A great light has gone out of our lives. It's a great loss for us all. But I know that time heals all and I know he will be by my side every day of my life. Thank you all for your kind loving words, for your friendship and for the great comfort your prayers have given my family. The best of him remains with us, in our hearts, and to honor his memory, I can only endeavor to be as good as he was. He had a gentle, sensitive and loving soul. He was never mean on purpose and was always very careful to not hurt others. He liked the see the best in all of us and always found a way to make us feel better or happier about ourselves. He always had a kind word for everyone he met. He could talk to anyone, janitor, vice president, adults, children or seniors, the elite runners, hamburgers and everything in between, he could make them feel like he was just like them. He could make you feel good because of the respect and humility with which he always expressed himself. His love crossed all cultural boundaries, religious affiliations, political convictions and ethnic backgrounds. He was so likable, charming and irresistible. He won over so many hearts, even the ones that were not willing. He made a difference in so many small ways to so many.
For his last birthday, last year, I wrote this to him:
“Every heart has its own tracing on EKG paper, unique to each human being, no two alike. On paper, hearts have no color and no gender. Every day at work, I look at my monitor screens and I see the tracings of each beat of each heart of each patient on telemetry, in my care. To me, they don't say, I am black, I am white or I am yellow. To me they say: "I am alive!" and I know that with each beat and with each breath, someone out there cares for that one heart. And if no one does, then I do, for that is my job. At work, I see life and I see death every day and because of this, I know how precious my loved ones are to me. On this happy day, I think of the strong heart that has been beating in your broad chest over two and a half million times during the last 81 years and I am awed that we are carried through this life for so many years by such fragile yet strong bodies. I think of the spirit that carries us through and I think of you. Our spirits are the one intangible and unexplainable thing that makes miracles happen. On this day, your birthday, I want you to know that you have made a difference. I grew up wanting my parents to be perfect, expecting the impossible from them, not knowing in my young impatient heart that our parents are people too, just like me, trying to do the best they can. I chose many years ago to love my parents and my famiy, no matter what. I learned when I was younger that if you judge others, you have no time to love them and the price you pay later for this failure is heavy to carry indeed. I think you understand this too because in the end, we only remember the love that we give and the love we receive. I thank you for being my rock and my role model. I thank you for all of your words of encouragement, for all of the special words of endearment that you call me and that make me smile when you say them, for making me smile just by looking at you, for making me feel special, for making me feel loved. I love you for the gentleness of your smile, for your unfailing and witty sense of humor, for the strength of your heart. None of us are perfect, but to me, your heart is. It is like the candle of the flame, always lighting others with happiness while never diminishing its own. Time has only improved all of your strengths. Others may grow old and bitter and shriveled, but you have grown older in grace, in kindness and in gentleness and in patience. I can only hope to become more like you with each passing year. Because I am your daughter, I know that I will have your courage and your bravery when confronting my own future. Thank you for showing me the way. I love you so very much. Happy Birthday my Darling Papa."
He had a very large family and a great many friends and was beloved by all. He taught me that love overcomes all. His legacy is that we should all be kind to one another and to spend our lives in loving one another to the best of our ability. I am proud that he was my father and I'd like to think that many envied me a little for that. He is ours in our hearts. He now sleeps in peace with all of those he missed so much. And who knows, he might be up there somewhere, racing with angels and making jokes and telling tall tales and clever funny stories along the way.
As he well said: ``I love life because I love people, and the best people are runners.''
He is survived by 9 children:
He has 15 grand Children and 8 great grand children.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another is love." Ephesians 4:2