Army 1st Sgt. Jose Crisostomo was a hero, an inspiration and a buddy, according to his grandchildren.
During a crowded and tear-filled mass today at Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Spanaway, they described how he loved them and encouraged them to live better lives, even more so than his.
Now, the soldier who died Aug. 18 in Afghanistan, less than two weeks before his 60th birthday, is their angel.
Tricia Crisostomo-Meyers, his daughter, said her father wanted to reenlist in the Army in 2008.
“When dad told us he wanted to go back to active Army service, I thought he was nuts,”she said, adding Crisostomo signed up for another year after his first tour was over.
The service was a traditional Catholic Mass with tributes to Crisostomo. During the traditional presentation of gifts, his children brought up an 18-pack of Budweiser and a tool belt, in addition to bread and wine.
The choir strummed Chamorro and English hymns on guitars and ukuleles. Some 400 people prayed, cried and laughed as family recounted Sinbad, which is what many people called Crisostomo.
In a hymn called “Asaina Un Anta Gue,” the last line the choir sang was, “Pues adios, Joe, adios, adios.”
“So goodbye, Joe, goodbye, goodbye.”