On August 19, 1948 a red headed, green eyed, chubby little boy entered this world. He grew into a rebellious child who gave his mother more grief than she could have ever imagined. In his teenage years he was known as the tough kid, but those who really knew him understood the big heart underneath that tough kid appearance.

He was the life of the party, the class clown, the practical joker and the short-tempered one throughout most of life. Rarely would you catch him not wearing his boots and cowboy hat. He even said that when it was his time to leave this earth, he wanted to go out wearing his boots. He was also the hardest worker you ever met. He believed in integrity, traditions and the value of family. As long as he had the means, he would help those who needed him. He stood up for the underdog and judged a man on the firmness of his handshake and the quality of his pocket knife. People naturally respected him the first time they met him.

On August 12, 1976 a little girl was born who would call this man “Dad.” She grew into a woman who never took for granted the stock she came from. No one found his jokes funnier than she did. She loved telling people who her parents were as those that knew them always had fond things to say about them. She learned how to be a leader, a business woman and a parent by watching him and her mother. She learned how to stand up for herself and how to be confident in being just who she was. She learned the value of a dollar and how to be generous with money for those who needed it more than she did. She also learned that it is okay not to succeed at something the first time, but it was not okay to stop trying. She learned that if you fall down, you “dust off your britches and try it again.”

On April 14, 2014 the breath that he saw her take for the first time was knocked out of her. The cowboy left….with his boots on. The woman has carried on. She is stronger than ever, but knows it is because of all he taught her about life. She is learning how to carry on his traditions, how to keep reaching for success and how to breathe again. She is protecting the underdog, serving her community and sharing a little bit of him everywhere she goes.

Thank you for your generosity, sacrifices, leadership and belief in me, Dad.