My father died suddenly on January 22, 1993. He was only 67 but his spirit lives on in the way that I chose to live my life and raise my children.
“Bobby” as he was fondly known by many, was raised in the Ottawa Valley and he was proud of those roots. As a young man he moved to Capreol in Northern Ontario, where he had a long career as a CNR locomotive engineer. That is where we were raised….in Northern Ontario.
My father was a trade unionist. I saw him walk the picket line more than once and later as a Registered Nurse in Alberta I experienced what it would be like to do so myself.
He was also a great debater. Dad taught us the art hold a an argument, by listening and respecting the other party. That skill is disappearing rapidly.
Bobby was ahead of his time when it came to tolerance of others. It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from. Gender, politics, religion, sexuality, money…none of that was important. Everyone was welcome in our house and it remained that way until the day my father died.
Dad was also an environmentalist. The family has a farm in the Ottawa Valley. My dad and his father taught us to be stewards of the environment. During the early 80’s my father took the horse stable from the now over 100-year-old log farm and had it moved to a waterfront lot. It was reconstructed into our family cottage. The interior doors are made from the wood that was cleared from that lot to make way for the structure.
After my dad retired due to health reasons he became a municipal council member for the Township of South Algona. He was instrumental in having recycling implemented at the landfill site. We were proud of his efforts. Dad was a man dedicated to reducing, reusing and recycling.
My parents are both of Irish descent and we always enjoyed St. Patrick’s day. So it is only appropriate that on a day that honors all things green I remember my dad.
Bobby would be proud of my efforts over the years to do the right thing for the environment. He would also be pleased to know that the tolerance had for others carries on with his children and grandchildren.
My dad is my inspiration. I miss him.