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Sunday, February 3, 2013

80 Years Young

This post is a tribute to my father Leo, who on February 4th will turn 80 years of age.  Notice I didn't use the term old.  No, I have never thought of my father as old but rather he was always the "Big Daddy" of his large brood of 12 children.  As his 10th child and 3rd son, I have been very lucky that I have such a fantastic Dad. 

My father has always provided guidance and direction for all of his children in his quiet, calm and measured manner.  He has been there for all of us during times of crisis and has instilled in all of us the values of fair play, modesty, and service to others that remain with  us to this day.  This call to service is reflected in many of the occupations and volunteer activities we are all involved with as adults.  There is no doubt that as a father myself, his lessons and example will be used often as I raise my three children.

Over the years, I have done some genealolgy research on both sides of my family and I hope to continue this research this year.  Also, as someone who loves history, I note that my Dad is a child of the Great Depression.  He faced tragedy at an early age as his father died and his Grandfather moved in with his mother to help her.  The relationship he had with his Grandfather was no doubt crucial in shaping my Dad into the man he became.  Some would call it "old school," I call it "common sense."  My father is a man of faith who has placed his trust in God and has given many hours in service to his parish as an Eucharistic minister and as a CYO Basketball coach.     

My father is part of what historians Neil Howe and William Strausst note in their book The Fourth Turning as the "Silent" generation.  These were the individuals who were two young to fight in WW II and too old to participate in Vietnam.  My father's generation were the technocrats that led American businesses during its boom years of the 50's and 60's before the fabric of our American society began to change.  Interestingly, no member of my father's generation ever became President as we've gone from WWII vets as Presidents to Baby Boomer Presidents. 

My father has enjoyed a fantastic retirement for the last 18 years with travel to distant locations.  I had the pleasure of joining him and my mother on a trip to Paris, France in 1999 and again in 2001.  My father made all the arrangements and the trips were a lot of fun.  Due to these trips, France will forever hold a special place for me and my wife. My father has also enjoyed the exponential growth in the number of his grandchildren which numbered only 15 at the end of 2005 and has now doubled in size to number 30 some seven years later. 

Yesterday, my family was joined by friends to celebrate my Father's birthday.  It was a very enjoyable afternoon filled with good food, drinks and laughter.  My Dad had a very nice time and it was a fitting tribute to our patriarch.  In closing, I found an Irish Birthday Blessing I offer to my Dad:

For each petal on the shamrock this brings a wish your way.
Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day.

Happy 80 years young Dad,

Stephen, Aimee
Joseph, Caroline and Samantha

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