I was awakened a little while ago by the phone call I’ve anticipated from my brother letting me know my dad has passed away. Far from shocking, my siblings and family have longed for him to go “home” for quite a while. But his passing still has a profound impact and I doubt I’ll sleep until I’ve written a few lines about him.
He was a great example of a dying breed—The Greatest Generation, those who led the United States through the Depression, World War II, the Korean War and what became known as the American Century. I mentioned his remarkable personal accomplishments in the post Saying Goodbye to Parents; A Severe Mercy.
But to our family he was defined by simpler terms. He was:
- Son to Katherine and Neal, immigrants to Chicago from Northern Ireland, for 90 years
- Brother to Richard and Betty for 89 years
- Son of God for 75 years
- Husband to Yvonne for 65 years
- Father to Curt, Craig, Carolyn and Clyde for 63 years
- Father-in-law to Nancy, Beryl, Michael and Jillian for 38 years
- Grandfather to Jesse, Luke, Annie, Barclay, Alec, Conor, Kellan, Reid, Brieg, Alexandra and Taylor for 34 years
- Grandfather-in-law to Vince, April, Bonnie and Scott for 12 years
- Great-grandfather to Bella, Brynn, Brooke, Sawyer and Laurin for 6 years
Dad lived profound roles in the lives of all who knew him: friend, teammate, colleague, boss, elder, pastor. But none of his roles were deeper, more lasting and more valued than the simple ones above.
What a man he was to all of us. What a gift he was to me.
Because of who he was I can say, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.