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Death in the family

americanstd asked me to write this, but I'm turning comments off because they belong in his journal, not mine.  (EDIT: He originally hadn't intended to write his own post; he has now.)

Steve's dad died tonight.  He was 85. Steve's Pop lived one of the wildest lives around. He joined the Navy at 16 so he could fight in World War II and spent those years staring at the Japanese across the Aleutians. During that time he was a champion weightlifter on ship and earned his GED. At war's end he married and became an electrician, a job that took him from doing contracts for Disney to contracts for KBR in Sumatra.

He was an excellent electrician, but his heart wasn't really in it, so on retirement he bought a ranch in New Mexico where he raised Tennessee Walking Horses, German Shorthaired Pointers and a few head of cattle. He spent six months a year in NM, spending the other six at home with his wife and occasionally adult sons. (Steve's brother John was married and Steve spent some years at home, coming out to work occasionally after marrying this Canadian theologian he'd met over the internet. But that's another story.) One of his dogs, Pistol, was a national champion who left his genes to many GSP puppies.

He was also a gun nut. He went to the 1968 Mexico City Olympics in pistol shooting, but never came near a medal. Still, he was there and that in itself is an accomplishment. He made his own bullets, and may be the only person in history whose post-stroke therapy was getting lead and antimony and making up a batch.

Steve's mum died in 2007, and Pop wasn't ever really happy after that. Six months ago he was declining rapidly, and when we saw him Monday at his apartment, we knew the end was near.  He died surrounded by family in a hospital in Orange County and it was peaceful and dignified, in his sleep.

To quote Hunter S. Thompson:

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

Que en paz descanse.



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