-Many of you here know our father as a distinguished pilot who flew many types of military and commercial aircraft throughout the world and taught many others how to fly the same. -Maybe you know him as a golf player who was always trying to perfect his game with a goal to someday golf his age. -Or maybe you are a tennis friend as he always enjoyed the camaraderie and exercise of that game. - Or you could be a fellow bridge player as he loved the thinking, strategy and social fun of cards. If you spent anytime with our Dad you knew he was a great teacher at all these and he was always willing to pass the wisdom on.
Our father was a great teacher to us kids and he did it all by example. He taught us at an early age how to be self sufficient. When he fixed the dryer or some other broken appliance he would have us stand next to him so he could show us what he was doing and hand him tools. He made us work on our first cars standing right next to us guiding and helping us. When we strayed or tried to cut corners he got us back on track. Even most recently he helped us build decks, fences, a garage and even a chicken coop up in Alaska. He was always adamant about taking your time and making sure you were doing the job right.
Somewhere along the way while we were handing him a wrench while he was lying under the car changing the oil or holding the maul in the wood while he swung the sledgehammer, he taught us about life, family and future and while we did not know it at the time, he was instilling the values that drive our lives today
He put a strong work ethic in us kids at an early age having us work paper routes and selling Cub Scout donuts out of Moms station wagon. He sent us to the moving companies when we were old enough to move furniture. He instilled the value to work hard, look for opportunity and save money so when we really needed it and really wanted something then we would have the money.
He was always on us to think. He was always there to help you with your homework and to challenge you with a question or a clue or a puzzle. During a game of chess, when we made a bad move he lets us take it back and rethink it. He conditioned us to think about all options so we knew what we were going to do before we did it.
Family was always first and along with his bride of 48 years, they kept us together on family vacations even when we did not want to be together. Having us do fun things like camping, skiing, golfing or hiking somewhere. Our most recent full family trips to Hawaii of which my mom and him are the instigators will always be in our memories forever. Just imagine the chaos that ensues when 5 children and their familys all pile into one house.
He was always on us to stay in shape too and would make us do our 10 and 10 as kids. 10 pushups and 10 situps all the time. Fitness was a big thing to our Dad and even this summer he would play tennis twice a week, swim at Chism Park and he always walked the golf course and would only ride a cart if a course required it.
Our mother was always there with compassion and love should we fail or to give us a shoulder to cry on but not Dad. It was Dad's job to prepare us for the demanding world in front of our lives. It was rare when we told him that we loved him or he told us but you knew by his actions everyday, - he would never let you down, - always willing to help you, - always concerned about your well being. And that was how you knew he loved you dearly. He did it by action and example.
Our Dad was not always our friend as we were growing up but he was preparing us for the future ahead to guide us thru life. He always said "be a contributor, don't be a drag on the world." Only in these later years did he seem more relaxed and he seemed much happier knowing that he and my mother had done a good job raising us and he had done it right.
You will always be our loved and loving Father. Thanks Dad for being there for us. We will miss you.