Thursday, December 26, 2013

Great Granddad

On Saturday, when we pulled into Galveston after our 7 days unplugged at sea, I learned my Granddad had passed away while we were gone.  We went from the ship to his service. 

My Granddad was 92 years old.  He had a life well lived.  He grew up in the great depression with his mom and grandmother in a small town in Oklahoma, where he met my Grandma when they were just kids.  They married and he went off to WWII as a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps.  He was shot down after they ran out of ammunition and held as a POW for 8 months.  After returning, he settled into life with my Grandma and their 3 kids-- a girl (my Aunt Ricki), and 2 boys (my Dad and Uncle Mark).  Granddad had a degree from Oklahoma State and later taught there, before his long career at Phillips 66.  I remember going to the office with him when I'd visit.  After retiring, he played golf every day until he couldn't anymore.  He and Grandma moved to Texas when they were 90 years old, to be closer to my dad.  This summer, after 71 years of marriage, my Grandma passed away, and he has followed her to heaven 6 months later. He loved my Grandma beyond measure and I smile thinking of them together again. Granddad was an interesting mix of positive attitude, quiet thoughtfulness, perfectionist, and a bit cantankerous too.

To me, he was a great Granddad, though the title came later when I had kids.  Every time I would visit, he would make sure there was ice cream in the freezer for after dinner.  He would light up like a kid when he'd whisper the flavor to me. He'd take me to the golf course with him, and when we got far enough away from the clubhouse, he'd let me drive the cart.  When I hit a park bench with said golf cart, all he did was laugh and let me continue driving.  When I was little, he always had a camera around his neck and he was the one that taught me to pose for pictures, though I never mastered it.  I used to love hearing his stories, about when my Dad and his siblings were young, especially my Dad's teenage antics.  When I grew up, Granddad was so supportive and proud of my choices, even if they weren't always the best ones.  He always made me feel like I could do and be anything.  I was lucky to be his granddaughter. 

And I see that part of him in my Dad, as he is a great Granddad to my kids.  My Granddad's legacy will continue.  Rest in peace.

My Dad and Granddad.

Granddad and Grandma.

At their 50th wedding anniversary, as I remember them growing up.

Granddad and me on Christmas 1981.

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