My dad died today, quietly and not in pain. His body was just too frail to recover from the complications that set in with the triple-bypass. He had a feeling the end was near, I can’t tell you how many of his friends have told me in the last month that he felt he’d had a good life with no regrets, with his classic laugh and a smile. Fortunately for him, once the decline set in, it didn’t take long — as much as he loved life, he really hated doctors and hospitals, and being kept alive by machines was his real horror story, and we worked with the medical staff to accommodate him on that where we reasonably could. Everyone involved with Kaiser on this impressed the hell out of me, and have my thanks and respect.
I went down to help out the family when he went in for the tests and stayed around through the surgery, went down again in a hurry last week when things started to go the wrong way — and after coming up yesterday to get home for a bit, am headed down again tomorrow to help with the arrangements and to be there for the burial.
He went to Stanford (and hated when they changed their mascot to Cardinal, and never forgave them), drove a tank while helping to liberate Manilla, then spent significant time in Europe.
Dad was always a newspaperman, in the classic style, working for Stars and Stripes in Berlin during the airlift, and later as part of the first non-military-controlled paper for troops (which did not endear him to the establishment, something he loved doing…). Later on, he took over the family newspaper, until the industry changed enough that the town weekly basically went extinct — as I’ve said before, those of you who think the struggles of the newspapers is a new thing simply haven’t been paying attention; it’s been going on for 50 or more years, and this is just the latest phase.
Former board member and past president of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, active in historical preservation in orange county, later on in life a teacher — and proud to be seemingly the only liberal in the county, or so it seemed at times. Even more proud of his 50+ years together with my mom, and the times and travels they took together.
And so he’s written his final byline, and I speak for my entire family when I say we miss him but that we’re glad the suffering is done. It was a bit of a rough few days for all of us, but it’s starting to head back towards normal. Thanks to everyone who’ve popped in with kind words via email or twitter or IM or carrier pigeon; it’s nice to know people care, and it helps.
Burial is probably this weekend, and per his request will be private and family only; also per his request we’re planning a more public get together — including mariachis — for his extended (very extended) set of friends and compadres. If you know my dad and you’re hearing about this here, my apologies, it’s been a bit chaotic and we’re still digging through things to find contact info for everyone (and drop me a note if you need info to the wake).
Wherever he is, you can bet he’s making the local city council crazy, pounding away on a manual Royal typewriter, and playing catch with Pierre, his standard poodle that preceded him by a few years, and getting ready to watch the Lakers in the finals.
And over the next few weeks, life will start to return to normal, only quieter and a little less interesting for all of us that were influenced by him and proud to call him friend.
Rest in Peace, dad, you did good, and have earned the rest.