On Sunday night, February 3, dad was welcomed to Paradise with Jesus.
We celebrated his life earlier this week and it could not have been more beautiful and perfect just for him. The night before the service mom gave us letters dad had written to each of us, along with matching necklaces for his girls to wear to his service. It was an emotional and beautiful surprise which really showcased the thoughtful person dad was.
The service was held at my parents church, where they got married 26 years ago and we grew up attending. At the front of the church were two of dad’s surfboards, decorated with the most gorgeous floral wreaths, and in the background played his favorite music (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jimmy Buffet and more) as guests arrived and signed the “guest book” — dad’s favorite longboard surfboard. His childhood friend and retired preacher officiated the service, during which he read letters that we wrote to dad. It was an absolutely beautiful celebration which ended with a BBQ lunch for all of the guests. Afterwards, we kept the party going well into the night back home, sharing stories, laughter and tears.
A Tribute to Dad
It’s hard to condense 33 years of memories into just a few paragraphs, especially when one of the gifts that dad passed on to me is long drawn-out storytelling. Both of us have a tendency to make a short story very very very very long.
Dad taught me so much. He taught me how to scuba dive, how to cast a fishing rod, how to grill a steak, how to surf and how to drive my first car – a red Chevy S10 stick shift pick-up truck. He also taught me how to be strong, self-sufficient and independent. In fact, I am pretty sure I am the only girl to go to college with her own tool box, which I still use to this day. And yes, the hammer is hot pink.
Dad could build anything. He built many huge state of the art structures where tons and tons of families now live. He was very proud of his accomplishments. However, his greatest contracting feat and my personal favorite was the epic tree house he built by hand in our backyard. At first it was going to be a modest tree house, still one that all the kids on the block were going to love too. But then Dad being Dad, those modest plans were tossed to the wind in exchange for the mecca of all tree houses. It became a gorgeous two story playhouse. The first story served as a garage for our bikes. The main headquarters was accessible only by staircase and protected by a secret password, which I am still not permitted to reveal to anyone. The second floor headquarters was decked out with luxury amenities like heating & cooling, windows, rooftop shingles, cable TV and more. Dad spent months perfecting this hideaway for us. We anxiously counted down the days until it was finished so that we could fulfill every kid’s dream of sleeping in our very own backyard tree house. When the ribbon-cutting day finally arrived we spent hours loading up our little sanctuary with sleeping bags, pillows, snacks, flashlights, toys and more. We were the luckiest kids alive. Later that night, we were all tucked in by mom and dad. Sadly, and not too surprisingly if you know me, Lindsey and Ian, we only lasted about an hour before the first loud noise sent us screaming and running back inside to our beds, never to be repeated again. Dad wasn’t mad. He halfway expected this, but it was the joy and excitement in our faces that made the months-long build worth it.
Everyone who knew Dad knew he had an incredible sense of humor. I’ll never forget the night I begged my parents to let me park my truck in the garage so it would be safe from Senior Step-Up Day, which was a tradition in high school in which the graduating seniors would trash the rising seniors’ cars. It took a lot of convincing but I was relieved when they finally agreed to let me park in the garage, safe and sound for the night, or so I thought. The next morning I was flabbergasted when I opened the garage door to find my truck completely trashed, covered in shaving cream and rolled with toilet paper. And a few feet behind me stood my parents, laughing their faces off and proud of their midnight antics.
Dad embodied the saying “work hard, play hard.” Dad was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. He wanted great things for our family, and he worked hard so he could provide for us, oftentimes leaving before the sun came up and arriving home well after it set. I don’t know how he did it for all of those years, but he did, and we’re all grateful for it. Even though he was a hard worker, we all know he played pretty hard too. Dad was always having fun and could frequently be found skateboarding with my brother and his friends on skate ramps he built for them, flying or driving mechanical toys, surfing, surfing, surfing, and more surfing. He would even turn the bedtime routine into a game where he would chase us with nerf guns and we could stay up for as long as we could dodge his bullets. He called this game “whoever gets tagged goes to bed.”
Dad was really good at so many things. He gave the biggest bear hugs where he would squeeze you so tight you’d lose your breath for a second. He had a knack for organization and his tool sheds always looked straight out of a Home Depot catalog. He was really good at falling asleep sitting up and he could turn any cardboard box into a hat. He could fix anything – except cars or plumbing, and probably detangled over 1000 knots in my necklace chains. He was also really good at picking out awesome moms which I am forever thankful for. The second one even came with a fantastic bonus brother.
Dad relished the good things in life including a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak, Jimmy Buffet, corny jokes, and of course, an 8 foot glassy wave. He loved his family hard and specialized in spoiling his granbabies. He leaves behind an amazing legacy, 4200 cartridges of bullets, 7 storage containers of survival gear for the apocalypse, 3 dozen pocket knives, 65 packages of surf wax, a 3 gallon Zephry hills container of pennies and his incredible humor which will live inside us forever.
Dad, I love you so much and I can’t wait for my next bear hug when I see you in heaven.