Thursday, June 05, 2003

My Dad died a little over two years ago: 1/11/01, to be exact. Interesting, because he was an electronics engineer , and did a lot of machine language programming (i.e., zeroes and ones) on first and second generation computers.

He was born 77 years ago today, James Brewerton Ricketts Jr. Or the Fifth. He was the fourth in a line (II through V) named after his great-great-great-uncle, a Brigadier General in the Civil War. I was the Sixth (but officially III on my birth certificate), but I changed my name when I turned 18 - too much baggage, I thought. Kinda sorry now, but the deed is done.

Anyhow, Dad married my Mom in 1953. They separated in 1974, and divorced in 1979. Dad married his second wife, Dorothy, in 1981. They met 1/13/81, the funeral was 1/13/01. Twenty years on the nose.

Dad got a BS from MIT, and MS from UWM, had three kids, six grandkids, four stepkids, and nine stepgrandkids. He outlived his daughter, my sister Alison, and his stepdaughter, my stepsister Mary Ellen. He had a great-grandkid, and another on the way, when he died: Our grandson Wesley was 7 months old, and our granddaughter Alyssa was on the way. We hadn't told the family about it... they found out at the funeral. A few of them haven't spoken to us since. We WERE planning to tell them...

Dad had a severe stroke in '95, never really recovered. He was wheelchair bound, obese (hadn't been, before the stroke), incontinent, and had a REALLY hard time speaking. He wanted to know why God would keep him around in such a state. While I don't know the answer, I suspect (1) it gave him the opportunity to let someone care for him, and (2) it gave the people around him the opportunity to care for him. He became increasingly humble and gentle as his days went on, and his wife, my stepmom, never lost heart in caring for him, being his advocate, and just loving him.

I still miss you, Dad.

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