A Daughter’s Love

by Alden “Ace” Moore

As a working mother in the 1990s, Pam Jablonski couldn’t wait to escape Wisconsin’s icy cold winter and visit her parents in Brownsville. Bob and Lynn Bloedorn had retired and were spending their winters in Palm Resaca Park. Bob loved the culture of the area, the beauty of the park, the friendliness of its residents, and the opportunity to get involved in a variety of interesting and fun activities. As a retired Iwo Jima WWII vet, he loved getting involved with the Confederate Air Force and the now-defunct Texas Air Museum. Lynn loved helping in the park kitchen and getting involved in other park activities.  She also found doctors she “couldn’t live without.” One in particular, Dr. Gumbel, specialized in internal medicine. 

Pam remembers those special times when she visited her parents. “Mom would buy gulf shrimp, invite all her friends over, and throw a big party for me. I looked forward to coming down every year with my daughter, Nicki, and doing all the exciting things there are to do in the RGV and Mexico,” Pam said. “The teachers would give Nicki assignments to do while she was away and tell her to keep a diary. After Lynn passed in 2009, Pam continued her annual visits with her dad, which included their regular visit to Progreso, where everyone knew Bob. They had a regular parking spot for him and would always wash his vehicle. Pam and her dad would get a father/daughter pedicure and finish it off with a margarita.

“My parents were model residents,” said Pam.  They greeted newcomers to the park, making them feel welcome, and introduced them to other park residents. Lynn would often lead a group to Julia’s Restaurant in Los Fresnos to share a meal. Bob had a sharp wit and a dry sense of humor. Because of that, he could be a bit of a rascal, at times. When Lynn felt he had said enough, she would step in and say, “Now Bob, Honey, stop that.”

Bob became very active at the Iwo Jima Memorial Museum in Harlingen. He volunteered there every Saturday for 20 years. “I was always amazed at the reaction of the visitors when my dad shared some of his stories about being on Iwo Jima,” said Pam. 

Here is one of those stories: One day when the marines were under severe pressure, Bob looked around and saw that everyone else was dead. It was his mother’s birthday, and he asked God, “Please don’t let me die on my mother’s birthday.”  Seven thousand marines died on Iwo Jima, and over 20,000 were severely injured.

Bob loved woodworking, so he built many of the replicas on display in the Museum (cabinets, planes, Higgins boats, machine guns, and rifles, to name a few). He also built a replica of the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, where the Marine Corps was born. 

Ron’s dad was also an Iwo Jima vet, and it was his job to climb the sides of mountains to bring up communication cables. (Ron is Pam’s husband.)

Bob continued living in the park until 2019 when it finally became time for him to go home. “As I was driving my dad out of the park, I realized that many of the residents had lined up on the side of the road and saluted my dad as we drove by. It was such an emotional moment and one that I will never forget,” Pam recalls. When Bob died two years later, they had a memorial in Palm Resaca Park to honor his memory. 

Pam and Ron now live in the unit. “It’s so special to live in my parents’ house,” said Pam. “I have so many wonderful memories here.” Like her mother, Pam has also found a great doctor in the area who specializes in chiropractic/neurology and helps her with her headaches and restless leg syndrome. Ron says he is happy just to be out of the snow for the winter. “It’s nonstop fun,” he says. “One night it’s bingo, then poker. There are just so many things to do!”

“I take after my parents,” says Pam. “I just love being in our park with all the special people who are here, and I love volunteering to help, whenever I can. We plan to be here a very long time.”

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