In his short life (he didn't reach the age of 30) he married twice and fathered four children - one of whom died after three months. He enjoyed great happiness and experienced tremendous grief. He was the President of his high school Rifle Club. He was a member of the Latin club. He graduated high school. (That might not sound like a great accomplishment but in my family it is.) He became a carpenter following in his father's footsteps. He also was a member of the National Guard. He was a marksman of great ability. He won many medals both as a civilian and as a member of the military. He placed sixth in the nation in a National Guard shooting competition. I know from his military records and the child support stubs in his wallet the day he drowned (and from everything I've heard from everyone who knew him) that he was a man who took his responsibilities seriously. He was a man who loved to race jalopies. He loved to laugh and have fun and go fishing. He was a man who would sacrifice his own life for someone else. He did that when he drowned. He also did that when my mom's house burned down when she was a preteen. He rushed in with a water hose and tried to fight the fire. That's when they met. His two greatest loves (according to his widow) were the Church and his kids. I spent years imagining what he would be like. I never had him as a rotten bum in my dreams. lol Amazingly he exceeded everything I had imagined and dreamed about.
The list of what he missed would be endless. He missed his three surviving children growing up and getting married and having kids and grandkids. Yes, he missed becoming a grandfather and a great grandfather. He missed the weddings. He missed the his son going off to the VietNam war. As a man who loved the military I know he would have been really proud. He missed graduations. He missed seeing the success of his kids. I can imagine him beaming with pride. I have felt him with me all my life and I definitely felt him with me the day I discovered River Portal. He missed all of the discoveries I made about him and his heritage and his ancestors........or did he????
There were decades of my life when I had no information about him beyond his name and the cause of his death. I didn't know any dates. That makes it really hard to start out in genealogy research. Learning his birthdate gives me two days a year to honor him but it also gave me a step further in the genealogy journey. It allowed me to obtain his birth certificate. That was a big milestone.
I'm more grateful than words can say that I was blessed to have a Daddy like mine! Happy Birthday, Daddy!