Today, my friends, is my Grandpa’s birthday! He would be 101 years old today! It’s hard for me to imagine that this time three years ago, he had just passed away in his sleep. My Grandpa was 98 when he was called Home, and he is probably the only person I will ever meet in this life that was called home on the same day that he was born.
I consider myself a very blessed man to have been able to have my Grandpa (and my Grandma, too, for that matter) in my life for as long as I did. It’s not every person that can say that they had their Grandpa with them until they were 43 years old. Sophie was 10 years old — she had her Poppy (that’s what she called her Great Grandpa) for 10 years of her life.
This was a bittersweet day for us — this was the day that we moved Grandpa out of the house that he and Grandma had bought in Florida, and moved him north to live with my Mom and Dad. It was bittersweet because we had so many great memories from those visits, but we knew that Grandpa couldn’t live there anymore on his own. This was not long after Grandma had passed away.
Part of remembering Grandpa was in taking a family trip to visit where he grew up as a boy in Connecticut. My Great Grandfather was the pharmacist that owned this pharmacy, and my Grandpa in his youth was a Soda Jerk! They had their house just a short walk up the street. It was a lot of fun visiting that area and meeting the current pharmacist and just visiting areas that I had never been to before!
Grandpa was buried in the same Memorial Garden that my Grandma was five years earlier. They both opted for cremation, and this Memorial Garden was established by their church in New Port Richey, Florida. It is a fitting tribute to the church that despite the fact that Grandpa hadn’t been to that church in five years, there were still members of the congregation that remembered him and my Grandma, and made it a point to come to his service.
My Grandpa was a man of firsts — the first person (along with my Grandma, of course) to take me to Walt Disney World. The first person to teach me to swim — we actually taught each other! The first person to teach me all of the different airplanes that he knew from his days working for United Airlines. Lastly, my Grandpa showed me, through his love for my Grandma, the perfect way to treat your wife, and that is something that I will never, ever forget.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa!