This morning at 7 AM, my dad passed away peacefully at home with his wife and two of my sisters by his side.
He was a quiet man with a love of learning. He embraced that love with lots of travel, stamp collecting, bird watching, reading, and keeping up with current events. All around his house are mementos and photos of the interesting life he lived. He worked hard and carefully managed his resources so that he could have the life he wanted. (Skimp on the ketchup, take a cruise.) We poked gentle fun at him, but we love him deeply.
He showed us as much of the world as he could, taking us camping and on vacations every chance he had while we were growing up. He made sure we had plenty of opportunities to learn new skills and have our own adventures. His children, and at least one grandchild, inherited his wanderlust. He made sure he enjoyed his time on earth. Following his example, we found things we love to do and make time to do them.
Dad taught us to be true to ourselves, not to compare ourselves to “Susie Jones,” and to be individuals. He may have regretted encouraging our individuality from time to time, especially in the teen years. Both of our parents stressed the need to be responsible for our own choices and to stand up against peer pressure. One of his favorite lines was, “If Susie Jones steps in dog poo, are you going to step in dog poo?”
I cannot justly describe his personality, but he was a good man, full of goodwill, incredibly smart, with a subtle sense of humor and a wonderful smile. He could not bear to see his kids unhappy and did his best to make sure we were okay. He was not perfect, in fact, many of our favorite stories involve something that went awry, but he was amazing in his own way. My favorite stories are of Hero Dad: how he had to knock a hole in his bedroom to rescue my hamster who fell down between the walls; the time he saved my catfish when its whiskers were caught in the net; and the day he surprised me with a new pet mouse after tragedy struck and my mouse, Hazel, died.
I like to think that our family dogs, especially Custard and Angel, his Bullmastiffs, are overjoyed to be with him once again.
We love and miss you, Dad!