Best Dads and Playmates

Many folks who recently lost their fathers say their fathers were the best dads and their beloved playmates. For Father's Day, we remember of these beloved dads.

 Lyle Russell Belknap (Lansing State Journal)Lyle Russell Belknap, "participated in SPORTS all of his life and excelled in baseball," according to the obit his family prepared for the Lansing State Journal. "He played second base for the Chicago White Sox minor league and was active in Lansing (Michigan) baseball leagues as a player/coach. 

"He spent endless hours playing, teaching and coaching teams for his children as well as many other youngsters," the obit said. "He loved his family and never missed a single sporting event, activity or music recital."

"What a happy life it was to have a 'play with us' dad," his children wrote.

Lyle, who "worked for Board of Water & Light as Superintendent of Stores, until his retirement in 1980," died May 1 at age 93, six months after the death of his wife, Marie. They had been married for more than 70 years.

Lyle "taught Sunday School and was the Church Song Leader at Walker Memorial Church. He volunteered at several nursing homes and senior centers playing guitar, whistling and singing gospel music."

"We were so blessed to have (in our minds) the best dad in the world," his family wrote. 

 Edward G. Mifsud (San Francisco Chronicle)Edward G. Mifsud, 75, who also died May 1, "enjoyed his ability to return to his youth as one of the greatest playmates a child could ever have," according to the obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"He spent many hours teaching" (his six children and nine grandchildren), "as he worked on projects making and building things for them," the obit said.

"Edward always loved animals, he especially loved raising livestock while farming and ranching in his earlier years. He passed that love onto his children and grandchildren. He took great pride in knowing they shared the same interests and passion for agriculture as he had." 

 David Pini (Santa Cruz Sentinel)David Pini, a Vietnam War veteran, who died May 7 at age 59, was known for his legendary skills operating tractors and heavy machinery, according to the obit published in the Santa Cruz (Calif.) Sentinel.

"He preferred the feeling of dirt and pine needles in his toes than the formality of shoes or the indoors, his family wrote. Dave connected to God through his love of nature. He taught his kids, Niki, Joey,and Kim his respect of nature and love of animals throughout his life and on many camping trips."

"He enjoyed scaring people with rubber spiders, snakes, and thrill rides on tractors and off-road vehicles."

"He was a dog's best friend, and cared for each of his dogs as beloved family members."

"The best thing about his laugh was how easy it was for him to encourage himself and others to laugh even harder. We simply had to join in on the laughter, even if we didn't get the joke."

"Above anything else he accomplished, he was a superhero to his kids and so many extended family members. Dad was always ready to help when someone needed it, to take on stray animals; he was that person everyone went to. He was the absolute best father and friend, and someone with too much character to describe in writing."

This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.