Saturday, October 9, 2010

I'll Really Miss Him

He was a man of extraordinary intelligence, ability, strength and determination. He lived a worthwhile and honourable life. He was kind and he was generous. His sense of humour was wry. He had a quiet nature. When he spoke, people listened. He accomplished much, saw much and appreciated much. He loved his family and his God.

My dad died today.

As with all people living in Germany in the 30's, childhood brought some difficult conditions. He was forced to give up his dream of teaching when he was a young adult. His residential school was turned into a barracks...WWII had begun. Students were immediately put out of the building and those fortunate enough to have names near the beginning of the alphabet received what coats there were to withstand their trek home in the harsh weather. He was out of luck.

He apprenticed at a radio shop in his hometown of Weinheim where he learned his trade. His official title was "radio technologist". These abilities coupled with his willingness to take risks would eventually elevate him into positions of respect in many companies where he would be sought after for his skills.

At the young age of 20, he said a temporary goodbye to his home, his young wife and child, his family. He went west...all the way across the ocean and across the great country of Canada where he knew nothing of the culture or language. He was sent to B.C. and became a lumberjack all the while carrying with him his dream of working in the technological field. Having ventured a bit too far west courtesy of Immigration Canada, he worked his way back to Ontario. Friends set him up in a mining town...McKenzie Island.

After 6 months, his wife and small child joined him. Besides working in a gold mine, he became the guitarist for the community's Saturday night dance band and repaired radios for the islanders. His workshop was a small shed beside the lake...Red Lake. During these years, he made friends. Some friendships lasted throughout his lifetime. Life was better, language skills were improving, but the intense and stressful working conditions, frequent accidents in the mine and desire to pursue his career caused him to pack up and move his family south.

He arrived in Toronto where his skills helped him gain an entry level position at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. He worked, educated himself further and developed vast knowledge of the technical aspect of the television industry. He eventually moved his family to a new subdivision called Bay Ridges. It was during this time, that he became one of the founding members of Peace Lutheran Church. He also became a respected employee who often travelled for work. After many years, further opportunities presented themselves. He worked for a time at TVO and evenually became engineering manager at Sony Canada. This resulted in numerous trips to Japan. He continued to travel, work and teach training courses at various institutions including Ryerson. He was a member of church council and managed the church finances for many years.

He enjoyed his hobbies proudly displaying his train collections and his model railroad set. Home was full of music, electronics, books, Scientific American magazines and star charts next to his telescope. There was always plenty of good food and drink and lots of visiting friends. He saw much of the world. He loved the beauty of nature and camping gave him great joy. He admired people who could speak with anyone on any subject and yet, he himself was one of those people.

My dad died today...and he was smiling.

1 comment:

  1. Your dad sounds like an amazing man. I'm very sorry for your loss.