Jan's Blog Flower



Now reading . . .

"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

September 7, 2008

A Gentle Man

He would have been 87 today, this gentle man. He was my brother-in-law Dick. The universal response when someone speaks of him is, “He was such a nice man.” And he was. He was not only a gentle man he was a gentleman. Of course his brother and sisters would have other things to say about him, but they would agree that he was a gentle man.

It is hard to reconcile that part of Dick to another part, which was that he was a proud marine. He served his country in that capacity for many years and served under difficult and harsh circumstances in the South Pacific and in Korea. The men in the family, including the husbands of the daughters, were part of, as Tom Brokaw termed them, “The Greatest Generation”. They didn’t talk about it much and just did their duty. The daughters took their babies back home and lived with their mom and dad and kept the home fires burning, waiting for their brave men to come back.


Dick was a fun guy and I always enjoyed being around him. We would consult with each other about our computers and one thing and another. He was so bright and worked on amusement park rides all over the country, including Disneyland! No wonder he was fun.

Dick loved his girls. He was gone through the first 18 months or so of Debbie’s life but then he retired from the Marine Corps. I am sure it was in part because he couldn’t bear the separations. He really enjoyed Janet too. He and Claire had a long marriage - I think it was 59 years. He was a giving person. He volunteered, among other things, as a tutor for kids having trouble. He rarely talked about his arthritis that took a great toll on him physically. He loved his home town in Cresco Iowa and he and Claire went back frequently. Claire’s grandfather was a doctor in that same town and even though she grew up in New York City, she spent summers with her grandfather and her Aunt Gokie. She recently told us that Cresco was her heart’s “home”.

The siblings spent time together going over Famps’s things and dividing them up, over and over again. Famps has been gone for 23 years now and they still had some things that they were debating. They mostly enjoyed just being together, staying up late, eating forbidden food (macaroni and cheese and Oreos), remembering the good old days and laughing.

I wish I could hear his voice on the phone one more time, saying, “Jannie? This is Dickie”.

previous ~ home ~ next