Fifty Plus (50+) - Lost my father today...
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11-07-10, 07:52 PM
I know it's off topic, and I know it's not related to cycling. I just felt like writing.
Today, my father passed away, at age 87. The doctors would tell you he had heart failure, but I know it was a broken heart. We lost my mom, his wife of just under 67 years, in January. Dad was a stoic, and he never, ever complained, but he just wasn't the same without Mom.
Born in 1923, my dad was orphaned as a teenager. He was a waist gunner and radio operator in a B26, flying 65 combat missions in WWII.
He married his sweetheart, my mom, in 1943. They were together until she passed earlier this year. They built their own home in Ohio (and lived in it for 40 years), raised four children, and are survived by all four of us, eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.
My Dad was a quiet guy, who never, ever complained. In the sixty years I knew him, I heard him curse just once. His favorite "swear word" was "nuts!" I remember resenting my Dad when I was growing up because he was never around. I was too young to understand that he had to work two - and sometimes three - jobs to support his family.
My Dad worshipped my Mom; to the very end they held hands; they danced two or three times a week, and he still gave her a flirtatious smack on her butt when he walked past her.
He was the kind of guy who knew everyone. Mom would complain that it took too long to do the grocery shopping, because Dad was talking to the cashiers, other customers, anyone. He just loved to talk to people.
To the very end, Dad kept his sense of humor. Even this weekend, when he was in the hospital with a heart attack, he was joking with his nurses as long as he could.
Dad took up bicycling again just last year - buying a bike I found for him on Craigslist and riding it around his mobile home park when the South Florida heat wasn't too intimidating.
After I got the news this morning, I took a ride on my bike, and thought about my Dad. I'm really going to miss him. This past year, he and I worked on his "autobiography" and I'm so happy to have it. I'd send him questions via email, and he'd send me back the answers. I learned so much about his early life I never knew. I'll be able to share that with my brothers and sisters (who don't even know it exists) this week. It was one last gift he could give to us all.
I'm not terribly religious but I do think that Dad is reunited with Mom, after a short separation. We're going to have his service on Thursday, which is Veteran's Day. It's so appropriate. He was a hero - MY hero, for sure.
I love you Dad.
11-07-10, 07:55 PM
A very nice rememberance for what must have been a very great man.
11-07-10, 08:08 PM
He lived a good life, may he rest in peace. Condolences to you, your family and all of those who will miss him. I'm sure his spirit has touched many others who have met him but will not know of his passing.
11-07-10, 08:12 PM
I'm not terribly religious but I do think that Dad is reunited with Mom, after a short separation. He was a hero - MY hero, for sure.
I love you Dad.
He is. :thumb: Condolences DG.
11-07-10, 08:18 PM
It is really nice when our parents can write an autobiography for us. My dad set out to put a bit of his down a decade ago and it has been wonderful to read. My condolences for your loss. It sounds like you had a great dad.
Jim from Boston
11-07-10, 08:18 PM
That was a very nice tribute to a worthy member of the greatest generation. Just this week I was reading about a former governor of Michigan, William Milliken, who was in office when I lived there, and he too was a waist gunner and flew 50 missions, if I recall correctly. And I don't even like to fly. :(
11-07-10, 08:33 PM
My sincere condolences to you and your family, DG. Sounds like your dad was an exemplary individual who served his family and his country in a manner to which others should aspire.
11-07-10, 08:40 PM
Sorry about your loss.
You have my deepest sympathy, Gary.
Sorry for your loss, he sounds like a wonderful man. Thanks for writing and sharing the tribute.
11-07-10, 08:58 PM
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your dad. It is great that they had 67 years together. And definitely on-topic.
11-07-10, 09:03 PM
Thought I'd put up a picture or two. He still fit his army uniform in 2010! He's on the left in the second picture.
11-07-10, 09:07 PM
My condolences, Gary, for your loss.
Thanks for sharing the news with us along with your insights. I still recall your losing your Mom-seems like just weeks ago instead of months. It probably felt like an eternity to your Dad. Your parents sound like a great model for how to live a happy and rewarding married life.
My condolences, death truly sucks.
11-07-10, 09:23 PM
So sorry for your loss. It sounds like the story of his life has many extraordinary chapters.
11-07-10, 09:32 PM
Your heartfelt thoughts about your parents are proof that their wonderful lives live on in a son who will be the caring person their mother and father nurtered.
11-07-10, 09:42 PM
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. That was a lovely post and how wonderful for you to have had the opportunity to learn so much about your father's life and be able to share it now with your siblings. My thoughts are with you.
11-07-10, 09:54 PM
This past year, he and I worked on his "autobiography" and I'm so happy to have it. I'd send him questions via email, and he'd send me back the answers. I learned so much about his early life I never knew. I'll be able to share that with my brothers and sisters (who don't even know it exists) this week. It was one last gift he could give to us all.
So awesome you were able to get this done. My wife did something similar w/both of her parents before they passed - she learned a lot of stuff she had never known.
Sorry for your loss, he sound a lot like my Dad, he talks to everybody.
Aw Gary, I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear father. He sounds so much like my own dad, especially talking to everyone and joking with the nurses etc. You are blessed to have parents like yours, but that makes the loss much harder to bear.
11-07-10, 10:38 PM
It has been an up and down year for you. Sorry to hear about your dad's passing. Your comments are very genuine and touching, thanks for sharing. You are good with words.
cranky old dude
11-07-10, 10:44 PM
My condolences Gary.
You have my condolences Gary.
11-07-10, 11:25 PM
A very nice remembrance for what must have been a very great man.
+1 on that.... very nice indeed. I am very sorry for your loss. My dad only lived to age 64, passing away 19 years ago and I still miss him dearly. To every thing there is a season....
My condolences on your loss. That was a really nice post and tribute to your father!
That was a really nice post and tribute to your father!
Your comments are very genuine and touching, thanks for sharing. You are good with words.
Pars and Daspydyr said it well and what I was thinking.
Condolances on your loss. Same thing happened to my grandparents. Grand dad passed and a very short time later granny did, she missed him and I believe they were reunited like your parents are now.
11-08-10, 05:12 AM
Very sorry for your loss. Live in his memory.
11-08-10, 05:23 AM
He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
~Clarence Budington Kelland
Your father and your family will be in my thoughts on Veterans Day.
11-08-10, 07:49 AM
He sounded like a wonderful man. My thoughts are with you.
11-08-10, 08:30 AM
Very sorry for your loss. But from what you wrote, many people would be jealous of the treasure that you had. Sounds like you picked good parents. :thumb:
11-08-10, 08:53 AM
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.
My prayers and condolences to you and your family. It sounds like you have been left with many great family memories...a real blessing.
11-08-10, 09:30 AM
He was a waist gunner and radio operator in a B26, flying 65 combat missions in WWII.
:eek: He must have found life pretty darn sweet after that.
11-08-10, 09:52 AM
Our empathy too
11-08-10, 10:13 AM
My condolences, and thanks for sharing.
Very touching post, Gary. Sorry for your loss and happy that you came to know your dad in even deeper ways before he was taken.
Condolences to you and your family, DG. Your post is a wonderful tribute; I'm sure your parents are smiling.
11-08-10, 11:28 AM
In Canada, Nov. 11 is called Remembrance Day, and all public sector workers like me get the day off. We have ceremonies at 11 am at various cenotaphs all over the country. I usually ride my bike in the rain (it usuallly rains in Vancouver on Nov. 11, how appropriate) to Stanley Park where there is a cenotaph for Japanese-Canadian soldiers (my mother is Japanese). I like to meditate and think about the sacrifices made by all those young guys. This year, I won't be able to ride there (I'm recovering from surgery), but I promise to add your dad to the guys I honor on Remembrance Day. Thanks for the touching story!
11-08-10, 12:17 PM
My condolences for your loss. Another member of the Greatest Generation has left us.
11-08-10, 12:55 PM
My condolences for your loss. Another member of the Greatest Generation has left us.
I am sure he and your mother are together again. They certainly raised a very thoghtful son. Thank you for sharing your story.
11-08-10, 01:24 PM
As we all age, we all have to think about and deal with the death of our parents. Talking about it is a great hurdle jumped and will help with the grief and pain you are feeling. Be sure to keep friends, family and other loved ones close because right now this is all about you and surrounding yourself with love and comfort.
It's beautiful to hear such kind and passionate words about one's parent. Mine are both living and I can't say good things about either. I have a good friend who still tears about when she speaks of her mother's passing. It make me understand that childhood is not all about pain and fear and can be something lovely. Thanks for sharing...
My condolences. He sounds like a good man, I'll posit the world is better for him having been here. Reminds me that I need to call my Dad.
11-08-10, 01:40 PM
What a memory. Thanks Gee.
11-08-10, 01:45 PM
My condolences to you and your family, Gary, but I'm sure your dad is gonna be having a blast. ;)
11-08-10, 02:04 PM
I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who's responded. It feels good to hear all those kind comments. We were able to get the memorial scheduled for Veteran's Day, which is so wonderful. I fly to Florida on Tuesday. Again, thank you all - your heartfelt words mean a lot to me at this time.
67 years married! They must have both been Keepers!
11-08-10, 03:32 PM
I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who's responded. It feels good to hear all those kind comments.
Thank you for choosing to share your touching tribute with us on 50+. It may not be the most obvious place especially in the case of a parent who didn't ride much but it's a reminder of why this list is special.
Now that I think of it, it reminds me that my own father was the one who taught me how to ride a bike. Years later I realized that he, who had grown up in the Bronx during the Depression, had never ridden a bike himself and didn't know how. Considering how important riding has been to me, that was a pretty big gift. Lost him 20 years ago. I hope that it's some consolation to you that your mom and dad had such a good long run.
11-08-10, 03:43 PM
My sympathies to you and your family Gary.
Your post brought back a flood of memories, and sorrow for my own father's death 25 years ago: he was 50, I was 27. It sounds like your father had that charm and charisma that everyone loved him for. Just like my dad xo.
As you said he was a hero to you, but he was an American hero as well, and our country will be honoring him on this, and every Veteran's Day. A great man, with a big heart . . . and a great smile : )
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