My Dad

My dad was a remarkable man.  Born into a tenant farmer’s family with 11 brothers and sisters, he had only an eighth grade education because he had to help on the farm. He was a visionary and an engineer at the core of his being.  In 1948, he acquired a US patent on a device he invented while working as a pump mechanic in a large chemical plant.  With no formal education, he designed an ingenious flexible coupling that would self-adjust when applied to the shafts of a pump and a power source.  However, it never benefited him or our family since it was pirated by a large and deep-pocketed tool manufacturing company. 

But his greatness was not just as a designer and side-line engineer, he was also an artist, skilled (with no instruction) at painting oil landscapes of beautiful forests and mountains (he had never seen a mountain) and rippling brooks and rivers.  He was a musician.  He was a poet who composed beautiful love poems for my Mom and also a song writer… again, a love song for my mother entitled “Wonderful You.”

He was a golfer and took me at an early age to the links and taught me good sportsmanship and how to have class even if we were not in the high-class income bracket.  I never heard him utter a curse word.  I never saw him lose his temper, I never heard him say an unkind word to my mom, I never saw him drink or act unruly or show any signs of hatred toward anyone. 

Here are some of the things he did for me:


  • Loved my mom… totally and completely
  • I never saw him throw a temper tantrum
  • Never drank
  • I never heard him swear or utter a curse word
  • Never worried
  • Never abused my mom in word or deed
  • Was never pessimistic
  • Took me to church
  • Bought me bikes
  • Taught me to be honest and not to lie
  • Showed me how to be kind and loving
  • Demonstrated compassion for others… took his Christmas bonus and bought presents for children in a poor family in my hometown
  • Sacrificed to give me all things I needed (not necessarily what I wanted)
  • Built things for me
  • Showed me how to do stuff
  • Took me fishing
  • Played golf with me
  • Carried us on trips  and camping vacations
  • Taught me family love and respect
  • Was faithful to Mom and me
  • Worked tirelessly to make us comfortable and secure
  • Demonstrated the Love of God for all to see

Some of the most memorable times during my early childhood were our visits Dad’s parents  (Pap Paw’s and Mam Maw’s) small house on the outskirts of Hattiesburg.  Some of his brothers and my cousins would meet there and have a gig… they all played some kind of musical instrument… the violin, the guitar, mandolin, piano and accordion and those who could not play one, did the singing.  The small house literally vibrated with song, melody and family unity like I have never experienced anywhere in all my years.   

Dad loved me and he loved my mom.  He was a true “family man” and sacrificed incredibly to see that we were secure, and well-cared for. 

At my ordination in 1958, he asked to speak a word to those gathered.  He walked to the front with his Bible in hand and quoted “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” and tearfully walked back to his seat.

I will forever remember that moment. 

Thank you Dad

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