Grandpa was my mother Linda's beloved Daddy. He was a brilliant engineer, an inventor, a lover of every water sport he ever met. He adored his wife and his three daughters with total - if distracted - dedication. He stood over 6 feet tall (even more rare for a man born in the 20's, I think) - I can vividly remember the view from his shoulders, and from his windsurf board, where I would often ride, my hands between his on the boom, flying across the lakes of Minnesota (rumored to be a thousand in number).
I can remember what his feet looked like in socks, and barefoot: size 13, like small flippers - he could slice through water, and arc up into a wave with perfect ease, his long, strong arms pulling him effortlessly to the crest, seeming never to get tossed in the sucking surf like the rest of us, whose ears, hair, and bathing suits were full of sand from the shell-studded Atlantic floor, those Christmases we spent in Florida, visiting his mother, my Great-Grandma Lou.
Grandpa could fix anything, and did. He always let me play music as loud as I wanted to, and was genuinely delighted to hear me belt out the words: he thought my memory for lyrics was amazing, never cared if they were off-key.
When Grandma got cancer for the last time, Grandpa nursed his wife of 60 years - the girl who had lived next door from the time they were 9, and making tin-can telephones to span the distance between their bedroom windows, until he married her when they were 20 - round-the-clock for three heart-wrenching years, even learning to clean the kitchen and the floor to her specs (a truly heroic task). Thank you, Grandpa. We miss you so much already. May you rest in peace, and joy.