Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Guest Blog

4-13-11 memorial brain
Ann came over Monday night and we watched Dancing with the Stars together, helping her to get her life back in balance and routine after her 10 day ordeal of caring for her Father, while he was in and out of the hospital. Ann showed she was a dedicated daughter during this time, but that was nothing new.... she has watched over her Dad since the mid-1990's when he moved to Des Moines. Her loyalty and big heart, are reasons I was open to becoming her friend. Below are the words Ann spoke at her Father's funeral.- Judy

Prior to March 27th, my Dad lived a near-healthy active life. He was able to care for himself, drove his red Jeep, and even got his taxes done 2 days prior. On March 27th, Dad was hospitalized with pneumonia, he was discharged on March 29th and readmitted to CCU on March 30th with heart/lung symptoms and a high fever that just would not get better. On April 3nd, his condition got worse which necessitated intubation. Shortly after intubation, my Dad suffered a massive stroke and passed away on April 6th.

My tribute to my Dad will be centered around six words, Dad was a : RiskTaker. Keeper. Worker. Sports-fan. Traveler. Keeper.

RiskTaker- My Dad took a big risk, leaving Trinidad in 1968 so he and my mom could provide a better life for us. I’ve always said, we came to this country with a suitcase in our hands and $5 in our pockets. What a life Dad had. We honored our parents by working hard and getting as much education as we could. His risk paid off.

Keeper- The first 17 years of my life, my Dad was our keeper. He did the best job he could with the tools he had. I have no regrets of how he raised us.

Worker- Dad was a shoe salesman. He was proud of selling women’s shoes. After retiring from Nieman Marcus, he moved to Iowa and began working at Younkers (age 65). He loved working at the downtown Younkers store and made many suggestions on the art of selling shoes. If you asked for a size 6 in a particular size, and the shoe was not available, he would come back with 1 or 2 shoes similar to the one you wanted or a size bigger. He said it was not good customer service to say to the customer “sorry, we do not have that shoe”.

At age 74, he helped established the shoe department at Dillard’s at Jordan Creek. I recall he was asked by a 20’something HR person “Matthew, can you tell me who you admire”. I said really …ask that of a 74 year man, but dad was polite and said, he admired Ronald Regan for moving to politics from acting and for his love of this country. That’s why I have a picture of Ronald Regan here.

SportsFan- Dad loved sports, be it college sports, boxing, track n field or his beloved Redskins. If he wasn’t watching it on TV, he listened to it on the radio. He loved the radio. At age 65, Dad went to his first Redskins game in St Louis and then many more games.

Traveler- Over the last 10 years, Dad became my running buddy and travel partner. He loved to travel, just coming back from Trinidad on March 16th. Over the years, Dad traveled with me to Toronto, Florida, Atlanta with a side trip to “Lady and Son’s Restaurant”, Palm Springs and Los Angeles, not to mention all over Iowa, Chicago and Kansas City. He loved riding in the car, admiring the landscape and buildings. During the last days of his life, he may have known his time was short, saying this was his final trip back to Trinidad. He had seen and done all at his beloved birthplace, Sande Grande-Chee You Junction.

Keeper- The last 15 years, I’ve been privileged to be my Dad’s keeper. While I fussed over the years about taking him here and there, I truly was honored to be his keeper. He always said “Talk to Sandra (my nickname) she see’s about me”.

Most of you know I did a lot with my Dad besides traveling. Every weekend, Dad and I would go to breakfast. Our ritual was a pick up at 9 am, drive to McDonalds for coffee which he recently called “I want a cup of modern coffee” to go along with a local radio station tag line. Then we would head off to Hy-Vee on East Euclid to have pancakes n’ sausage or for a treat, a full breakfast. In the summer, we added the farmers market, which he dearly loved.

Dad also enjoyed the Iowa State Fair. He loved to people watch and see the Bill Riley Talent Show. In 2008, we attended the Van n’ Bonnie Corn Dog Chomp, whereby Dad became a Guinness Record Holder for the largest crowd eating a corn dog at one time (9,000).

When I took his picture, he asked me why and I said …. "Dad when you pass, I’m going to say that you were a Guinness Record Holder" . He didn’t understand it at the time, but I’m sure Dad understands it now.

Wow what an accomplishment and what a great life. Dad, I will miss you and I will always be my Father’s keeper.
Ann Marie
That Girl


  1. Thanks Judy for posting my memorial to may Dad.
    I've now experienced the love of a parent and the duty of a daughter. I will honor my dad with getting on to the business of living.

  2. Great Words Ann. Thanks for sharing. Honoring your father by living the life he brought to you is the best gift a daughter can give.

  3. What a wonderful father you had, Ann. I'd almost bet my nana met your father a time or two at the downtown Younkers. When I was little I rode the bus with her to Younkers many a weekend and we often visited that shoe department. And I'd almost bet my mom met your dad a time or two as she used to work at the Hy-Vee on Euclid! Funny how our lives are intertwined! It sounds like your father led a very full life and I'm so happy that you can get on with the business of living in honor of him. I'm sure he is looking down on you bursting with pride. xo

  4. Fabulous blog Ann, what a great tribute to a great man.

    Next time, we are together let's go shoe shopping in this honor!

  5. Thank you thank you for the kind words.
    Molly, yes yes yes we will.

  6. p.s. With the funds I got from friends and family, I will honor dad by sponsoring a park bench at the IA State Fair, The bench will be new with his name on it ... outside the new Jacobson Building. I may get my order in just in time for the bench to be assembled for the Aug Fair. He would of loved to see his name on a bench!

  7. What a great idea Ann.... I can't wait to sit on his bench!