“Hi, I’m Arnold. Will you marry me?” With those words to a young red-headed girl with green eyes, Arnold Corr changed his life. “Her name was Sue Brennan and it took me about two hours to get an answer from her, but she said yes,” recalled the 88-year-old San Marco resident who lost his beloved Sue two years ago after 65 years of marriage.
Corr & wife
Although they both grew up in Rocksbury, Mass. (a suburb of Boston), Arnold and Sue had never laid eyes on one another until that fateful day when he walked into a room, saw her sitting on a chair, and asked her to marry him. It was 1942. She was 16 years old. At 17, Arnold had just enlisted in the Navy and was set to be deployed the next day. Before they parted, Arnold made a serious vow to Sue: “If you’re with anybody when I come back, I will not kill him, but he’ll wish he were dead.”

Sue waited for Arnold to return from the South Pacific, where the Navy had him classified as a baker, but he was actually doing underwater demolition. “They still have me classified as a baker and I’ve talked to them about it and asked them to change the classification, but they won’t do it,” Arnold said. “The truth is the truth, though. There were few records of what we did in the South Pacific. We were the first Navy Seals and we went where we were assigned.”

Arnold finished the war in Okinawa. He received many letters from Sue while at war, and one of them held a photograph of her posing in a two-piece bathing suit. “I saw that picture and I knew there was no way anyone could kill me,” said Arnold. “I was going home to that beautiful redhead!”

They were married on June 26, 1947 and lived happily ever after as far as Arnold is concerned. “My redhead was my life,” he recalled, eyes misting over as he spoke of his late wife.  “She could sing and dance and write and draw and cook – she was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother – everyone loved my Sue – everyone!”

Arnold and Sue Corr moved to Jacksonville about 20 years ago at the urging of their daughter, Marcia Luettchau, a Guidance Counselor at Dupont Middle School, after long and productive lives in Boston, New Jersey and New York. They moved into Baptist Towers in San Marco several years ago and for five of those years, Sue was completely bedridden and Arnold was her loving caregiver. When she passed away, Sue was survived by her daughters Marcia Luettchau of Jacksonville and Laura Latshaw of Philadelphia, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and, of course, her grieving husband Arnold, who carries six photos of Sue in his wallet and takes them out to gaze at them daily.

A longtime member of Congregation Ahavath Chesed on San Jose Blvd., Arnold has turned to God for help in filling his life now that his beautiful redhead has departed. “Our holy book, the Torah, tells us that Jewish people are supposed to help all people, and that’s what I’ve always done, but now I’m doing even more of it,” he said. Arnold volunteers five days a week for at least four hours a day. On Mondays and Fridays, he works at the Humane Society. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he’s at River Garden Nursing Home, and on Wednesday, he works at Ronald McDonald House. On May 6, the Humane Society celebrated Arnold’s 88th birthday with a party and a cake, and featured him in a special printed bulletin with photographs of him surrounded by the ladies in the thrift store.

Printed matter and photographs mean a great deal to Arnold, as is immediately evident upon entering his studio apartment at Baptist Towers. Every wall and surface is covered with memorabilia, some of it quite impressive. There is a letter from President Harry Truman congratulating Arnold for his service to his country, there is a colorful anniversary poster board celebrating 65 years of wedded bliss, there is a photograph of his granddaughter, Attorney and Navy Captain Alison Latshaw, a photograph of Arnold holding his great-grandson, Scotty Latshaw, and a Certificate of Appreciation, with a photo of Dorothy Townsend and Arnold Corr, thanking him for participating in Black History Month at Baptist Towers.  One of his most treasured mementos is a framed composition of a congressional award presentation when he was honored by Congressman Ander Crenshaw for his service in World War II. Posing proudly next to that treasure, Arnold wears several symbols of love and service to mankind, including his WWII Veteran’s Cap, his Jewish Chai (Life) symbol, his 50-year-old Masonic ring, and his Humane Society T-shirt. Grinning, Arnold straightened his shoulders and flexed his muscles.
“I still work out with weights and run three miles every day,” he noted. “An old guy has to keep in shape and I learned in Okinawa the difference between the martial arts they teach in our military (defensive) and the real thing (offensive).” Old guy, indeed, Arnold Corr is a true American hero who renews his strength physically by working out and spiritually by praying each Friday evening at Congregation Ahavath Chesed. “I want to help people because that’s what the Torah says we should do, and because of my redhead,” he concluded. “She was a gift from God and now I thank Him for her by helping others.”

By Susan D. Brandenburg
Resident Community News

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