MERIDEN — Friends and family this week remembered city native Raymond Mik Sr., a war hero and survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima, who died earlier this month at the age of 97 at MidState Medical Center.
Mik, who called Meriden home for his entire life, graduated from then-Meriden High School and enlisted in the Marine Corps in June of 1942. He served with the 4th Marine Division and was part of the third wave that attacked Iwo Jima, a Japanese held island, in some of the bloodiest fighting of the Pacific War.
When he returned home, he served as the Silver City Detachment Marine Corp league paymaster for 33 years.
”The phrase ‘once a Marine, always a Marine’ was very true for him,” Mik’s daughter Judy said. “We threw him a surprise 97th birthday party this July, and Marines from Newington and Glastonbury came. They gave him a medal for his service at Iwo Jima. I’m so glad we threw that party. It was also like a going away party in a way.”
Mik served as president of the Holy Name Society at St. Stanislaus Church in Meriden for seven years, giving back to a faith he kept with him when his life was in danger overseas.
”He always wore the rosary around his neck when he was in battle,” Judy Mik said. “He believed it kept him alive. It’s amazing he survived the fierce battles he was in.”
Mik frequently wrote letters to the editor in the Record-Journal and other newspapers.
“If there were injustices out there, he drew attention to it,” his daughter said. “He taught me to speak up when you feel something isn’t right.”
Mik’s teachings spread beyond his family.
”He just reiterated the Marine Corps spirit,” said Ron Perry, who assumed Mik’s role as paymaster at the Marine Corps League after Mik left the position. “He had honor and respect. He took me under his wing when I came out of service after Vietnam. He taught me a lot. He was a great guy.”
”The theme of (Raymond’s) life was all about service,” Judy Mik said at her father’s Sept. 15 funeral. “Service to his family...to his country...to his community, and most importantly, service to God.”
Mik is also survived by his son Randy and daughter in law Donna Adduci, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of 70 years, Winifred (Minery) Mik, according to his obituary.