He was born in 1917. As the oldest son of a west Texas farmer, he became the man of the family at 17 when his father died. He raised his younger sister, took care of his mother, and married his sweetheart from east Texas.
He worked a dairy farm. He worked construction. He worked with sheet metal. He worked with his hands until he became a sales engineer in the early days of commercial air conditioning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Along the way, he cared for his family, loved his wife, and disciplined his three sons. He set an example of ethical behavior, honest speech, and unswerving integrity. His second son followed his example of hard work and honesty.
The second son worked as a house painter. He worked with his hands until he graduated from college and began to teach. He moved from teaching to writing for newspapers to writing for utility companies. Like his father before him, he stood for honesty and integrity.
He also cared for his family, loved his wife, and disciplined his children. He too set a great example.
Two generations of leaders in their communities, their businesses, and their families. They set an example and they mentored others to become leaders as well. They set the example for me of what it means to be a leader, a husband, a father…a man.
They are my grandfather and my father.
My grandfather died in January of 2004. He was a great man all the way to the end. He never stopped taking care of my grandmother, and he never stopped setting a good example. My father now lives in Florida with my Mom. He still takes care of her, and he still sets a great example.
I have learned about integrity, honesty, and character from many sources at this point in my life. None of them has been as important as my grandfather and my father. As Father’s day passes this year, I am reminded of the legacy of leadership they left for me. I hope and pray that, I too, will leave a similar legacy for my two daughters and their children.