The picture was taken on his friend, Phil's sailboat. He loved to sail with his friends, Phil and Dick. They are all gone now. I hope they are sailing together—somewhere.
Dad was a mechanical engineer. At the end of the war (WWII) he and his brother bought a machine shop in Pocatello, Idaho. They were both engineers and they had an engineering business and the machine shop where they built the machines they designed. They did work for all kinds of businesses. I remember Dad doing a lot of work for the Coca Cola bottler in Pocatello. But being where they were—Idaho—"famous potatos"—and when—the '50s and '60s when the processed food industry boomed—most of their work came from the potato processing companies. My Dad was the French fry guy. If you've eaten a french fry from McDonald's or Burger King, or bought them frozen in the supermarket, these were all made by machines designed by my Dad. He invented the crinkle-cut french fry machine. (more surface for extra crunch) He also designed machines for frozen hash browns and all kinds of frozen foods. One time a group I belong to asked us to bring an item that was significant to our family history for a program. I took a potato. I figured it was potatoes that sent me to college, straightened my teeth and provided the good life I knew as a child. Dad enjoyed the creative challenge of his work, but he never thought it was that much—not like the engineers at NASA, for example. Wouldn't he have loved being involved in the space program?
He must have had faults. Too much inside his head? A little absent-minded? Not a great cook? But who could fault his modesty? His soft-spoken humility. His love for his family. His love of knowledge and learning and reading. His sense of humor. The sweetest, best Dad ever.
Every year he called on my birthday and he always said the same thing. "I can't believe you are __ years old. You were the most beautiful baby I have ever seen." For the past 10 years I have only been able to imagine that phone call.
When he was dying, we flew to Salt Lake City, then rented a car and drove to Pocatello. I called on the way and my sister-in-law said, "hurry, he is fading fast." When we arrived he seemed to know we were there. I sat and held his hand as he left us. For months I was in a fog of grief. One evening I saw a white-haired man wearing a plaid shirt just like one of my Dad's, crossing the street as I drove home from work. I cried all the way home.