He lived life with passion. He enjoyed every hobby or craft he took on. From coin collecting to tile art, from silver jewelry to collecting Heisey cruets--there was no half-way commitment. To dad, every day was a gift; he opened it looking for the present it could become.
When mom became pregnant with Patty at 42, they embraced the surprise. God had given our family a gift. When they asked if dad was her grandfather, he just smiled, then dyed his hair, and went on living young at heart.
Cousins would call him "Uncle HoHo." Because of dad, we laughed everywhere we went as a family. He showed us how to take our faith, family, and work seriously, but ourselves lightly.
In short, he lived the principles that made America great—treasure your family, work hard, spend wisely and save for the future, take responsibility for yourself, provide charity to those in need, respect your elders, don’t covet what others have, earn your own way, and believe in God’s providence and grace.
I once played for dad Dan Fogelberg's song, "Leader of the Band." The words still touch me every time I hear them:
The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old...
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.
When he listened to the song, he just said, "I don't play in any band!" I was in tears, and he was laughing. As usual with dad, laughter won the moment.
He's gone now, but there's no man I've ever respected more. I just hope to be half the man--half the father, believer, and citizen--dad was. For those who say that fathers aren't necessary, they never knew my dad. I already miss him. I'm grateful for his love, his discipline, and his wisdom. And I will leap for joy when I join him again in paradise.
May we never forget that fathers matter, and may we never stop letting them know that they do.