Decorated World War II veteran Stephen Mileusnich was stoic about whatever life brought his way.
“He just accepted it,” daughter Kim Rock said. “He never questioned why anything happened to him. He took everything with a grain of salt and moved on.”
Mileusnich was on his own from age nine.
“He pretty much raised himself,” Rock said. “He was bounced back and forth. He shined shoes. He had a hard life.”
Mileusnich, 87, of Crown Point, served in the US Army in France and Germany as a tech sergeant with the military police. He was awarded many medals including two Bronze Stars.
“When he was in the Battle of the Bulge, he got trench foot so he is a disabled vet,” Rock said. “He spent six months in a foreign hospital.”
Mileusnich was a participant in the Honor Flight Program, which helps veterans travel to Washington D.C.
“He loved it,” Rock said. “It was such a great experience for him and such a nice program.”
Mileusnich met his wife of 66 years, Dorothy, when she worked in a movie theater in the harbor. He worked 34 years at Inland Steel as a machinist and foreman.
“He grew up with never having enough but always gave us everything,” Rock said.
A hard worker, Mileusnich was also a proficient mechanic and woodworker, making sleds and other items for his children, finishing the basement and building an addition onto the family home. He made Easter bunnies for the grandkids to hold their treats in.
“Before his girls could get their drivers licenses, he made us learn to change a tire,” Rock said.
Most of all, Rock said, she will miss her father’s support.
“You could always count on him being there if you needed anything,” Rock said.
Rock said her father made his girls call when they arrived home after leaving him and made “Hallmark” holidays special with his gifts.