Joseph Eagers Jr. served as an infantry combatant in World War II and Korea, then as a senior staff engineer in Vietnam in the 60s.
Having spent the last few months living in hospice, Eagers knew his days were limited. Before he died, he had one last wish: He wanted to visit the beach where he spent so much time with his family at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
He retired to the town in 1984, living there after his wife passed away at the age of 63. He wanted to return one last time, but in his state, it would have been impossible.
Jan Eagers, his eldest daughter, was keen to see his wish fulfilled, though.
"He hadn't been outside in over a year and a half," Jan Eagers, told The Island Packet. "He didn't open his eyes, but he knew he was in a special place."
Jan had moved out to Hilton Head in January when her father’s health turned worse so that she could be there to help him – something many were unable to do in the past year at the worst times of the pandemic.
"I just knew it was not going to be a long, long life. I wanted to be there for him, because no one was there for my mother. She just disappeared," Eagers said, according to the newspaper. "I promised myself I would be there for him at the end."
On April 19, she worked with hospice nurses to transport her father to Sea Pines Beach, where he spent time swimming with his family on summer visits and vacations.
Eagers sat on the beach for a time, seemingly at peace.
"He could smell the salt air, hear the ocean, feel the sun on his skin," Jan said. "His little gray hairs were blowing in the wind."
She then took her father to visit his home one last time, though, she doesn’t think he was aware of it at the time.
Joseph Eagers Jr. passed away the next day.
"I feel complete peace and no regrets regarding the last days of my father's life," Jan said. "It was very important to me to share this last adventure with my dad."
Eagers was buried in West Point, NY, at a later date, according to an obituary on Legacy.com.