Everything, I have done, everything I
am, and everything, I will ever be was because of my dad. Although I was
adopted, he gave me the greatest gift, he gave me my life.
He was my ski
buddy, he was my motorcycle buddy, and he was my sailing buddy – Ok, I
was really HIS sailing buddy. For 49 years, he was my best friend.
He employed tough
love – at 12 I said I wanted a new bicycle and he replied “Well then,
you’d better start earning money so you can buy one!”
delivering newspapers to earn money, bought that bike and still ride it
today – as a matter of fact, he borrowed that bike years later when he
entered a 200 mile bike race from Seattle to Portland. He taught me
valuable life lessons.
feeling I ever had in life was when he said he was proud of me. Every
goal, every accomplishment, and every time I followed in his footsteps,
I would call and tell him so I could hear him say those magical words
“I’m proud of you!”
Well, dad, I’m
proud of YOU! We all are.
I love you dad.
My first memory of
my father is the smell of sawdust and fiberglass. I couldn’t have been
more than three years old but I sat in the garage, sometimes even in the
boat as my dad meticulously and lovingly formed the Frappe. My father
picked hobbies that grew to passions and he never did them half way,
sailing, skiing, trekking the world, bike riding, motorcycle riding with
Scott and finally immersing himself in an extended family that grew
exponentially to include children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren. All of us have different but wonderful memories of
a man who was nothing less than generous, loving, funny, and brilliant.
I don’t think my
father ever protected me from the world; not because he was in any way
negligent but because he believed in me. Each time I stumbled though,
Daddy was right there waiting with a hand out to help me back up, to
wipe my tears, pull the rocks out of my scraped knees and then let me
try to fly again. I am sure that my unerring nose for the trouble
caused him many a sleepless night.
My dad was my
hero. I don’t know that he always knew that, I only hope he did. When
no one else was there my dad was. When there was no one else I could
trust I knew my dad stood behind me, even when he wanted me to learn my
multiplication tables and thought he must be the devil, I knew he loved
My dad was always
Daddy; never anything else but Daddy.
Sometimes I thought
I would never live up to his expectations but because of them I am much
more than I would have ever been otherwise. He made me so much more
because of his great faith in me.
I am so grateful
for the lessons learned from him about how to be more, how to love, how
to work. Even more importantly how to be a moral and ethical person in
a world that doesn’t always expect it or accept it either.
I will always be a
Daddy’s girl. Sometimes I had a terrible time sharing him with my
sisters but I am so gratified that so many people loved him and that he
was able to love so many. He was a wonderful father, a wonderful
grandfather and he loved being both. I will miss him for the remainder
of my life.
have been blessed with 2 wonderful fathers in my life.
First, there was my dad, whom everyone called Buddy, and whom I was
blessed to have for the first twenty-seven years of my life. He was
a good father. He loved his children and made many sacrifices so
that we would have more opportunities than he, to live a
rewarding life. I saw his love expressed in many ways. But I never
knew him as a mature adult because he died young and unexpectedly. That
was a true loss to me.
never expected that there would be another man in my life that I could
call Dad with just as much love.
Dad who would finish the job of teaching me, as an adult, what a loving
father should be.
that was before my Uncle George married my mother and joined our family
and became part of my life.
first impression of George as a young woman was when I was 14 and my
family drove to Seattle to visit Uncle George and his family.
so impressed by my handsome, adventurous and outgoing uncle.
took us sailing in Puget Sound on the boat he built. We had to go
through a series of 3 locks at Ballard to get from Lake Washington to
the Sound and we saw the salmon runs along the locks and talked about
the awesome beauty that surrounded us and the strength of nature.
went to the world’s fair that was in Seattle at the time and we saw the
big model of a DNA molecule that Watson and Crick developed and we
discussed what it meant and how it could alter our understanding the
human body and how it worked.
visited Pioneer square and the Seattle Museum of Fine Arts and talked
ate Japanese food and looked at pictures of his visit to Germany and he
talked about the fun of exploring new countries and how exciting it
And he talked to ME!!! As an adult, someone who’s opinion he was
didn’t know how much of an impact that he had on me until I had the
serious discussion with my Dad about college and how important it was
for me to find out who I was and what I could do.
even though money was short, and I was just a woman, my Dad sent me to
college because he realized how important it was to me.
first Dad made college happen for me, but my uncle George opened my eyes
to the possibilities in my life.
young adult I saw George and his family only on rare occasion because he
lived so far away.
after my Dad died, and I was in my late 30s, married to my husband Jeff
and we had our own family, we started seeing George at more of our
thrilled of course because he was such an interesting and exciting
fellow to be around. Of course he had that twinkle in his eye that
meant he knew how to have fun.
after a few years, my sister Sarah and I started realizing that we
weren’t the only ones thrilled to have George visiting the family.
Mother was getting frequent calls from George that she would eagerly
anticipate, and she would giggle and be so animated on these calls that
it suddenly dawned on us that she was probably in love with George!!
were shocked and thrilled at the same time. Mom and George didn’t seem
to be aware of anyone else, so we had an exciting drama to watch up
started to see each other more and make plans to do things together. Of
course, the road to love is always bumpy. George, having been a
bachelor for 10 years, started dragging his feet a little as their love
reached a different more serious level. So mother cooled it a little
and George responded with anxiety and concern. It went back and forth
for a while until Sarah and I wanted to say “just do it”.
was a dramatic love story, like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Finally there was the big scene where George proposed to Betty in the
basement of a Ski Lodge in Utah; the basement—was the only place they
could be private together--among stinky wet socks drying on overhead
pipes with pools of water underneath.
didn’t know, like all new lovers, what kind of love they would have.
my mother, being an very well read English teacher, who could spot a
plot or subplot very early, should have know that a love proposed and
accepted in such a dark, dank place as that basement had to be a strong
and hardy kind of love for the future that awaited them.
were 61 years old when they married in this church right here. They
hoped for 10 good years together and they were blessed with 18 very
wonderful years together.
Well, back to the plot of a Strong and Hardy Love.
sure George didn’t know what he was getting into or he would have
dragged his feet more!!
George’s newly joined family there were 7 adult sons and daughters and 8
grandkids and it was going to grow bigger.
watched George and mother build their life together, they built it
around our new family.
George jumped in like it was going to be his biggest and best adventure.
was always the first person at the door when hordes of us kids, with
spouses, and new loves and good friends descended for 3 or 4 holidays
every year that lasted up to a week at a time. He greeted us with
a big smile and a twinkle in his eye—ready to welcome us with open arms
and more—lots more.
about putting his degree in engineering to good use.
had to know how to keep 2 toilets working when 20 to 30 people were
using them during the day, how to fix pipes when they froze, how to keep
kids active and happy, how to assist the great cook, Betty Valentine who
could be demanding at times, how to deal with emergencies, how to tone
down the sometimes raucous and raunchy male members of the family, how
to suggest with diplomacy and tact that at 3 o’clock in the morning it
was time to go to bed and to please pick up after yourself and finally,
how to have fun in the process.
picked up babies, played silly games with the kids, wiped away tears,
hunted Easter eggs, and sent the kids on to bigger adventures in their
kissed his wife so frequently we sometimes had to say “Stop that!!”
the activities that swirled around us during family gatherings could
have distracted you from what George was doing.
if you looked through all that you would have seen a modest man quietly
working, like a sailor juggling and adjusting all the sails and lines on
a boat to keep us all afloat and sailing happily forward.
would have seen a marvelous man dealing with each family member with
honesty and kindness and compassion. You would have seen a courageous
man helping his family. You would have seen a Hardy and Sturdy Love.
Sometimes you don’t know you love someone until you say it.
Sometimes you don’t realize you have another Dad, a real Dad until you
call them Dad.
didn’t call George “Dad” for a long time because I had already had a
great father who I loved very much.
when I saw how much George loved his family, saw it in the details of
those hard days of hosting family gathering, his interactions with each
family member, the care and concern and tenderness he showed my mother,
his final partner in life—especially when they were getting elderly and
needed a different kind of love to keep going and be happy each day.
I saw all that, I had to say something that I had already known in my
heart for a long time.
George Marion Valentine was my Dad.
was a good Dad to me. And he lived up to that name in too many ways to
loved him very, very much.
will miss him.