December 16, 2012
My dad passed away one year ago tonight. He was amazing. Brilliant, with a mind for science and a heart for God, and a solid understanding that the two are not mutually exclusive. Funny, with a sly side and a healthy appreciation for his own silly jokes. Loving, with compassion that knew no boundaries, and generosity to match. He was equal parts the dad we wanted and the father we needed, and I’ve never known a greater man.
I wrote something a little more in-depth last year, but off the top of my head, here’s a few things about him that I find fascinating…
• With his parents and siblings, he escaped Communist rule in Romania, and studied medicine in Greece. Later, when the family came to the United States, he basically started over, and earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees in bio-chemistry.
• He loved books. The master bedroom in our house didn’t contain a bed; it was all books, wall to wall, floor to ceiling. A Henry Bemis dream. He passed that love on to me, and now I’m seeing it manifest in my little girl. So awesome.
• He loved pens. I’ve got that addiction, too.
• Regularly at dinner, he’d prepare an extra plate, and drive down Tustin Avenue in Orange to feed a homeless woman that frequented the area.
• He was old-school, calculators and type-writers. At 70, he bought a computer and learned to use it, so that he could write the first Romanian translation of the New Testament based directly on the original Greek texts (he spoke both languages, as well as English, fluently). I’d often come home and find him typing away; sometimes he’d be waiting for me to remind him how to insert a line or edit a word. But he did it. A year before he died, his translation saw print, and he got to add a copy of his labor of love to his bookshelf.
• He raised five boys on his own. He packed five lunches every morning, bought shoes for five pairs of feet, did laundry for five dirty boys, and kept five bellies full at dinner time. And he did it all incredibly well.
I miss him terribly, and for tonight’s daily sketch, I drew my dad.