My family had a sad but not unexpected loss yesterday, My granddad passed at the age of 99, just a few weeks shy of his 100th birthday. He had remarkable health, both mental and physical, with the exception of the last several months when his body but not his mind finally began to fail him. I have many fond memories of him and my grandmother whom predeceased him. They were the ideal grandparents. They were fun, warm, affectionate, and loved to take my sister and I on trips. They took us on cross country driving trips, planes, trains and automobiles. They didn’t miss birthdays, graduations or any important event. My grandmother was the most amazing cook one could ever meet. I never understood how she stayed skinny her whole life eating all of her fabulous food.
My granddad, as seems to be the habit of my parents and grandparents, led a remarkable life. He was born in 1917. It is hard to comprehend all the changes he saw in the world throughout his 99 years. He was a chemist by education, and spent more than 40 years heading up the water division at a major municipality. He was personally responsible for delivering clean, safe drinking water to millions of people. He never failed them, and in fact his major municipality is well known for their excellent water to this day. He is considered the father of the modern laboratory in his field and awards are named after his pioneering ways. It was incomprehensible to him how the Flint, Michigan water crisis could happen in this day in a first world country.
He always felt it was important to stay with the times. He had a flat screen television long before Jason and I had one – in fact the only one we’ve had was his hand me down. He used a cell phone, used email, and loved to do google searches. It never failed to make me smile when my inbox would ping with an email from my 90+ year old grandfather.
He believed we all had a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, especially to our water. He would remind me constantly when I accompanied him to his lab as a kid that the human race was nothing without clean, safe water. He believed in being curious about the world we lived in and had an impressive resume of international travel. He finally ceased international travel when he was 90 and the arthritis in his back made long trips in planes or cars uncomfortable.
However, of everything I remember about him the part that stands out the most was his charitable nature. He loved to lend his expertise, give help, give money and give time. He lived through the Great Depression as a kid and it left his mark on him, and he said the only way a lot of people made it through those times was by sticking together, helping and sharing. As he said to me more than once, “we’re all in this life together.”
I’ve been blessed with a truly remarkable family, and I like to think it makes me a better person trying to follow in their impressive footsteps. I’ll miss him a lot, and I’m thankful I have so many fond memories with which to remember him.
Miel and Lighty were being wild . . .
. . . and the usual, “hi, just hanging out” picture
something had the attention of Hesse and Bruno
Walden and Fabrizzio showing off their trots on a rainy day
Digby, Nemo and Lighty
Paramount, Lighty, Nemo and Happy
Charlotte and Maisie
Sebastian and Johnny
Calimba and MyLight having a grooming session with Lily grazing
Romeo, Lotus and Donneur
Donovan, Oskar and Johnny
Baner, Remmy and Bruno