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March 24, 2004
Happy Birthday, Dad

Dad was born into the Great Depression, lost his father when he was only three years old, and grew up in poverty, in what passed for slums in the San Francisco of the '40s and '50s. What kind of chance could he have to succeed in life?

He went to college due to athletics - basketball and football. Even in the '50s, college athletes weren't presented many academic challenges. He loved to tell us about a class he actually took -- "Square Dance Calling." But he was a bit more studious than that.

He was educated to be an English teacher, and retained a love of literature all his life. I have a lot of books, but Dad had a lot of good books. But when he graduated from college, there was a glut of English teachers; his career path veered away from academia.

He took a job for a small finance company, starting at the bottom as a collector and repo man. Back then, finance companies often sent their collectors door-to-door with a ledger book and a cashbox to collect peoples' monthly loan payments. Dad got the "hard cases" -- he used to tell us of the butcher who always answered the door wearing a blood-spattered apron, meat-cleaver in hand. He wouldn't ever pay the other collectors, but Dad collected where others had failed.

He quickly worked his way up in the business. At age 37, he became president of a finance company at the edge of disaster, turned it around, and took it to the peak of success. He stayed at the helm for over 20 years.

He was a respected leader in the business community and in the church.

He (and Mom, of course) raised three of us kids, none of whom are in jail, on drugs, or otherwise screwed up. (OK, we may be a bit screwy, but not screwed up.)

He and Mom did it all on their own. No handouts, no Welfare, no wealthy great-great-uncles.

At age 60, he retired from the bank and began working on a startup. Then, just six months later, he died.

Today would have been his 68th birthday.

I think about him every single day.

Dad and Bounce

I still miss him terribly.

Posted by Russ at 10:22 PM, March 24, 2004 in Personal Stuff

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That was a wonderful tribute to a great husband and father! Thanks Russ

Posted by: mom at March 24, 2004 11:25 PM

I almost lost my father to a heart attack this fall. While I can't say I know how it feels to lose my father, I can say I know what it feels to almost lose him and it was horrible.

May the good lord rest his soul and speed him to his reward.


Posted by: Tim at March 25, 2004 10:09 AM

Good post. When we think of what our parents and their parents had to go through, it makes the whining you hear from some folks today (like about the Patriot Act or the pledge of allegiance) seem rather minor. Keep his good work going.

Posted by: MarcV at March 25, 2004 12:51 PM

I know just how you feel. Today is my Dad's birthday, but he died in his sleep at the ripe old age of 53, three years ago. The only positive thing to come out of that, that I can think of, is at least he did not live to see 9/11.

Jennifer Martinez sends

Posted by: Jennifer Martinez at March 25, 2004 09:17 PM

I can relate. I lost my dad 10 years ago and my mom a little over a year after that. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about them.

I consider us both lucky though, as I had a wonderful relationship with both my parents. Obviously, had the same kind of relationship with your dad. All too often that is not the case and then, one day, it is too late, and that's sad - lifelong sad.

Be comforted by your fond memories.

Posted by: Jim - Parkway Rest Stop at March 26, 2004 04:03 PM

My father just died a couple of weeks ago - I miss being able to write or call him, but he's not gone. Just a little different talking with him is all.


Posted by: Orion at March 28, 2004 03:46 AM


I've always been proud of our father, who he was and all he did. You, big brother, are clearly your father's son.

I love you.

Posted by: Cara at April 2, 2004 12:46 PM