Some of you may have heard me talk about my Dad on occaision. Born and raised in Ohio, his father was a Judge, his mother was a housewife, and according to my Dad, the worst cook in the world! My father had Rheumatic Fever as a child. The disease causes the heart to function inefficiently. As a result, he was a pretty sickly child. He was homeschooled and did not attend public school until the 7th grade. By that time he was healthy enough to make it through a full day of school but not strong enough to pursue his dreams of playing football and basketball. While in high school he excelled in band – he played the Clarinet, was involved in drama, and student government. He double majored in English and Biology and you’ll find his name on records of scores on the MCAT (test you take to get into medical school). He spent 27 years in school (beginning from 7th grade!) He helped to develop the Oral Polio vaccine during a residency with Salk and Sabin (the guys that got the credit). When he and my mother decided to get married he told her because of the lasting results of his bout with Rheumatic Fever that he probably wouldn’t live past 50.
He turned 50 in April of 1979, had open heart surgery in June of that year. He turned 60 in 1989, had another open heart surgery in October of that year. He spent his 70th birthday riding a donkey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with my mother and some family friends. Two weeks later, I got the call that he had not woken up and was hospitalized in San Francisco. He passed away at the next day and 70 years and 2 weeks of age.
The things that make my father my hero are his love for education, his will to live that gave him and my mother as well as my brother and I 20 bonus years to enjoy him. His sense of humor was the best. He was a great teacher, with more patience than anyone I’ve ever known. He loved my mother! He set a great example for how a marriage should look and how a man should treat a woman. Family was the most important thing in the world to him. His academic accomplishments are something I’ve always been proud of, but his role as a father and friend in my life are what I’m most grateful for.
Your blog post is due Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.