Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate in so many ways that I couldn’t even begin to list them all in this space. One, though, is the fact that I made it to almost age 65 with both of my parents alive, active and in relatively good health. That changed last night.
One of my three brothers, Tom, called me from Pittsburgh and told me our Dad was dead. He sat down with my Mom for dinner, slumped sideways, and died immediately, apparently from a heart attack. He was 93.
Intellectually, I knew that someday I would be on the receiving end of that call. But emotionally, that doesn’t make it any easier.
And I’m sure my Dad, Bob Jewell, wouldn’t want me to write this and post it in any public venue. He was so modest and unassuming that he would never want to be the center of attention, even in connection with his own death. Yet during my run this morning, I decided it was important to acknowledge his passing and in some small way celebrate his life. And who knows. Maybe after I labor over a few hundred words here, I’ll feel better. Or not.
Like many of his generation, he lived a quietly remarkable — yet unremarkable — life. And I say that with all possible admiration and gratitude.
He came of age in the Depression, and he was part of the The Greatest Generation. He enlisted after Pearl Harbor in the Army Air Corps and became a bomber pilot, dropping some heavy metal on our enemy in the Pacific. After the war he returned to the community where he grew up in Pittsburgh, married his childhood sweetheart, gained and maintained a solidly middle class lifestyle through hard work and the kind of personal integrity you don’t always see in business these days, and became head of a family consisting of my Mom, four sons and our wives, and nine grandchildren.
We’ll get together next week in Pittsburgh for a modest remembrance. That’s what he wanted.
And he’ll be remembered as a kind, caring and loving person, a dedicated husband and family man — and the best possible father.
Now I feel better.