Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bye Dad

You have been my dad or almost 97 years.
You've taken good care of your family.
You've been there for all of us, through all our troubles.
Shared our joy over new spouses, new babies, and our babies babies.
I know mom loves you.
Your children love you.
Your grandchildren love you.
Your great granchildren love you.
You will continue to be loved and respected forever.
Thanks for being my dad.
You will be missed more than you can know.

I am going to add a bit of the eulogy that my brother wrote, because I think it's interesting, and just makes me feel good to read it. I have left out some bits that are a little more personal and some that you don't need to see.

"We should not have known him, Fredrick (dad), and most of us should not be here. Sailing to Canada from Avonmouth, his parents were all excited to board the greatest ship ever built... but they could not, and had to settle for the next ship, an old steamer named the Royal George, sailing just 2 days behind the mighty RMS Titanic. His mother was terribly ill, both with morning sickness and sea sickness, and welcomed to Canada by the bitter cold of the Eastern Canadian winters.Some months later at Batt’s farm at the top of a hill on Beckett Road on the outskirts of Sherbrooke, a tiny child was born. At only 3 or 4 pounds the country doctor said he was too small to survive, but the midwife decided otherwise. She rubbed him in goose grease and laid him in a shoebox. Day and night she sat by the old wood stove to keep him warm, feeding him with an eye dropper. And that is how Dad came into this world, ninety seven years ago today,
As a child, Dad’s job was to go down to the lumber mills around False Creek to fill his wagon with scraps for the old wood stove. If the lumberman spotted him he would be charged a penny or two per load.One day at about 14 years of age he came home from school to be told that he had a job as a printer’s helper. Having a good eye for matching colours and being a bit of a perfectionist, he became a very skilled lithographer and was usually given the toughest jobs and pickiest customers. He was in fact, skipped over for promotions several times because he was too good to lose as a pressman. But after 51 years working as a printer, he retired, and that was almost 32 years ago!
In 1945 Dad’s sister Winnie brought home a distraught young lady from work who had just left home and had nowhere to live. Being a kindly family, she was taken in... and so was Dad. In due time he proposed to her at Spanish Banks and they were married in June of the following year. Together they built a home and raised four wonderful children, watched their families grow through weddings and births, and lived to see their Great-Grandchildren.
Though not outwardly religious, Dad exemplified many of those old time virtues like faithfulness, hard work, honesty, integrity, and personal sacrifice.His word meaning something and promises were kept. He was outraged by injustice and a champion of fairness, and underdogs. He treated others with courtesy and respect and was a steadfast provider for the family. If he had shortcomings, it was that he had more than a little trouble with patience and didn’t easily express his feelings and affirmation.
Personally, dad could be quite charming with the ladies. A little while ago in the hospital we heard more than one nurse remark “Oh, he’s so cute”. Still, he was not much of a socialite and had little use for parties, dressing up or going out. He would much rather eat at home than at the finest restaurants. Nor was he a man of impulse, a thing as simple as a drive to the beach was something to be planned and scheduled days in advance.
Like a fine wine however some things did improve with age. With the coming of Grandchildren Dad seemed to loosen up.Grandad would read to them as much as they wanted and the same story as many times as they wanted. He gave them the gift of his time, his attention, and would talk to them about anything. Even in his 90’s with the Great-Grandchildren it was not unusual to find him on the floor playing with them."

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