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walking on water

March 12, 2009


Scott thought his dad walked on water, especially when the great lakes would begin to thaw

Scott thought his dad walked on water, especially when the great lakes would begin to thaw

Scott’s father died Monday. He was 98. What a life he led! From a little boy who loved his mama to a sign painter during the depression to a college student to a teacher, navy man, principal and then superintendent, he worked 25 years in the school system, then was retired for almost 40 (!) Before he died, he wrote  a 100 page autobiography outlining many of his key stories. I am so grateful we have it for Evan and Lukas (and us!).

One of the things I love best about Don was his ability to follow his life path in the direction he wanted to go. During the depression, he created signage for stores, designing, painting and lettering. He was good at it and liked it, and it was a pretty lucrative job, especially for those times. But he really wanted to be a teacher, and although everyone thought he was crazy, he quit his good job, during the depression, and went to college. His dentist gave him a loan to pay for it. He graduated after working hard for four years—no partying for this guy—and became a teacher. 

Another story I love is the one where he was in college and working at the Home Dairy restaurant for food and no pay. He felt fortunate to have food. One of his friends was not so lucky. So he and his buddies teamed up and each brought a part of a meal to this friend every day until he was able to afford food again. It was a secret and no one else knew about it so as to save the guy’s pride. This guy was forever grateful to that group of friends. The first time Don mentioned this to anyone else was in his 90’s while writing this memoir after his friend had died.

Another memory I love is of him going to his gramma’s house when he was a kid, and her taking him to the root cellar and giving him an apple. It was a very special gift back then, in the times when apples only happened at certain times of the year and you were lucky to have them.

I love how he thought his mother was the best woman ever. And he thought of his wife the same way. When his wife developed Alzheimers disease, he kept her at home as long as he could, then found the best possible nursing facility for her. He visited her there every day for over 5 years. It was the same place he spent his last 4 months, and the same nurses remembered him from ten years ago and gave him wonderful care in his last days. 

He always loved exercise and thought it was very important. Even in his 90’s he exercised. He said he was the only man in the aerobics class at his retirement community! It seems to have worked since he never had any disease or heart attacks or strokes, and his mind was sharp right up until the end at 98 when his systems just began methodically slowing and then shutting down. He lived a life of integrity and managed a death with integrity too. Godspeed.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2009 5:35 am

    What an awesome post. He sounds like an incredible man. I wish you and your husband and your husband’s family the best during this time.

  2. April 6, 2009 12:44 pm

    you have a lovely blog… thanks for sharing

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