Fall sunrise over Sucker Lake 3543_StaatsAfter my father passed away last week we found that he had already written his obituary.  It was a factual listing of his life, his work, his groups and associations, and his family members.  But I’m choosing to look at his life by reading between those lines – to remember and cherish his true character.  My dad was brave and courageous; not only did he answer the call to serve his country during the Korean war, but he also faced (and won) a battle with inoperable lung cancer 15 years ago.  He was a teacher by words and example, whether it be math story problems or fishing and hunting.  He was supportive of all the things we were involved in –  football or baseball games, piano or choir concerts.  My dad had a wonderful sense of curiosity and adventure; he was always wondering what was “down that road,” what is “around the bend,” and “where does this path lead.”  When I was 10 years old Dad and I floated a river in a bright yellow canoe, to see what was along the way (and I think he was prodding my sense of adventure and trust).  He was an immensely talented man in his chosen career of architecture, and he left a profound mark on the people he worked with in that profession.  He had a fierce streak of independence and determination; his way was what he was going to follow.  But most of all he was a proud man, of his family, his children, and his grandchildren.  A lover and best friend of 62+ years to my mother, and a loving and committed father and grandfather.  These are some of the traits that my father did not include in his obituary, but the people who knew him will recognize them all.  As I was en route to see my father for the last time I heard a quote by Don Snyder:  “There is grace in an ordinary life.”  Dad – you exuded grace (and adventure) in your “ordinary” life.  Thank you.

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