My father died Thursday July 10, 2003, at about 8pm. He died at home, with his wife and his first-born son at his side. My father was 79 years old. His birthday would have been August 24th. He had Alzheimer's disease, and was diagnosed in early June with inoperable lung cancer.
While rendered largely incoherent from the Alzheimer's dementia in the final weeks of his life, he was still 'pa', still the man I loved for all of my then forty-three years. He would frequently give the wry look that only he could do - curling his eyebrow up as if to say "can you believe this stuff?"
Before the Alzheimer's overtook him, he had a formidable intellect, and a gentle demeanor. He also had a remarkable ability quickly to anger, but that passed as swiftly as it arose. I don't think he knew the meaning of the word "grudge".
He grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. After the War, he went
to Vassar (also in Poughkeepsie), one of eleven men
who chose to go there on the GI bill. As Vassar was an all-girls school
at the time, he was given a diploma for the fictitious "University of The
State of New York". He met Jane, his future wife and our
mother while there.