Former POW Who Survived WWII, Garland Tornado, Has Died

Update: Grady Stanley, a World War II prisoner of war who survived the Garland tornado, passed away Saturday morning. Below is the original story, published Dec. 29:

Side-by-side Jo Ann and Grady Stanley have faced life together for 64 years.

Jo Ann Stanley is a former nurse and Grady Stanley is a retired mailman and World War II veteran.

Now 95 years old, Grady vividly remembers the 3 and a half years he spent as a Japanese prisoner of war. He survived the horrific Bataan Death March.

"I was captured in April of 1942 and I was 22 then," Grady said. "I was just a tough little nut, I guess."

On Saturday, that toughness was proved again when a deadly tornado tore apart his home along Garland’s Zion Road. What’s left of his home and memories are now scattered along the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard.

"Well, I am just too old to put up with this crap," Grady said.

His spirit unharmed, Grady survived the storm inside his bathroom shower. Grady, Jo Ann and their son crammed inside the tiny space as the tornado ripped apart the home.

After the storm passed, the couple and their son sought shelter inside their vehicle. That’s where they remained stuck for the next 12 hours. The vehicle was unable to move due to debris and rescuers were unable to reach them.

"There was no help," Jo Ann said. "They had too many things going on with really bad injured people, but we were not hurt."

On Wednesday the Stanleys returned to see the damage. Tears came for the first time as Jo Ann looked at all they lost. His eyesight and legs failing, Grady stayed in the car. His kids say maybe it’s for the best.

"You survive a tornado like that, I guess you’re lucky to survive," said Grady Stanley.

Grady and Jo Ann built this dream home 43 years ago. Now it’s time to start over.

"We had a good life with our travels and our children," Jo Ann said. "But I don’t know what the Lord has in mind for us now. We’ll see."

For more information on how to contribute to the Stanely Family, click here.

Click here to read more on Grady's service to his country from our partners at The Dallas Morning News.

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