I didn’t really know how to write this even though I’ve known this time was coming for quite a while. How do you write a post about your dad and what he meant to you? How do you capture the spirit of a man who meant so much to you, who formed how you are and how you approach life in so many ways? A man who was so quiet on the outside, yet so full of life, wisdom, humor and love on the inside. I didn’t really know what kind of tribute I should write or how I should write it so I ended up simply writing down little things about my dad and before I knew it, I was actually capturing the spirit of this great man…
Such a gentle man.
Such a nice man.
The man who taught me how to be a man and how to be a good man.
A man who would listen.
A man who was both smart and wise in so many ways.
A man who taught me ‘if mama ain’t happy nobody’s happy’, a.k.a. happy wife, happy life.
A man who would watch Jeopardy and literally know almost every single answer (seriously).
A man who would create intricate playoff brackets just to see where we would go to dinner on Friday night.
The man who made a great giant crab for three little boys to wrestle against.
A man who never wanted to be late for church.
A man who helped the church, believed in the church and was really a part of the church.
A man who, if we didn’t get up early enough for church, would quietly walk to the stereo with a sound effects tape and play the submarine dive horn track… loudly at first, then if that didn’t work, really really loudly.
A man who was responsible, who worked hard every single day and always showed up for work.
A man who was a dedicated father and husband without fail.
A man who loved t-shirts that said things like “Gravity- it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law” and “STOP PLATE TECTONICS.”
A man who loved soccer, admired the great Pele and was a great coach who pushed this little guy to be a better soccer player.
A man who, more than once, highly encouraged us to share a movie he loved from his youth, such as The Boy With Green Hair.
A man who supported his sons in everything they did, from school to sports to stage and beyond.
A man who loved recycling, not only for the basic concept but also because it put a few extra cents back in his pocket.
A man who had a lot of health challenges throughout his life and somehow came through every single one.
A man my mom called the Energizer bunny because, despite any health challenge or setback, he just kept going and going and going.
A man who took up Olympic lifting and powerlifting after retiring and ended up being really good at them.
A man who has traveled around the globe, trekked through Nepal, stood at the base of Mt. Everest, and seen a lot more of the world than most everyone I’ve ever met.
A man who’s winter beard inspired me to do the same every winter.
A man who served in the Air Force and was proud of his service.
A man who’s sense of humor would catch you off guard with a quick joke, impersonation, intricate tale or fake injury that would always make us chuckle, if not laugh out loud.
A man who would take us to Sizzler and encourage us to go back for a second or third plate, even if we just got a little bit, simply so it would cut the cost per plate down each time (he loved getting a deal).
A man who could play devils advocate to most people, especially my mom, just because he could.
A man who hardly ever got mad.
A man who taught us to be gentle, humble and thoughtful.
A man who loved strange foods and random exotic beers.
A man who made us go to a restaurant called Rutabegorz, just because it sounded like it would have rutabagas (which they didn’t).
A man who respected authority, particularly that of his wife.
A man who loved history and heritage, especially our family’s.
A man who jokingly (I think) said I should name my first son Thor (just because) or Debartius Willard, because someone way back in our family tree was named that.
A man who then wrote a note to us about Brady my first son, “A fine fit lad and a tax deduction.”
A man who I could spend time with, without talking, just being, and be completely ok.
A man who was generous.
A man who was a fantastic grandfather.
A man who took care of his wife and kids.
A man who was summed up nicely in these three verses:
Do nothing out of selfishness or vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourself. ~Philippians 2:3
He who spares his words is truly wise, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. ~Proverbs 17:27
I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. ~2 Timothy 4:7
A man who was simply a good, good man.
A man who will be dearly missed and fondly remembered but never forgotten.
A man who will always be with us.
P.S. I can’t begin to thank all the people, particularly my mom, who helped take care of him the last few years. Your time, energy, love and support meant more than you’ll ever know.