Robert Sokol
54 Years Old

May 22, 1934 to July 9, 1988

My dad's biggest accomplishment was his ability to overcome the evil that surrounded him as a child to become a loving, caring adult. He was abandoned by his parents as a child and grew up in an orphanage in New York City during the 1940's. My father never experienced love as a child. He was deeply affected by this, and remained a shy, withdrawn person most of his life.

Four years before his death, my father suffered an injury that left his legs paralyzed. The complete paralysis lasted for six months, and my father only slowly regained the use of his legs over the following months. Though a tragedy, it also served to change his life for the better. My father became an emotional, loving person. He went from giving me handshakes to hugging and kissing me. He told me he loved me and was proud of me - words that I had not heard before. And my father was happier. He saw that life was precious, and appreciated the little things - things that money couldn't buy. His joy in life increased immeasurably.

My father was not a perfect person, and did things I wish he hadn't done. But he was also able to rise up from his background and from his injuries - both mental and physical - to become a caring person. He always volunteered his time when someone was needed to help out, be it Cub Scouts, Special Education classes, or Little League Baseball. He wanted to let kids experience things that he had been unable to experience as a child.

I wish the father I knew the last four years was the father I had had all my life. I am still trying to make sense of why God allowed his murder to happen - especially so soon after my dad's transformation as a person into the type of father I had wished I'd always had. All I can do is be thankful for the time I had with my dad, and hope that others in the future don't have to endure the pain that I and my family have felt.


My dad was murdered in a public park as he walked back to his car after a game of paddleball. The shooter used a handgun. The case is unsolved.

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