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Old 11-07-10, 07:52 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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Lost my father today...

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.
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Old 11-07-10, 07:55 PM   #2
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A very nice rememberance for what must have been a very great man.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:08 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post

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. Condolences DG.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:18 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:18 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:33 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:40 PM   #8
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Sorry about your loss.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:42 PM   #9
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You have my deepest sympathy, Gary.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:44 PM   #10
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Sorry for your loss, he sounds like a wonderful man. Thanks for writing and sharing the tribute.
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Old 11-07-10, 08:58 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your dad. It is great that they had 67 years together. And definitely on-topic.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:03 PM   #12
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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.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Dad Uniform 2..jpg (103.9 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg scan0001..jpg (65.6 KB, 48 views)
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Old 11-07-10, 09:07 PM   #13
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Condolences, DG.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:16 PM   #14
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My condolences, Gary, for your loss.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:17 PM   #15
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:21 PM   #16
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My condolences, death truly sucks.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:23 PM   #17
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So sorry for your loss. It sounds like the story of his life has many extraordinary chapters.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:32 PM   #18
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:42 PM   #19
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D.G.
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.
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Old 11-07-10, 09:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
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.
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Old 11-07-10, 10:06 PM   #21
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Sorry for your loss, he sound a lot like my Dad, he talks to everybody.
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Old 11-07-10, 10:27 PM   #22
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 10:38 PM   #23
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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.
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Old 11-07-10, 10:44 PM   #24
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My condolences Gary.
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Old 11-07-10, 10:45 PM   #25
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You have my condolences Gary.
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