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OT-A Tribute to my Dad

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  • OT-A Tribute to my Dad

    It is with heavy heart that I type this.

    Yesterday, I lost my Hero, my Mentor, My Dad.

    Dad was 80. He has had a rough couple of years. But I think he lived more in his 80 years than most people would live in 120 years.

    Dad hired into GM in 1953 and started an apprenticeship in toolmaking soon after. He came from a farm family from the Dakotas and the people at GM said thay liked hiring farmer types. They were used to being innovative to keep things running.

    He got involved in the apprentice committee because he liked the idea of sharing knowledge to make the world a better place and helping people better themselves. During his time working with the apprentice committee, he worked with the local community college to tailor classes to fit the needs of new technologies and graduated hundreds and hundreds of journeymen into a variey of trades.

    He also was an excellent toolmaker who I had the honor of spending time training under. I hired into GM in the mid 70's and became an apprentice toolmaker, following in the footsteps of my dad. Several times I had a question about a setup or something and would ask the leadman for his opinion. He would usually take a nice long drag off of his pipe and tell me "if your dad was down here, he could tell us how to do it".

    My dad almost never hired anyone to do anything. He was smart enough to do almost anything so he would do most everything himself. Need a transmission rebuilt for for a '59 Buick, heck I can do that.I have found it has been a cross between a blessing and a curse at times to be able to decide what to take on and what not to. Our only limitations are the ones we place upon ourselves.

    When my dad retired in '87, I took his place on the apprentice committee. He advised me against it, telling me "when you test and interview three or four hundred applicants and only place a dozen or so, you have made a dozen friends and several hundred enemies. My drive to share in his vision of sharing knowlege for the good of man compelled me to get involved and do it anyway. I spent 9 good years helping dozens of people get skills that would change their lives. I saw it with my own eyes.

    Dad raised seven children, of which I am the third. On one income. We never went to Paris, but we did pretty good. I have four brothers that have spent most or all of their lives in machining/mechanical trades or the training thereof. Thanks dad.

    Sorry for the sad story, but I felt a need to share with my metalworking friends because without my dads influence, I am pretty sure I would not be sharing this here.





  • #2

    It's hard to lose your dad, especially when you are as close as you two sounded. I can only tell you this, My dad (who I lost several years ago) was also my hero, mentor and friend. It still amazes me how often the things he taught me and the advise he gave me come to mind. He taught me right from wrong, how to solve problems, and how to take care of and relate to my family. In short he has never left me. I'll bet yours hasn't left you either.

    Praying for you and yours,



    • #3
      Please accept my condolences Brian. I know exactly what you are going through right now. Your father, like mine, was a member of what Tom Brokaw called 'The Greatest Generation' and I share Brokaw's opinion.

      Your father lives on in the history of his contributions to our country and his legacy includes the careers of those he helped to master this wonderful trade of machine shop technology. I know you are very proud of him and you should be.

      Someone once said, before you can realize the miracle of the sunrise you must stand for a time in the darkness. I know where you are at right now, I've been there. It is a dark and painful place, but the darkness will pass. I wish you peace.


      • #4
        My condolences for Your loss.



        • #5
          Originally posted by bborr01
          Sorry for the sad story,
          I'm very sorry for your loss, but overall I don't see it as a sad story at all. Your father lived a life that was successful beyond measure. He raised a good family, was productive, helped his fellow man, passed his traits and skills on to the next generation, and lived to a good age. He obviously embodied everything that is good in man. How does it get any better than that?


          • #6
            Sorry also to hear of the loss of your father. Peace and healing to you.

            I hope you'll let the rest of us celebrate a human hero.
            "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill


            • #7
              I am very sorry to hear about your loss. It sounds like your dad was a great guy. It sounds like he did a great job mentoring you. I am sure he has touched the live of many people.
              Regards Dave.


              • #8
                You have my condolences and best wishes. Feel lucky that you and your father were close and that he deserved your respect. I don't have that fortunate circumstance and the day that my father dies will not be an occasion for tears for me.
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                • #9
                  Sorry for your loss. It is hard to loose a loved one. It was for me with both my folks but like you, I have some of the best memories. May god be with you.


                  • #10
                    Real nice story, Brian. I had a dad like that, too. God must like me because I also got a step-dad like that. Thanks for sharing and I'm very sorry for your loss. I'll be going through it myself a second time very soon. It doesn't get better with time.


                    • #11
                      Sorry to hear it Bborr, my pops was my hero too, when fathers day starts rolling around ( like now ) I really start thinking about him but am glad that he made it to 82 --- what an incredible guy my Dad was, I really didn't appreciate just how awesome he was till I got on my own for awhile then I made damn sure he knew - sounds like your pops was the same way, we keep them alive by talking about them.
                      were very lucky and so is everyone who has had a good upbringing and the gift of great parents......


                      • #12
                        Your dad was lucky to have such a loving son.


                        • #13
                          You have my condolences also, My dad managed the local power company but prior to getting into magement he sold and serviced light plants in the day when there was no electricity in rural areas. He turned bushings for generators and motors during the rebuild. About 60 years ago he traded for a Clausing MK 3 that I later inherited along with several other tools. To this day I think of him when I use the tools. And like many others in this column my dad is my hero and I thank him for the blessings he gave me.



                          • #14
                            Sorry to hear about your Dad, my condolences.

                            I lost my Dad 5 years ago. We lived 1500 miles apart so I didn't see him often. However, I called him every weekend just to BS. In his later years he was in bad health so many times we had to cut our phone conversation short. It pained me to hear him struggle so.

                            I guess there isn't anything I or anyone can say to ease the hurt. It gets worse as we get older.




                            • #15
                              My condolences on the loss of your dad. This is the kind of thing that even when you can see it coming and your tell yourself that you're prepared, it still hurts bad.

                              Sounds like he was quite a guy. My own dad is approaching 79 now, and is in rough shape. After years in the boiler room of a tin can, working as fireman (boiler technician) at a big factory while he went to trade school full time to become a toolmaker, and years of grinding electrodes for the EDM machines, his lungs are failing him.

                              He lives very near me, and I'm there every couple of days. Yesterday he called me to tell me he accidentally found the new (used) Black Diamond drill grinder I'd put in his shop. I went over and he was beaming about it, then told me he didn't think he'd get much use out of it because he's not going to be around much longer.

                              I treasure every moment I have with him, as you apparently did with your dad too, Brian. None of us is going to get out of this alive, we just wish our loved ones could.