He was one of the best men I've ever known. He taught me to solder, to ride a bike, what to shout when a can of tomatoes falls on a bare toe, and how to be an actual man. A man who cares and believes in you, who builds you up by showing you how men should live by living that way himself.
My father was funny and smart. He had a great deep bass voice that could make anyone feel welcome or comfort them in difficult times. He was endlessly pragmatic, could do all of Heinlein's list of things a competent man should be able to do, and he was kind. He was not sentimental, but he was careful in the sense of being full of caring.
My dad lived just a few days short of 92 years, surviving the Great Depression, marriage to my wonderful mother, World War II, three smart assed teenagers, and more than thirty years of retirement after more than forty of work. He and my mom (both pictured above when they were just married) traveled around the country, marveling at autumn colors and streams and mountains for years until she lost herself in Dr. Alzheimer's namesake nightmare.
With a great deal of help from my sister, Dad cared for mom until she died six years ago. When she passed away, well before I created this blog, he was 85. Caring for her nearly killed him too, I think, but he finished the job like he did everything: it needed doing and he simply did it.
A few years ago Dad met a delightful lady named Betty and they became very close friends, doing everything together. She passed away in July, and I think Dad simply realized he was ready to get off the ride.
My dad died last week at nearly the age of 92. He'd been in excellent health until Betty died, and then it all changed. The last few months have been hard for all of us and I think they were for him too.
But like he did everything, it had to be done, and he just did it.
We'll miss you Dad. I'm proud of you, and I'm proud to be carrying along a little part of you. I'll try to be as good a man as you showed me how to be.