Sunday, May 1, 2011


For over a week now I have been thinking about what I learned from Dad.  Our dad was not the kind of father who lectured us. The lessons he taught were by example.  A quote by Benjamin Franklin appeared right below his obituary in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.  "Well done is better than well said."  This is how he lived his life and taught us.

Thanksgiving 2010

The value of time.  He was always busy with work and projects, utilizing his time wisely.  When he built our family home he was working more than full time as a dentist and worked on the house in his off hours.

Perseverance.  It took four years to build the house because he did all the work himself including the cabinetry, electrical, wallboard, plumbing. If you walk in this home today you would not know it is over 40 years old.

Don't waste time thinking of "what ifs".  I can not remember my father EVER having second thoughts about a decision he had made and acted upon.  If things didn't work out, he just moved forward.  Mom says he lived each day as if the last had been torn off the calendar and the new day was still hidden from view.

Keep learning.  There are so many examples of how he lived this principal. When he was a young boy he took clocks apart and put them back together. In his work as a dentist he was always going to courses to learn new methods. When my sister needed orthodontic work my father was not satisfied with what the orthodontist was going to do to her teeth.  He researched a new method, one that did not require the removal of perfectly good teeth; went to lectures, courses, and conference, and then did the work himself.  My sister and I were the first of the "guinea pigs" but he later did orthodontic work as a sideline in his regular dental practice.

Laugh.  My dad had a very good sense of humor, a dry wit. 

Be humble.  So many times, especially in the past few days, we have heard how people appreciated Dad's humility.  Although he was quite accomplished, he did not brag about himself.  He became the dentist for many of the nuns at the Catholic Children's Home near his office and became a supporter of this charity.  He donated his art and wood work to their auctions.  Years ago a young man was brought to my father's office for dental work.  This man, a quadraplegic, had no family.  He was the only younger person living in a nursing home near my dad's office.  My father became his friend, visiting him regularly, cutting his hair, and bringing him on occasion to our home. As young children we were often taken along.  My brother remembers these visits quite vividly as he was probably the one who was most often taken along.  These acts of kindness were done without any fanfare until the young man died.

Be positive


AthertonCA said...

Your father passed on his wonderful attributes to his children. Thank you for for this thoughtful and wise post. I shall take it to heart.

KPiep said...

Oh Paula, I've been away from blogs for the last week or so and just learned about your Dad. My prayed will be with you and your family.

kdgillogly said...

Paula, I have been listening to your podcast for the past several months now, and had even gone back and caught up on all the prior episodes as well. I feel like you are a dear friend, and I am so sorry for your loss. I too have witnessed the passing of my father during hospice care after a lengthy illness. I am sure it brought him great peace to have you with him at the end. My prayers are with you and your family. Karen G.

Anonymous said...

Your stories of your family will help me in my efforts to be the parent, wife, child I want to be. Thank you.

marianne said...

continuing my prayers for you and your family. your father left a wonderful

Christie Maas said...

Paula, Thanks for sharing more about your dad. I only met him a few times in our 23 year friendship. You seem to get your drive from him.

When you get home and settled, would you please contact me so we can chat. Until then, hugs,

Lee Bernstein find me at said...

A beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with you Paula. I know you will treasure each photo and wonderful memory of your Dad. Peggy

Jules said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories of your father with us. It sounds like he had a peaceful and blessed passing--at home, surrounded by those most dear to him. I couldn't help but notice a lot of beautiful woodworking in the pictures taken here. I'm thinking since he built the house, he probably furnished it, too! What a special guy. Take care, and I hope your knitting will give you some comfort in the days and weeks to come.

Lani said...

Paula, I am so sorry for your loss. I love the quote from your Dad, Well done is better than well said. I have written it in my journal and will treasure it.

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