I have been out of town for 5 weeks. Milt and I returned last Thursday evening. It has been a whirlwind of emotions! Dad was such a hard worker. He worked in the Air Force for 20 years, Radio Shack as a store manager for 22 years, America West Airlines for 7 years, and his most favorite job of all was a school crossing for the Overland Park Police Department for 10 years. Dad was so sad when his health wouldn’t allow him to do his crossing guard duties.
One of the last activities Dad attended was a basketball tournament that his grandson, Scott was playing in.
This is our family making silly faces!
We gave Dad an early Father’s Day present. It was a story book with our voices recorded telling Dad how much we love him. Alec is sitting on his lap eating cheese while he and Pop Pop listen to our voices.
Dad wanted to travel to Salt Lake City so badly. He even planned a trip for May 30th so he could see his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We convinced Dad to talk to his family via Skype instead. We tried to Skype everyday that Dad and Nichelle could due to pain which would not allow us to converse on a few occasions.
Pennie, Luke, Alec, Dad, Mom, and Nichole
Pennie, Pam, Alec, Dad, Mom, Nichole
Dad and Alec are giving each other a big hug!
Alec learned a new trick while he was in Kansas. He learned how to open the fridge. It was one of his favorite activities.
When Alec needed to cool off he would open the fridge and sit on the bottom shelf. LOL!
Milt and Kaylin came to Kansas to celebrate my birthday and to spend time with Dad. We didn’t know at the time that these would be his last two weeks to be here on earth.
Kaylin is giving Maxine a big “dog hug.”
Dad spent his last 8 days at the Kansas City Hospice House. The nurses and staff were wonderful. Dad was made as comfortable as possible. We had very many tender moments with him.
Kaylin would stand on a chair each day and say, “I love you great-grandpa!” In this photo she is showing great grandpa the “sparkly” rock that she found outside at the labyrinth. She was going to give it to Franklin who celebrated his 17th birthday on May 23rd. (The rock had pieces of fools gold in it.) Franklin loves sparkly things.
Mom would sit by Dad’s bed for hours and hold his hand and stroke his hair. Hearing is the last thing to go so we were encouraged to keep talking to Dad. We would read, sing, and talk to Dad endlessly.
While we were at the Hospice House we had a tornado warning. The tornado touched down 3 miles from us. Normally Dad would have been put in a wheel chair and moved into the bathroom with the rest of us. However, it was too painful to move Dad so the nurse put covers all over Dad and we all went into the bathroom.
While we were in Kansas a terrible tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. It was the worst tornado as far as destruction and loss of lives in the United States in the last 70 years.
Mom, Pat, Luke, Kaylin, Milt, Pennie, Eric and myself were in the bathroom for over an hour.
Craig and Nichelle arrived Friday, May 27th around 7pm. Dad passed away 10 minutes before midnight that same evening. He was hanging on to see his “Shell, Shell.” The Royals were also playing that evening. The game went to overtime and was in the 14th inning. Nichelle told Dad that he was in his 14th inning. As soon as they announced that the Royals would win, Dad passed away peacefully surrounded by Nichelle, Craig, and my Mother. Dad was a true blue sports fan. He couldn’t leave until the Royals won. LOL!
The memory table was designed by Pennie, Luke and myself. It had Dad’s old scriptures, his high school yearbook, sports memorabilia, bowling trophies, scripture doodle art by me, Radio Shack memorabilia and lots of family pictures.
Luke made a beautiful slide show with pictures from Dad’s life. It played to one of Dad’s favorite songs, “On the Wings of a Dove.” That song was sung at Grandma Tyree’s funeral, also.
Dad was to be buried on June 1st at the National Cemetery in Leavenworth. Mom wanted to see Dad for one last time. So, they brought Dad’s casket inside for one last memory for Mom to hold in her heart until they meet again.
Kaylin loves her Daddy so much. I love this picture of her hugging his legs.
The Stanley Ward Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a luncheon for the family. This was especially nice because I am the only member of the church in my family. I asked if the ward would provide the luncheon and they eagerly agreed. Bishop Jeff Peterson of the Stanley Ward also visited Dad in our home a couple of weeks before he passed away. We found out that Bishop Peterson was a cousin to one of our neighbors, Dr. Harris Walker who has since passed away.
Dad’s pallbearers were the Air Force members. He had a very patriotic 21 gun salute. It was a very touching graveside service. Dad served in the Korean War and also was in the military during the Vietnam War. He loved his country very much.
The family members are leaving the graveside service area. The actual graveside is not accessible for an hour after the service.
Eric and Kaylin are nearing the graveside.
Each family member put a red rose on Dad’s grave.
Pennie, Mom, and Pat are taking on last look at Dad’s grave site.
This is the program that I designed for Dad’s funeral. He was such a handsome fellow.
Luke did the calligraphy for the 23rd Psalms which was included in the funeral program. Lots of family members participated in the funeral service. The funeral service was on May 31st. We couldn’t get a burial appointment on the same day because the National Cemetery was booked.
Whenever Dad and Mom came to Salt Lake City, they would request a visit to the Sunday morning broadcast of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir at 9:30am. They both enjoyed it every single time. The choir always sings “God Be With You Until We Meet Again,” as the closing song. Our family members sang the song to Dad to close the funeral and the congregation joined in for the last two verses. We love you Dad and we most certainly will meet again.