During the wee hours of November 15, 2016, my father passed from this earthen life to another world unknown. He had been complaining of fatigue in the months prior, and as casually as one might dismiss those complaints as a consequence of old age, little did any of us know that lymphoma had silently returned to his abdominal region. Within a week of being admitted to the hospital with severe ascites, he eventually succumbed to acute renal failure.
A person of simple needs and desires, he was a salty old dog, preferring to spend his time sailing in whatever capacity possible. Several years ago, I convinced him to spend a bit of money traveling to Bora Bora, a lifelong destination point, and as novelist James Michener said, “the most beautiful island in the world.” It was the best collection of memories money could buy.
He spent 35 years sailing and racing his beloved Lightning on Lake Jacomo, but that only qualified for a fraction of his adventures. Twice, in his late fifties, he sailed solo from the coast of Florida to The Bahamas. Even seasoned skippers proclaimed that he had a death wish sailing a 19-foot centerboard across the Gulf Stream. Despite borderline insanity, he survived those harrowing adventures and became a legend at Lake Jacomo and the local watering holes in The Bahamas.
His senior years brought about a change in pace, leading to the purchase of a Colgate 26. This boat was designed for training, comfortably seating ten people and, not surprisingly, ideal for socializing. In retirement, my father was always available to help new students curious about the joy of sailing. His Colgate 26 was a perfect platform for teaching.
Here he is playing drums in high school. Even in his late years, he was an excellent percussionist, often tapping on his conga drums to entertain the family.
Here he sits with his cousin, Rosemary, at the age of three. They were raised in the same household as children, so he always thought of her to this day as his sister.
And, what a fitting finale. So long, mates!