Monday, October 14, 2013


...a Funeral and a Wedding...


Me and My Dad
WWII pic

My dad died on Aug 20th,  10 days after his 93rd birthday.  It was not unexpected, he had been on hospice for 3 weeks, and in failing health way before then....I saw him three weeks before - my sister Lori and I sang to him old family songs from our childhood - and he garnered up the strength to sing WITH us...and bittersweet..
For the past 2 years everyday was groundhog day for my papa.  He did not remember the previous day's frustrations and started each day happy and unaware of his new failings. Eventually he needed around the clock care, and my family was fortunate dad had enough finances to be able to live in his own apartment in a wonderful senior facility and to have the proper care he so needed.
Dad's plane
Dad received the Distinguished Flying Cross during WWII, after being shot down over "the hump" and subsequently walking out of China.   He was an administrative engineer at Lockheed and the chief organizer of the Lockheed/Nasa/JPL Mechanism Symposium.  His Little League Baseball team won the World Series.  He was handsome, funny, often silly, proud, generous, talented and a total chauvinist  ...which often clashed with his 5 daughters ideaology, haha.  When i was a kid i thought he was amazingly clever with finances---we had little cash money, but somehow he figured out how to give us everything we thought we ever wanted.
The fabulous "Bird Avenue"  house we grew up in, in San Jose
He helped raise 6 biological children, 2 foster sons and innumerable other children who moved in when their parents could no longer handle them or they had no place to live.  He also tolerated all the other strays that became part of our crazy and kooky household....and a zillion pets. We were a loud, opinionated, rambunctious group of kids, and he let us be that way. He valued honesty and always kept his word.  When it was time for a licking, he would have us fake cry and pretend he was punishing us - and we'd laugh and laugh. He loved keno, poker parties, and  polkas. He played the piano, the accordion and the harmonica and was an expert carpenter.  His greatest love was airplanes.  When he was 14 he even had his own model airplane store!
finishing a model plane

...with his brothers and one of his model planes
Dad loved tools, and instilled in me my love of fine tools.  He bought me my first tool when I was 11...a jigsaw -  much to the concern of my mom....and then my very first "foredom" tool , and a paasche airbrush. Over the years I acquired a collection of quality tools - all gifts from my Dad.  I still have them all.
We had a fabulous send off for Dad.  The Air Force came and did a Flag Folding in the church before the Mass. Before and after the rosary the church let us show films of my dad playing the piano and being dad, and the organist played my Dad's favorite Italian music....all wonderfully compiled by my sister Gina.  Afterwards we had a family and friends lunch/reception to honor dad.  Once again my sister Gina and her husband Mark had put together an incredible slide show of old photos of my dad and an accompanying soundtrack of polka music.  It was a party my dad would have loved, and you could feel his presence, partying with us.
Dads progeny.....

The fabulous slide show showing my brother and sisters as children

All of us now......

Me and Lori
more grand kids and great grand kids
Dad's companion, Marcia
enjoying the celebration
Ah Papa!
My emotions are SO mixed.  I am happy you are finally reunited with Mom and all of your brothers and sisters and friends.  You are whole again.  It was time.
But still, your passing has hit hard.
You are gone.  You and Mom are GONE. ..
and with your passing I come closer to the reality of my own mortality.
I will miss you Papa. Your mischievous smirk, the way you smushed up your nose and said "oh fooey!"when you were in disagreement with any of us, your beloved Old Spice scent, your piano playing, your obsession with CNN (...well, not so much....)
So many memories.

Love You, Papa.  Give Mama a kiss from me.


Amber Dawn Inventive Soul said...

~*LOVE*~ is what I feel while reading your description of growing up and the legacy that your father had created. I especially like learning that he had such patience, valued honesty, was gentle and kind and had his own shop at 14! Go dad! :) Raising so many children and adding on Laurie and the other additional kids in need of a home- that warms my heart! :) What an awesome family!
Now I know where you get your love of quality and diverse tools from! :)

Joanne Huffman said...

What a loving and lovely tribute to your dad. I feel I have a sense of who he was by what you wrote. The love in your family will go on for generations and generations. I'm sending you hugs, sympathy and love; and I know that your many happy memories will bring comfort to you and the rest of your family.