Wharton: Henry Ellis Sohl, Sr, (Buff), a devout Catholic, died peacefully on July 5,2019, aged 93 years. Loving and beloved husband for 72 years to his WWII nurse sweetheart Dorothy (Dot) , they together raised five children: Pat (Torben Gronning), Peggy (Mike Fitzpatrick), Dot (Bill Hummel), twins Henry (Laura “nee Gryson”) and James (Jodi “nee Zackowitz”), and enjoyed a rich family life that embraced niece Nancy (Joe Mueller Davis), 15 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren. He loved to travel, especially to visit family across America and in Europe.
Known and respected for his inner moral compass, he never met a stranger. He was generous in his understanding and acceptance of others, often acting as a Good Samaritan towards those less fortunate or in need. He welcomed people from all walks of life into our home, telling them “you’re only a stranger for 10 minutes, then you do dishes like everyone else”.
Among Buff’s talents were cooking a secret spaghetti sauce; his infectious and gentle sense of humor, complete with near-perfect foreign accents; singing in his deep bass/baritone voice in St. Mary’s Men’s Choir and on Sunday car rides; and a unique calming humming for crying “little ones” - and their parents - a real “baby whisperer”. He also gave the greatest hugs.
A humble member of the Greatest Generation, Buff served with distinction in the US Merchant Marines, as an anti-aircraft gunner during WWII. He was engaged in direct enemy action, in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. In the well-known news photo of the Normandy Beach Invasion, Buff’s ship is among those in a line on the horizon; “simply doing our job of supporting the Allied Forces”.
Professionally, he was a structural ironworker; a proud member of the International Structural Steel Bridge and Decorative Ironworkers (Local 11). His work involved numerous famous landmarks in the greater NYC area, and other complex projects, such as the nuclear power station in Mineral, VA. His favorite role as an ironworker was being on the “raising gang”. At home, he loved raising his own gang. His family and friends knew him as a “hard hat, with a soft heart”.
It is with deep love and appreciation that we will miss Buff/Dad/Grandpa and do our best to carry on his legacy of integrity.
Visitation will be held 4:30pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday, July 10th , 2019 at the Bermingham Funeral Home, 216 S. Main St., Wharton. A funeral mass will be held 10:30am on Thursday, July 11th, 2019 at the funeral home. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hurd Street, Mine Hill, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
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