My Dad

Well, I knew it had to happen sometime, but it is still a shock! My father is transitioning to his next great adventure. ( I started this before the end – he died a couple days ago). He is 88, so I feel like I should have been prepared, but I don’t know that you are ever really ready. He is Covid positive, and has  Aortic Stenosis. I don’t want him to die, but if he has to, I hope it is a peaceful passing. (It was, and for that I am grateful.)

My Dad did many things in his long life. He was born in South Dakota, and lived in Minnesota for a long time. He used to tell us stories about hopping freight trains to go down to the Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) to watch Lakers games – that was when the Lakers were a Minnesota team, which kind of explains the name! He played basketball through high school, and I will cherish the newspaper pictures I have in a scrapbook I believe his Mom put together.

He is a multi-degreed man. He met my mother at what I believe they called Moorhead State Teachers College, at the time. He got degrees in teaching, I think math and music. Later on he and my mom went to school at Greeley, Colorado where he got a Master’s degree in Music. Sometime after that he went to Luther Seminary in the Cities, and was an ordained Lutheran minister. His first parish was a small 3-church parish in the country outside Fargo-Moorhead, I believe on the Minnesota side of the river (Scandia, North Buffalo, and Concordia were the 3 churches). After about 4 years (this is from memory, and I had just finished 4th grade when we left), he packed up the car with his wife and 5 kids and we moved to Greeley, CO, where he got his Doctorate in Music, with a minor in Psych. Yes, he must have been a crazy man, to go back to school with 5 kids!

After he finished there, he took a parish in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, where I lived until 1975, when I graduated from high school and went away to Moorhead, MN to go to college. He quit the ministry, and sold insurance in Moorhead for a while. After that it gets a little foggy for me, as I had moved away. I do know that he did a lot of different things for a living, including driving a cab, being a hypno-therapist, and a family counselor.

He drank for a while (after I left home, so I wasn’t in on everything that happened then). He got sober and went back to school at North Dakota State University for a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, which he then taught at Mayville State College in Mayville, North Dakota until he retired. He was proudly sober for over 22 years.

He also wrote books, and was a great writer – I enjoyed his writing, and not just because I am his daughter. He would read the Bible in the original Greek. He was always learning new things.

He and my mother divorced in 1996, and he got remarried to Lila. They were married about 24.5 years, and living in Green Valley, AZ (outside Tucson) when he died.

If I can be half the person he was, I will have lived a good life. I got a lot from him, including my love for music, which I got from both he and my mother, and my writing. I think I started playing the bassoon because it was, with oboe, one of the few things Dad couldn’t play – though I may be wrong about that, maybe he could?

A daughter of one of my brothers had a baby girl on 11/14 – I like to think he knew that he became a great grandfather again before he left us. A baby is born and someone dies – the Circle of Life.

Goodbye, Dad, it seems way too short a time we had you!


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