A Memorial Day to remember....


Original poster
Jan 16, 2012
My Dad passed away on Memorial Day. He would have been 84 next month, so he had a pretty good run, but his passing is quite sudden and definitely was not expected. No official cause as yet, but he was having trouble with his breathing and the hot weather could well have been a factor. He was working in the garden that morning and Mum seems to think he overdid the effort (again). The man worked too hard his whole life, and eventually I guess it catches up to you.
I spoke to him just the day before and he was in good spirits. I got the phone call from my Mum yesterday telling me that he took a sudden turn for the worse on Monday morning, the doctor who made the house call quickly admitted him to hospital. Just a couple of hours after that he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

He was the strong, silent type and I inherited that trait from him. I’m not one to typically gush or publish my every emotion or feeling, but typing out this post is very therapeutic in terms of helping me focus on the good times and memories we had together.
Dad grew up as the youngest of 7 kids in a family where nothing came easily and ‘going without’ was just a normal part of growing up. He was always the cheeky kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. People were always treated in deference to their person rather than their wealth or station in life. As night-watch for the local gas company he would let the local tramp (roadster / hobo) sleep inside the gas tower out of the terrible weather, other people would always turn the poor soul away.

He was a smart man but cared naught for school, rarely showing up and leaving at the earliest possible age so that he could start earning a real wage. He always vowed that he wanted his family to have an easier life than his. He worked long and hard hours his entire life, but he was good at what he did and always had work. He provided us with everything we could ever need. He was always my rock, this indestructible man who could fix anything and everything. Nothing seemed capable of slowing him down or breaking him down. He endured bad knees for years, it was a somewhat regular occurrence to find him watching TV with a bag of frozen peas on the offending knee….just enough relief to be able to go back out the next day and repeat the abuse.

He taught me all about fixing things and instilled an attitude to try and repair something before simply throwing it out and buying a new one. I have always followed his lead, attempting to repair household items before simply throwing them away, both in times of wealth and times of need.
Car repair was another area where I received a lot of help, guidance and advice. I was his ‘brake pedal pumper’ from the age when I could first reach the brake pedal; who needs an auto-bleeder when a helpful son does the job equally well if not better. He helped me fix my motorcycles when I first got into 2 wheels, and did the same for cars when they followed a little later. But it was always my cheap, old motorcycles that needed his help. He showed me tips and tricks that I use to this day. I have never been able to use extract a stud from an engine block using the ‘2 nuts’ trick without thinking of him first showing me this on the exhaust stud of my first Honda motorcycle.
We learned to weld (badly) together when his work van started to rust badly. The need to repair the bodywork necessitated a MIG welder and a healthy dose of experimentation. If only we had the internet back then and could have researched that the wire we were using was too thick. No wonder we burned so many holes….it was probably a testament to some kind of skill that we actually did any usable welding at all.

There was a certain amount of ‘Wanderlust’ was in his veins. He almost went to live in Australia as part of a group of immigrants to go gold mining. I guess he never quite pulled the trigger. I got the same ‘Wanderlust’ from him and I did pull the trigger, moving to the US in ’97. First to San Francisco, then to Los Angeles, and currently to Chicago.

In the years after his retirement his health started to slide a little, but nothing too alarming. Put it down to graceful aging, a life of hard work and way too many years of smoking. Bit in my mind, he was still the same indestructible rock that he had always been. Yesterday finally shattered that myth, and right even my own mental foundation has a new crack placed there.

We had planned a trip to go visit my parents in the UK in early September, taking our youngest son whom my parents have yet to meet in person. I am so sad right now that I didn’t get one last chance to see Dad, and that he didn’t get to finally meet his youngest grandson, Liam. Liam is a real ‘pistol’, I think he has a lot of my Dad in him….it will be interesting to watch him develop.
Solace for me right now comes from the fact that he is in a better place. A place where worn-out knees and sore back do not hold back anyone back any longer. Heaven holds no shortage of breath for you now, Dad….


Uncle Blazer

Dec 8, 2011
Sounds like he lived a good, honest life and left behind a great family. A true testament to his character as a man.

May he rest in piece.


Jan 4, 2012
Sorry for your loss, My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family!!
Feb 24, 2012
Sorry for your loss. That's very nicely written.


Jan 29, 2012
From a man facing knee surgery. I only hope to have that kind of respect from my kids. Very nice. His great qualitys show in you. Sorry for your loss.


Dec 3, 2011
As long as you always remember the good and fun points of his life, and share them with your son, he will never truely be gone. MY condolences on our loss.


Dec 3, 2011
I am sorry for your loss.

I will admit that your story produced a few tears for me. I moved over to the US from the UK in '02 to get married - all of my side of the family are still over there. I recently learned that my grandfather (who is 89), is losing his sight and isn't able to do a lot of the things he used to. I feel your pain about not having that 'last chance' to see your dad before he passed. I have the same feelings frequently about my grandfather (and my family). I try to get back home as often as I can to see family and let my 7yr daughter get to know everyone more.

I have no doubt that your dad is in a better place now and is watching over you and your family.

All we can do in times like these are to remember all the good times we have had the great fortune to share with them.

Thank you for sharing your feelings. It has made me focus on what is important in life.


Nov 20, 2011
You will always be the truest testament as to how good a man your father was. Continue to live your life with the virtues he instilled in you. That is the most important thing you can do to honor his memory!

My thoughts and prayers go with you and your family!


Feb 3, 2012
My condolences to you and your family. Your father sounds like a wonderful man indeed. I can only hope and pray that you and your family can find comfort in knowing that your father is in peace, and no longer suffering.

Your father may not have been able to see your youngest son in person, but know that he has not gone without seeing him at all. I truly believe that your father is looking down upon you and your family, and will always be there watching.

God bless. And I'm so very sorry for your loss.

Boricua SS

Nov 20, 2011
just wow... tragic story... thank you for sharing... my condolences and prayers to you and your family :grouphug:


Nov 18, 2011
Thoughts and prayers sent. May he rest in peace.


Dec 2, 2011
So sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept my condolences. I too lost my Dad suddenly in 97.



Nov 21, 2011
Sounds like a great dad. May he rest in peace. My prayers to you and your family.

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