My father would be 98 today. His image now brings a sense of joy and peace. It was not always so. It brings a picture of honor and loyalty and caring in chaos. You did not know him, but he lost his father to suicide when he was nine. He fought in Africa and Europe along side Patton, being blown up in Italy by a German 88mm artillery shell. He survived, but only after six months in hospital and 18 surgeries. He was fully disabled, but you wouldn’t know it in his adapting.
He served many on boards in education, arts, symphony and social relationships, having been a founding member of several key non-profits. He pondered one day that it was all “meaningless” as Solomon once said of life. I tried to persuade him otherwise. He argued that his long-term friend who sent him into early retirement after 38 years of service to one company made a lot of money on Boards, why not me. Well, because you did it for the right reasons, Dad.
You wanted me to learn and serve and provided for education to the highest and best levels. Your uncle had paid for you and your brothers when there was no money at home. You were an example of service that caused me to serve.
You married a woman who was greatly talented as a writer and actress, but became an alcoholic, with undiagnosed bi-polar disease, and Alzheimer’s dementia. The difficulty of staying with her became overwhelming, so you had to leave to live. I respect that decision. You found friendship and compassion in your life again.
You suffered again with shoulder and hip surgery. During my last visit to your home in Florida, we spoke of your continued hatred of the Germans. We spoke of faith. You “dropped the rock” and forgave your injurers and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your sins forgiven. You died shortly thereafter a new man, now in heaven, safe and sound. Praise the Lord. Thank you Dad.