BVA Saddened by Loss Of Founding Father

by Dennis O'Connell

To borrow a line from a poem well known to many of us, the country is in mourning and the world is a little poorer, for a Soldier died today.

This is how I feel about one of the approximately 100 combat blinded men present at the March 28, 1945 meeting at Avon Old Farms, a meeting that resulted in the formation and organization of the Blinded Veterans Association.

Vincent J. Trypuc passed away on Memorial Day, May 30, at the age of 88.I first met Vinnie in 1995 and our friendship continued until his death. I was always impressed with his knowledge of almost everything. He was a truly gentle and intelligent man.

Vinnie was blinded at the age of 21 during a training accident in England in July 1944. He was hit in the face with a shotgun shell.

A long period of hospitalization and numerous surgeries finally brought him to Avon Old Farms in Connecticut for his convalescence and rehabilitation. He is on the list of founding fathers published in the special 50th anniversary issue of the Bulletin in 1995. To the best of our knowledge, Vinnie survived all but four of the unique and revered individuals on that list.

After leaving the service, Vinnie eventually enrolled at Columbia University, an Ivy League school. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree four years later.

Vinnie was active in the New York Regional Group and would travel from Long Island into Manhattan for the group's meetings. He was on the group's Board of Directors for eight years and he edited and mimeographed the regional group newsletter in the 1950s and 1960s.

He was a counselor for VA and assisted blinded veterans with various therapies. He also advised them of their benefits and discussed with them the problems related to their blindness. He was also a VA public relations officer.

Vinnie was a member of the Lighthouse Players for the Blind. He tested sensory devices for the blind developed by Haskins Laboratories and was an exhibitor for the Committee on National Employment of the Physically Handicapped, an initiative of President Harry S Truman.

Vinnie eventually joined his family business, Morat Corporation, Inc., as Vice President, working in that capacity from September 1959 to August 1974. Morat served the audio-visual needs, both as a wholesale operation as well as a retailer, of Long Island-based governmental agencies, religious and educational institutions, industrial companies, commercial photo studios, drug companies, stationery retailers, and many nonprofit organizations.

He left the family business to work for the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs as an investigator. He remained in that capacity for 20 years, finally retiring in 1994.

Vinnie was a remarkable man who seemed to master everything he put his mind to do.

A fairly recent example illustrates just how sharp his mind was. Vinnie's son, Steve, came to visit his dad within the past few months. They decided to play a game of chess. Steve had been playing seriously for several years and was three points from being classified a chess master. During the game, Vinnie asked the position of the pieces on the board just three times. After playing for an hour and 20 minutes, Vinnie emerged victorious.

I will miss Vinnie's friendship, wit, and cheerful telephone voice.

He is survived by his wife Patricia, five children, seven grandchildren, and five great- grandchildren.