Friday, May 4, 2012

SAYONARA



I'm sitting in my Dad's office at his home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Dad slipped his moorings and crossed over to the Other Side, last night at 2040 hours local.

Dad died peacefully in his sleep in front of the TV, surrounded by the momentos of a lifetime in Asia. He fell asleep at about noon and never woke up. His last words to me before he drifted off were, "Check the price on BP, see if there are any calls to sell."

Dad was 87. The second of four sons, born in London, England, my Dad was raised in Victoria, Australia, in pubs owned and operated by his Dad. My Dad wanted to be an artist, but had to leave school after the 8th grade to help support his family during the Great Depression. He continued his education in night school until the age of 36.

During World War II, Dad worked as an apprentice machinist and later a draftsman in the shipyards at Williamstown, Victoria, repairing US and Royal Australian Navy warships. He told me how he once went out on a test cruise on a Dutch submarine, "The minute they sealed the hatches and went down, everything smelled like a fart."

After the war, my Dad worked as a manager for an engineering equipment firm in Broken Hill, New South Wales, and enjoyed riding his motorcycle in the desert.

In 1959 - when I was six months old - Dad emigrated to the United States, where he worked as an engineer in Seattle Washington and Oakland California, on bridge and crane projects, as well as rocket gantries for NASA's Project Mercury.

In 1961 Dad took a contract building a urea fertilizer processing plant in Sumatra, Indonesia, beginning a three-decade career in Asia, which included building power plants in Bangladesh and Thailand, and a water treatment plant in Turkey.

Dad was also an investor and devoted long hours to the markets, making and losing several fortunes over the decades. He was proud the day he became a US citizen at a ceremony that I attended, at Fort Bragg. Late in life Dad returned to his art, painting in oils, like the one above. He won several local contests and sold his works for a decent sum.

My Dad is survived by his third wife of 10 years, Ruth. He was married for 45 years to my mother, who passed away twelve years ago. He is survived by four sons and a daughter, twelve grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

He was a great Dad - I couldn't have asked for better. He gave me an upbringing full of fun, travel and adventure - to him I owe my thirst for wanderlust, my accomplishments in engineering, and my gift for languages. Dad was always there for me, did so many things for me. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be here for him as he went down the Last Trail.

Goodbye Dad - you were a one-off, a Leader of the Pack. You will be missed by many.


STORMBRINGER SENDS


Dad's studio.

48 comments:

  1. Dear Stormbringer,

    I adore your blog and I am so sorry to hear of yet another sorry time for you.

    Reflect that your glowing biography above has the happiest of endings: a man loved and admired to the end by those close to him. Consider Solon's advise to Croesus: that no man can be truly judged until his time is over. What a magnificent thing!

    My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

    Paddy

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  2. Just got your note regarding the passing of your father. Virginia and I want to express our condolences to you, your brothers, Ruth, and all your families.

    Your Dad always made my trips to Bangkok more enjoyable. I'll never forget, after dark, after hours visits to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank down by the Chao Phrya river when only the caretaker sweeping up was there, (besides us). He was checking commodity prices, especially gold & silver. This was followed by a walk to the Telephone & Telegraph office where he placed a call to his broker in Zurich, Switzerland. What they discussed he didn't reveal. He apparently did this every evening. I also remember him taking me along with you to your Boy Scout troop meeting one time. I had a troop in Overland Park, KS at that time. One other incident difficult to forget is a visit to your house in Bangkok for dinner one night where your dog, who was acting strangely that evening, died later of rabies. The series of innoculations following were a bit of a chore. I, as well as all of you, got all 14 shots.

    Sorry I didn't get another opportunity to "chew the fat" with him. Please know we are thinking of you all.

    L.H.

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  3. A sad day. Your gratitude and love for a fine father come through 5 by 5. Nicely done.

    My thoughts and good wishes for you and yours.

    LC LtC

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  4. Thoughts and prayers sir.

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  5. Condolences, though it sounds like you had a good Dad and he had a good life, not a bad thing at all. Not all are so fortunate...
    Boat Guy

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  6. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family during this time of loss.

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  7. Sean, my heartfelt condolensces...My own father of 83 is putting off heart valve replacement, the fear of death I suppose. After Army retirement and mutiple combat tours, life has rendered myself so very cynical and angry with our government and national state of affairs. I am arming to the teeth and prepping for the Big Ruckus. I don't plan on being an old man afraid of dying. I'm going to die on my own terms and conditions with defiance to tyranny in my heart.

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  8. I'm sorry for your loss, Sean.
    gfa

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  9. Sean, my sincere condolences, please continue to take time as above to reflect on and share his many accomplishments during this time of sorrow.

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  10. My condolences on the loss of your father sir. It sounds as if you were blessed to be raised by a wonderful man. Cherish the memories.

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  11. Godspeed! May he look down upon you everyday and smile.

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  12. My condolences on your loss.

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  13. Sean - sad for you, but also happy that you had this man in your life to help mold you.

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  14. Sir:

    He may have left this world in the physical sense, but his spirit will be all around you. My condolences to you and your family.

    Cilla Mitchell

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  15. May your dad rest in peace.

    respectfully, JJ

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  17. May you're Dad Rest in Peace. My condolences.

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  18. I am sorry to hear that you lost your father. My father is a Vietnam Vet and hasn't had the best health lately, and it was very nice reading your words about yours. Life is precious and to be lived the fullest. Your father was a special man. Best to you and your family.
    Stefanie

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  19. My most heart-felt and sincere condolences to you and your family. May your father rest in peace.

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  20. My sympathies, good sir.

    Steve

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  21. Sir, As I was pondering the loss of my own Mother almost two years ago earlier today, and feeling remorseful of days gone by I happen upon your post on Twitter which takes me to this entry. My condolences for your loss, and God Speed to your Father. It sounds like he was an amazing individual.

    Bill Clark

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  22. S.L.,

    You had the blessings and love of an earthly Father which will always be with you. Thank you for sharing a part of his life with us.

    Art

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  23. My sympathies to you and family. It was a very nice tribute to him.

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  24. Remember him with a smile on your face. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Kevin Ghequiere

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  25. Sounds likes he was a Hell of a Good Man - A vanishing breed. I hope that God takes good care of him.

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  26. Beautiful tribute Sean. Your father and mother are looking down at you and smiling. You've made them proud. --Helen L

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  27. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  28. He sounds like quite a guy. My condolences to you and your family.

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  29. Condolences on your loss. Your exceptional tribute to him is one I wish I would be able to give to my own father. Cherish the memory many will never have. I say this not to lament my own, but to celebrate yours.

    Best Regards.

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  30. What a wonderful tribute you have given to a man you obviously loved deeply. My condolences on your loss.

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  31. What a legacy and example! What a life and experience. Sorry for your loss.

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  32. My & Shelly's thoughts are with you, brother - Matt

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  33. Sadness

    My thoughts are with you

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  34. Thanks for sharing your father with us SL.

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  35. My Deepest Condolences to you and your family, Sean.
    Thanks for the amazing post.

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  36. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. God bless.

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  37. Sean,
    No amount of condolences would be sufficient.
    Godspeed, and God bless.

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  38. Very sorry to hear. Prayers to you and your family...

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  39. Sean,
    You've written a very moving tribute. I lost my own dad when I was 20 years old. That was almost 40 years ago and it is a rare day that I do not still think of him. I try not to dwell on my loss but to provide my own sons the sort of memories that you have written of here.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. Although you have lost something great, you also have great memories of someone who shaped your life and they will stay with you always.
    Grover

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  40. Too many words and thoughts and emotions fill my soul as I read your tribute to your father.

    God bless and peace.

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  41. I'm sorry for your loss, man. Prayers for your family.

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  42. So sorry for your loss. You and your family are in our prayers

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  43. Sorry mate, it sucks.. You and yours go on, all you can do.

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  44. Sean, my condolences. It sounds, though, your dad lived life to the fullest. We should all be so lucky.

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  45. My deepest condolences sir. If we are indeed cut from the cloth of our fathers, he must have been a great man indeed. Godspeed

    Vin

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  46. Sean, I am sorry for your loss. An impressive man.

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  47. Good sharing of this wonderful job. Thanks.

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