R.I.P. Dad 1923-2008
My Father passed away Monday, December 22nd, 2008 from a massive heart attack. Dad was 85 years old. Mere words cannot describe the man he was or how he influenced me, our family, and the many he helped along the way.
Dad was the youngest of 7 children. (Just like me) Dad was preceded in death by his son George, his sisters, Sadie, Helen, Mary, Libbs, Aida, and his brother George.
He leaves behind his wife (Delores) of almost 60 years. Next month is Dad and Mom’s 60th wedding anniversary. Also, two sons, Jack, and Patrick, (Me) four daughters, Carol, Marilyn, Nancy, and Sally.
Dad was a World War II veteran serving in General George Patton’s 3rd Army, 249th Combat Engineers. Dad saw action IN the Battle Of The Bulge, perhaps the bloodiest battle in the European Theater, the Rhine Crossing, and liberated several concentration camps.
Dad once told me that he and his unit would draw straws to see who drew first round to sweep for mines before the tanks would roll into new territory. That day it was Dad’s turn to be first out. It was also a day that Patton was touring the unit which was very rare. When Patton learned what the men were doing, (Drawing straws) he immediately donned the mine sweeping gear and took first sweep.
Dad and Mom made sure the children were well traveled. By the time I was 15, I had visited all 48 continental states. Most of the vacations we went on was via the car. Nine people (Yes, 9, Mom, Dad, and the 7 children) in a station wagon driving from coast to coast. On one trip out West to California, we had been driving over 600 miles in one day already. Our destination was Flagstaff, Arizona for the evening. About ten minutes later, we saw a sign that said, FLAGSTAFF, 180 MILES.
All the kids moaned knowing we had another 3 hours in the car and pleaded for Dad to stop. But we all knew Dad’s motto was to “Press On!” And press on we did. We made Flagstaff in under three hours. The next day, California.
Growing up, I butted heads with my father on plenty of occasions. We argued a lot. I felt I was right in my thoughts. Dad would always remind me to look at the big picture of life. Not just one moment in time. He explained that sometimes what may seem right and correct right now might not be the prudent course for the future. Dad was always right. It took many years to understand that his advice was always to benefit me in the long run. I find myself passing along the exact same advice and logic to my son. And at the age of 21, I believe he realizes my experience and advice benefits him.
Dad taught me to have faith, but not blindly believe. In both religion and politics. To love your family unconditionally, without exception. To help and offer charity, even when not asked. To respect the brave men and women in the military who have served and protected our country. To work hard, to know your job better than anyone else in the company. To listen what others have to say. To be a Vikings fan. To love God, pray hard. And to laugh out loud.
And he taught me to Press On.
An Irish Prayer
May those who love us, love us;
And those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
But if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles.
So we’ll know them by their limping.
Rest In Peace Father
Your Loving Son – Patrick
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LURKING, PRESSING ON, ON THE GRASSY KNOLL