Long Beach Police Patrol Lt. Jack Radin, 54, gave the eulogy at the ceremony, where he described his father as a man of honesty, ingenuity, and vision, and said that he always provided his family with unconditional love.
“The long line of tributes, gifts and sweet sentiments has been overwhelming,” he said at the service. “It’s been like the last scene of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ when Harry Bailey toasted his brother, George; we feel like our Dad was the richest man in Long Beach.”
Jack thanked those in attendance for a “tremendous outpouring of love and support,” noting that his father made a difference in the community. “He didn’t change the world or make headlines,” he said, “but was simply a great guy who touched a lot of people and made this city a better place.”
Oceanside resident Vincent Vanella, 66, met John six years ago through the American Legion Victor Murtha Post 972 of Long Beach. John had been a member of the Post since the early 1960s, family said.
Vanella said that Radin Sr. was instrumental in the formation of the Veterans Walk of Honor, located on the bay behind the Long Beach Recreation Center off West Bay Drive. The area is a tribute to current and past military, he said, and has a small monument and walkway inscribed with the names of veterans. Ceremonies for events such as Flag Day are held there, he said.
“It’d be hard for anyone to fill his shoes,” Vanella said, describing John as a “great patriot,” someone with pride in his country and his flag. “He would go with his wife to the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center to cheer up the troops once a month.”
Asked about some of his favorite memories of his friend, Vanella said that it was John’s simple acts of kindness that spoke volumes of the type of person he was.
“I have back problems, and he’d say, ‘Don’t worry about driving’ and go out of his way to pick me up to go to [Legion] meetings,” he recalled. “You couldn’t ask for a better friend.”
Friends and family members said that he will always be remembered for his compassion, his benevolence, and his willingness to help others in the community.
“He was a very, very loved man,” Jeanne said. “He was very proud of his country. The American flag was important to him, and Long Beach was his life.”