The passing of Wilbur Thomas Dickens

Well I can think of no better way to do this, than to share an email I just sent to Wilbur's daughter Ann. I received an email letting me know, Wilbur Thomas Dickens passed away on June 14, 2010, and never got a chance to see the documentary. She didn't know her father had submitted any kind of material to me, and hasn't had a chance to view the production yet.


For all of you who have been faithful followers and now viewers of my documentary, the name will ring in your head.


Two letters are below; one sent first to Steve - the other to Ann. Oh this is a sad day indeed! :tearyeyed:


Dear Steve:


Was going to call this morning, but knew I would only break out into tears. I have really bad and sad news; Wilbur Thomas Dickens has died, and I just found out minutes ago when I sat in front of my computer with a cup of coffee.


Below is an email from his daughter, whom I've never met, informing me Wilbur died on June 14, 2010. Evidently and you will get the same impression when you read it, he never let her know about any of his contributions to the site or the documentary.


I need to answer her letter right away, but had to write to you first, for I read it, and then shouted out loud, "DAMN you Wilbur, why couldn't you have waited just a bit longer!!!!!" Sigh! You can imagine how distraught I am this morning, as I know you will be upon reading this. Sorry I had to do this in an email, but was the only way to try and maintain my composure this AM. I am so sad he will never get to see the documentary. Oh I am bummed....


I will call you later to talk... Am sitting here right now bawling like a baby and looking at the DVD of the two of you sitting on my desk.




Dear Ann:


First off I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear of your father's passing, and in honesty, am sitting here bawling like a baby right now.


It must appear odd for you to read that, for I am just a stranger to you, but had a wonderful relationship with your father for several years. You see, your father and my father were both members of the 540th Combat Engineers, and your dear dad had supplied me with a wonderful complete history of the unit, along with cherished photos. In fact, he is one of the main characters for my documentary, No Bridge Too Far, and it just breaks my heart in two, knowing that he will never get to see part one. I knew he would be so proud to be one of the representatives for his unit.


He also recently did a two-hour interview with one of my friends, Steve Casey, who visited with your father just a few months ago. Steve's dad was Major Donald Casey, and I guess Steve and Wilbur had a great time together. Steve sent me a copy of the video interview and in fact it sits on my desk. I look at the photo of Steve and Wilbur every morning, and it always serves as inspiration for me.


I am trying not to babble on incessantly, but feel there is so much to say to you. But, I just want to thank you for letting me know, even though I hate getting this kind of news. As you can imagine, "my boys" as I so affectionately refer to them, are getting "up there", and I am starting to get more and more of these notices. Breaks my heart each time, but a few are always more difficult than others, as I've grown especially fond of certain individuals.


But, let's touch base on the DVD. It is a standard DVD, created by a publishing house, and will play on any DVD player, including computers. I can't imagine why it won't function unless it was damaged in transit. I've had over 75 people receive and play them without a hitch (although one was scratched and the company replaced it). Does the menu come up, for that should happen automatically? Once the menu displays, then you simply click on the Title, and it should run. Please let me know and I will try and assist you. Sorry for the frustration!


Oh btw, I just found out yesterday, the production is going to air via Bergen Community College's public television audience in New Jersey, this September. That would have made your dad very proud. For HIS combat engineer's are finally getting their long overdue recognition.


Before I sign off this morning, I wanted to let you know the last time I spoke with your dad on the phone, he talked about his family and told me how very, very proud he was of his children. That always stuck in my head, and I felt it was important to share with you.


With deep regret,


Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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