O’Neal Gordon Paradis was born in Norridgewock, Maine, on Jan. 28, 1928. At the age of 15, he served as a member of the Maine State Guard Reserve from 1943 to 1944. Then he transferred to the Maine State Guard until he enlisted in the Navy on his 17th birthday in January 1945.
He completed his basic training at Sampson Naval Training Center in New York. Paradis then served at Naval Air Station Sanford in Maine and at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia until the end of World War II. He re-enlisted in the Navy in June 1947, and he served until May 1952.
During his service in the Navy, Paradis was assigned to carrier support units with the USS Leyte (CV-22) and the USS Kearsarge (CV-33). He then served on the USS Antietam (CV 36), USS Doyle (DMS 34) and USS Firecrest (AMS 10).
During the Korean War, he served on the USS Doyle. The ship’s crew earned four battle stars for mine sweeping and fire support operations. In addition to the World War II Victory Medal, Paradis received the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal for Korea.
After the Korean War, he returned home to Maine and went to Fort Kent State College on the GI Bill and earned a bachelor’s degree in education. He taught elementary school for 27 years including two years in Caribou, Maine, and 25 years in Southington, Conn. Paradis is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He belongs to the National Education Association.
Paradis was predeceased by his loving wife of 61 years, Louella, in 2012. Together they raised three children. He lives in Rotonda West, Fla., and he loves visits from his six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
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Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic artist: Adam Stump