaqua American Legion, Rarick was also a longtime member of the Little Schuylkill Lions Club, where he was a past District Governor.

His late wife, the former Theresa Moyer, passed away in 1994. The couple had two daughters, Kathy Rarick, with whom Robert lives, and Beth Frace of Dillsburg.

He also has three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren who help him stay active.

The Tamaqua Veterans Day Parade will be held on Nov. 11, starting at the former Maff Motors at 900 E. Broad St. Staging will begin at 9 a.m., with the parade scheduled to start at 10 a.m., after a rifle volley at the Tamaqua Veterans Memorial. Marchers will then head west on Broad Street, finishing at the intersection with Lehigh Street.

After the parade, there will be a short service at the Tamaqua legion Post Home, 206 W. Broad St.

Parking will be banned along the parade route.

Parade organizers encourage everyone to be part of the event, either by walking, driving or riding in the parade. All veterans, their family members, individuals, businesses, civic groups, fire companies, youth groups, clubs, organizations, military vehicles and antique car enthusiasts are welcome. Simply show your support by taking part in the parade.

Robert O. “Bob” Rarick, 90, of New England Valley, will serve as the grand marshal for the 2017 Tamaqua Veterans Day Parade on Nov 11. KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS