This is the first Father’s Day without my father on this earth. He graduated to heaven last November.  While I was rarely with him on Father’s Day, thankfully I was last year.  Other years there was always the call and gift though I have to admit the gift might have arrived late.  My timeliness is a joke in my family.

I have ever been a ‘Daddy’s Girl’.  I was proud of my father.  I wanted him to be proud of me.  I wanted to please him.  For much of my life I used his values as being the measurement for all of my choices.  He was a faith filled man who believed in loving his fellow man.  For years he helped out his best friend who had MS.  There was a team of 4 men who would get Don up out of bed and put him back in bed every day and Daddy was part of this.  He was a camp counselor for teens at our church camp and beloved by the letters I have found since he left us.  As I said in the eulogy, Daddy, like Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life”,  was the richest man in town if you count the love of his family and friends of which he had many.

In the eulogy I gave, I said that Daddy’s legacy would be written by those who knew him.  It would be different for each and every one of them as well.  A friend of mine remembers him as a neighbor and patriot and took the time when he could to stop and visit.  One of the last times Johnny visited he gave Daddy a coin, they are called “Challenge Coins” I believe.  My father was thrilled with this small gift from one serviceman to another.  Another friend will remember him from the golf course and ever being on it.  And another from having him as a boss.  Another from being in a Bible Study with him.  His pastor remembered him for his being well dressed and chiding Pastor Brown about preaching without wearing a tie.

Today I briefly mourn the lack of a father.  I say briefly as my joy of being his child is so much more prevalent in my heart.

Being who I am and loving my father, as the only constant parent (my mother and step-mother both died) I had, I imagined that when he died I would be bereft. I imagined myself keening like women do in other countries as they wail in that high pitch tone.  I imagined that I would go through a dark depression and barely be able to function let alone live a normal life.  Little or none of that has happened.  My mourning the loss of my father’s being has transcended into the joy of being blessed to have been his daughter.  I am amazed at what is going on with me. I am thankful to God.

Do not get me wrong, Daddy was no saint.  I long since have managed many of my own values and measurements. He was still the best father in the world for me and I think my siblings.  If any negative emotion is stirring in my soul it is the jealousy I have for my siblings having had so much more of his time as they were living in town and I have been away since I was 21.  This emotion rarely comes as I chose my life from the foundation that my father helped create.  He led me to believe I could do anything and go anywhere.  I have and I did.

So on this day I honor the man who gave me the best gift I could ever want – him as my father.  He gave me the gift of learning, the gift of gab, the gift of loving our neighbors, the gift of faith, the gift of loving marriage, the gift of family and ultimately the gift of hope.

The last time I spoke with my father was the Wednesday before he left on Sunday to attend the Big Church.  He had called to ask about a scripture. I told him I thought he was not right and then said let me go to the internet.  While we were chatting I checked the web and in fact his thoughts were spot on.  I was not really surprised. I learned something new again.  Our last words were “I Love you Daddy” followed by an “I love you too”.  Does it get any better than that?

Happy Father’s Day Honest Les!





  1. Your father — my Uncle Les — was one of the most impressive people I have ever known. He was kind, honest, & resilient. He had a great sense of humor, as well.

    Your pride in him as a father is completely understandable. I am grateful that my middle name (Leslie) was given to me as a result my parents’ love and respect for your Dad.

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