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Nov 21 2013

I have picked this subject for my second blog because it happens to be fresh in my mind.  About a month ago, at my church here in Phoenix, our Pastor put out a call for stories illustrating how doing something on behalf of another person can turn out to be a blessing not only to that person but to yourself as well.  I responded with a story of my own, and was asked to present this story during church service a couple of weeks ago.

The story is fairly short, and so, for my second blog, I present it as follows:


By Frank Barber

This is a story of how God gave me an opportunity to write a book on behalf of a good friend of mine, and how this became a blessing not only to him and his family but also to me.

The writing of this book happened because my long time friend, Dan Smith, decided he wanted to write a book of memoirs of his experiences in World War II in the European theater.  Dan and I have been close personal friends for 73 years.  We are both 93 years old and we both now live in the Phoenix area.  We first met when we were 20-years olds in a bicycle club that was organized in 1940 in the Chicago area.  In 1942 World War II was upon us, and he enlisted in the Army and I in the Navy.  He became a war hero, with silver, bronze and purple heart medals, as well as the French Legion Merit of Honor award.  When enlisted, he became a part of the famous 30th Division, which trained in the US and then assembled in England in early 1944 and took part in the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach in Normandy.  He was a reconnaissance scout in the 30th Division when it drove in combat battle for one whole year, chasing the retreating German forces across France, Belgium, and Holland and then across Germany to a point just short of Berlin, when the war ended.

After the war, Dan never talked very much about his experiences in the war, but for the past 5 or 6 years he has been feeling an urge to get something down on paper.  Dan is a man of many talents, but writing stories is not one of them.  In fact, during the years, when occasions would arise where he wanted to write a story or a letter or something, he would come to me, and I would do the writing.  He kept telling me that, since I am a lawyer, I should know how to write.  So, here I am now, having agreed to act as co-author in the writing of his book of memoirs, with him doing the talking and me writing the book and getting it published.  The book is now finished and it has been published and is available on and also on Kindle and other e-book sites.  The name of the book is “Daniel D. Smith MEMOIRS OF WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE.”

When Dan and his family came to me with the request that I work with Dan on this book, my first reaction was that this would be a BIG burden.  I’m busy with a lot of other things, and this would consume every spare moment of my time for the next year.  At the same time, though, I knew that it was something I just could not refuse to do.  Dan and I have been best friends for over 70 years, and it had to be done.  Therefore, we started on a schedule in which I would show up at his house in Sun City, Arizona, every Friday at 1:00 p.m, with my tape recorder, and we would spend 2 or 3 hours, while he would talk about the adventures of the current chapter that we were working on, and then I would go back to my home in Moon Valley and work on writing up the information I had gathered.

The important thing I want to tell you is that, from the very beginning,  I found myself being ENTHUSED about writing this book, and ENJOYING it and WITH NO REGRETS ABOUT DOING IT.  I was honing whatever skills I already had in the way of preparing text for publication, and I was learning new skills, such as drawing maps on the computer, and processing photographs for including in the text, etc., -- not to mention the intricacies of getting a book ready for publication under today’s rules and technology.

In my mind, what happened was a perfect example illustrating the theme of this project.  The Lord gave me an opportunity to share my gifts and skills, and not only was it a blessing to Dan and his family (they repeatedly thank me and tell me that the book has been a blessing to them) but it turned out to be a huge blessing to me as well.  It added a whole year to my life – a whole year of doing something that was productive and enjoyable and helpful to other people, and doing the kinds of things that it takes to stay healthy and live life to its fullest during retirement.

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Meet Frank

Frank was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1920. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and a Juris Doctor Degree from DePaul University School of Law, Chicago. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, he has worked  as an intellectual property attorney for the same firm for over 65 years.

After retiring in 1985, he has continued as a legal consultant for the company and has developed a second career, specializing in computer databases. He still donates his time at the Law Department and devotes considerable time and effort doing volunteer work on databases for the Research Library of the Phoenix Art Museum.

“My activities for the Law Department and for the Phoenix Art Museum keep me busy for most of my time and, in my mind, are responsible in large part for being able to stay healthy and live life to the fullest since my retirement in 1985.”

But that is not all that Frank does with his days. He, along with his co-author and friend Dan, published a book about Dan’s days as a solider during the campaign through Northern Europe during the WWII. In addition, more recently, Frank has written a new book named “TOBY-(He’s My Dog)”, which has been published and is available on-line from

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