Today would have been my Daddy’s 83rd birthday. When he passed away 10 years ago, we wrote our own tributes to be read at the funeral. So here are a handful of those memories. They are all a little different, but they all communicate the wonderful, loving man I was blessed to call Daddy. I try to keep my posts fairly short, so forgive me if this one is a little long.
Remembering my Dad….Carol Ann
Like most everyone, I think that my Dad was the greatest of all. And the greatest Granddad, too. He loved his kids and grandkids with all his heart – we never doubted that.
My earliest memories of my Dad are stretching out on his big chest for naps which he continued to let me do until I grew too big. And going swimming at Lake Texoma – he never let us go out in the water until he walked all around to make sure there were no deep holes, or glass on the bottom of the lake where we were. Every once in a while, he would take us with him to work and introduce us to everyone he called on – it made me feel very important! And Dad made certain that we were in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night until we left his house. I remember him taking us for ice cream after church on Sundays – but only if we had sat perfectly quiet during services. We knew better than to misbehave in church or we would get it when we got home.
On long road trips, we would pester Dad until he would stop at every Stuckey’s along the way – now that I am grown I know how bothersome that must have been, but he let us stop anyway. Dad patiently taught me to drive a stick-shift in “Old Blue” in the pasture behind our house – he taught Dean, Jennifer and some grandkids in that truck also, and made idle threats to Jennifer years later that “Old Blue” would be the truck she would have to drive around! She was mortified at that thought! I remember wonderful camping trips to Red River, New Mexico when we got a little older – we had Jennifer to entertain us by that time, and were always allowed to bring a friend along on the trip, too.
My grown up memories of Dad are that he was always there for all of us. He has helped us fix whatever needed fixing. He has helped us move to new houses. He often drove me to Greenville to leave my car for repair and then take me back in the afternoon to pick it up – I enjoyed those drives with him so much. He was a wonderful Granddad to all the kids. Dad & Mom took them camping in Red River two at a time – alternating their turns to be fair! He attended most all of the baseball games, swim meets, football games, softball games, basketball games, recitals, graduations, graduation parties and anything else the grandkids asked him to do.
Dad whistled all the time – just like Grandmother Stroud – I don’t think he even realized he was whistling. I got a call from Dean several months ago asking me if I would like to join the “whistle while you work club” – when I asked what he meant, he explained that he had just spent the entire day with Dad replacing the water pump in the pumphouse and thought that I also should have the chance to listen to Dad whistle all day long!
My Dad was a faithful husband to my mother, a supportive father to me and my siblings, a loving granddad to all this grandchildren, a good friend to many, but most of all he was a man who lived out his strong faith in God. And for all of that – I am grateful.
A few of Laura’s memories….
I love his bearhugs. I’m sure many people here have had those strong pats on the back from Grandad that shook your whole body, but still made ya feel better.
I love his prayers. They were soft-spoken, and sometimes mumbled, but always full of faith. They always started, “Dear heavenly father, thank you for this day and for it’s many blessing” and ended “In Jesus’ name we pray.”
I love how his whole face lit up when he smiled or laughed.
“Dadgummit”. Enough said. It has lots of different meanings.
I loved his big Ben E. Keith shirts that Kara and I slept in the FOUR nights of the week that we stayed at Memo and Grandad’s house. He would record the 10 pm “I Love Lucy” every night and we would get up every morning and watch them, wrapped up in our oversized shirts.
Then we’d watch Price is Right and we would all get so excited if it was a PLINKO day, and THEN we would feed the cows and we’d take turns sitting in his lap and steering, or pushing off the hay bales when he whistled.
He was the most patient man I have ever known. He would let us watch the same movies over and over, and watch them with us! After watching Karate Kid…I don’t remember who did it first…but we started “honking” each others nose. All day, we’d sneak up and try to squeeze each other’s nose and say “HONK!” He’d be in the middle of a nap, and I’d go honk his nose. We did that for years.
He always wanted us to be happy. When rain interrupted a camping trip in Red River, Jennifer and I BEGGED him to take us and get a cabin. So we did. And instead of fishing or hiking, we played ‘Crazy 8s’ and watched hummingbirds—and enjoyed every minute of it. From then on, when Memo and Grandad took the boys to Red River, they camped, but with the girls, they got a cabin.
He was a supporter. He and Memo drove all the way to Waco to a State Swim meet to watch me swim for 29 seconds and then drove the 4 hours back.
He was the strongest man I knew. He could open ANY jar if no one else could. But he was so tender. When we transformed his work shed into a drive through restaurant, he was right there in line, ordering an imaginary hamburger.
He was the best male example I could have ever asked for. He kept God and family at the center of his life, and ours. He taught us all, by example, how to be hard-working, humble, faithful, honest, and kind. And I am so thankful for that.
Remembering my Grendad……….Taylor Kirkpatrick
When I was very little maybe about 3 years old I went to a daycare. Everyday I would call him and he would come get me every time. There was this one day he didn’t come get me and I got so mad at him and stayed mad for a day.
When I got a little older about 7 or 8 everyday me and Rachel would get in the back of “Old Blue” and help Grendad feed the cows. We would always have so much fun and sometimes he would even let us drive the tractor.
I remember when me and Rachel would smash foil with Grendad’s sledgehammer and make hamburgers and he would pretend to eat them. He was so funny!!!!!!!
I also remember that he would always play all sorts of games with me and Rachel and he almost always won.
I also remember he would say “dad gum it!” and he would also say to me “guess what” and I would say “what” and he would always say “I love you”.
I’m very thankful that I have so many good memories to look back on and not so many bad. I love you so much Grendad.
You were the best dad that I could have ever asked for. You always loved me even when I was not very lovable. I remember the way you always supported all your kids and grandkids in all that they did. I also remember the way your belt found my back side way too often. The too often was my fault (and a lot of times it was Carol Ann’s fault as you figured that I was probably due also since she goofed up). I remember the summers when we would go to the lake and Six Flags. You took us every year and Six Flags is fun when you are a kid, but I found out later how much walking there was at that place. That kind of takes the fun out of it but you never complained. I knew you were sick the last few months but you never said anything. I was thinking today, about 3 months ago I hit my sternum bone and cracked it. I never went to the doctor. Today I realized that I got my hard head from you!
I am so blessed because I came to tell you that we were doing our best to get you out of the Bonham hospital and to a hospital that could help you, I told you that I love you and you responded with an “I love you too” that for some reason felt like the last one I would get from you. Five minutes later I watched you die as they put you into the ambulance. I believe you went to God’s presence at that moment. Your body was kept going after that but I don’t feel like my Daddy was in that body that laid in the hospital all night long with the help of machines.
I take great pride and comfort in knowing that when God received you, He did not say Welcome – HE SAID “WELCOME MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT”! Your crown must be very heavy for you did serve God very well while on this earth. I think my crown at this moment is an economy series crown. I hope before I leave this place that I can do half as much for God’s kingdom as you did.
Thanks for being:
The best husband my mama could ask for
The best Daddy we could ever ask for
The best Granddad ever
The best friend ever
And most of all, the best Christian role model for us kids and grandkids ever. Without that I might not have been in the church that day Jesus came into my heart and life. THANK YOU!
Don’t worry about Mama, we will take good care of her just like you did for 49 years. I know that you danced the Streets of Gold when you got to Heaven because you no longer had those football injured legs. You will be missed by us all. Today I don’t know how to get through it, so I ask God for us all – especially Mama – a little extra Grace and comfort.
I love you so much Daddy and I will see you in Heaven.
Memories from Jennifer
Many wonderful childhood memories came from our summer camp-outs to Red River, New Mexico. One year, after searching endlessly for a place to camp we came literally to the end of the road – Goat Hill – the very last camp site before the next town. It was actually much closer to the next town than to Red River. So we decided to camp there (as if we had a choice of camping spots). Goat Hill had one water faucet, 2 really nasty toilets and 3 campsites. It turned out to be the best fun we’d ever had and in the coming years, we always went to Goat Hill first, and were sorely disappointed if it was full. Daddy always had nervous energy and found it hard to sit still. During our camping trips, he channeled that energy into keeping the campsite neat and tidy – which usually meant putting things away where Mama couldn’t find them. To say the least, she was a little irritated when she realized the things she needed to make dinner were packed away in the back of the truck!
One year, Daddy and I drove out to visit my Uncle Richard and Aunt Letha in Georgia. It was a long drive, and the most interesting thing we could find was road signs. We starting seeing these green signs with white lettering advertising “Lookout Mountain”. I wish we would have counted them. We had to have seen at least a hundred. It became a game to see who could spot the next one first. And then we came to the point where we wanted to scream at the sight of another. That year for Christmas after all the packages were opened, Daddy said “Oh, I forgot, I have one more gift for you”. Imagine my excitement – another present! Then he came out of his bedroom holding a home made green sign with lettering that said, “Lookout Mountain, 5 miles”.
Dad was so many things to me – the most of all, love. God’s love is much easier for me to understand because of my dad – I always knew that I could never escape Dad’s love, as it is with God. I think that is the greatest testament to my father’s faith – he was able to love us as God loves us. I wish that every child could have a father like mine: one that will teach you how to play softball and then spend hours pitching to you, one that will teach you how to change a tire, one that will teach you to drive a stick shift (in “Old Blue”, no less), one that will work hours and hours to build you a play-house, one that will run behind you to steady your bicycle for hours upon hours while you learn to ride, one that will show you that hard work makes you stronger (in more ways than one), one that models what it means to be a disciple of God.
I love my Granddad because:
He always played a lot of games with me, he let me help when he fixed things like the new TV in the living room, and he could fix anything because he had a lot of super glue.
You never realize how much you really love someone until they are gone. My granddad was always there for me when my dad could not take me to my baseball games. He loved watching me play, and I loved it more when he was watching me play. When I was little my favorite place to go was to my grandparents. They took good care of me and gave me a lot of attention. One time though I was outside hitting a tree with a baseball bat and granddad came outside running and yelling. I did not go back for a few days. I thought it would be best to let him cool off. My granddad will always be in my heart. I miss him so much, but he is in a better place right now looking down on us. Granddad, I love you and you will be in my heart always.
Memories from Garrett –
I will always remember how Granddad could fix anything. Growing up, there were 4 to 5 grandchildren at the house at any given time so there were plenty of opportunities for things to be broke. Anytime it happened one of us always had the solution. We would quickly say “Take it to Granddad” or, “Wait till Granddad gets home, he will fix it” And he always did, and he whistled all the while he was working on it.
There are other things I will remember about him also.
He never missed our sporting events whether they were in town or 100 miles out of town.
Every day at 3:00 in the winter he would take us to feed the cows. Justin, Laura and I would pile in the back of Ol’ Blue, and he would honk the horn a couple of times when he was ready for us to push out a bale.
He had all the patience in the world with us as kids. He hardly ever raised his voice or got on to us. And we played a lot of ball in the house. He never seemed to mind though. He may have even liked it because it usually gave him something else to fix.
Every time I would walk in the house I would say “Hey Granddad” and he would always reply “Hey Grandson”.
He and Memo never got to watch what they wanted to on TV. And they still don’t! Because there has been at least one grandkid at their house every day for the last 25 years. Justin and I watched Rocky everyday for a month straight one summer, sometimes twice a day. And everyday he would sit down and watch it with us like he had never seen it before.
Granddad, you mean so much to me. The memories I have about you will stay with me forever. You were the most generous and kindest man I’ve ever known. You always put others before yourself and you always had time for us grandkids. You always came to our ballgames and took us wherever we needed to go and were happy to do it. My fondest memory of you is when you were swinging in the porch swing. Every time I would drive by and see you on the swing I would honk and you would wave, that special wave that I will remember always. More recently when I would come for a visit I would turn into the driveway and see you out on the porch. I have always looked forward to that because that’s when I knew I was home.
Well, Granddad you’ve moved on to that big porch swing in the sky. To be with your family and friends and the lord you loved so deeply. Now you can swing for eternity and watch over us. I will truly miss you and whenever I’m swinging in the porch swing, I’ll be smiling and thinking of you always.
Your Grandson Justin
Some might not use the word romantic when talking about Harold, but I can. On our first anniversary he gave me cake pans and pie pans and said he really liked something sweet after every meal. A few years later he told me I could cook as good as his mother.
In recent times when he went to Wal-Mart, he sometimes would bring me a French vanilla cappuccino! Now that’s romantic.
I could fill pages about this good and fine man and all the good things he did, but I will just say what a wonderful, wonderful husband he was to me for 49 years, 7 months and 10 days and I will miss him forever.
I wish I could have found his football pic in time, but alas, the clock was working against me. But I want to share one story that one of my co-workers shared with me last year. Her father and my dad played football together in high school. My dad was a BIG guy. 6’2″ and all muscle. He was intimidating without even trying to be just because of his size. In high school (and college at the University of Kansas), he played center. Apparently, a lot of tension built up before a game with rival Denison, which was a result from pranks being played back and forth by each team. The final straw was when the Denison boys threw paint on Bonham cheerleaders. Denison came to Bonham to play and our boys tore them up. My dad, according to his teammate, ended up knocking someone out from his hit (geez I hope this is the correct football lingo). After the play, my dad walked up to him, picked him up with one hand by his shoulder pads and when he saw the guy was limp, just dropped him back to the Earth. I don’t think the Denison boys played any pranks after that. The article in the paper noted that one Denison fan leaving the stadium was overheard saying he never wanted to hear the name “Stroud” again.
Happy Birthday Daddy!