Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day in Our Town

A local funeral director has been the leading force in raising money to purchase over 500 flags for our town.  We've had flags for some time but not this number.  It was quite impressive to see the flags on the town square and lining both sides of Main St.  On Memorial Day there is a parade from the town square to the local cemetery, a distance of 2 miles.  The parade consists a color guard, high school band, various scout troups, mayor and city officials, and me, piping along the way.  We forgot to bring our camera so there are no photos of me for this year but picture one piper following a lot of Boy Scouts and you get the idea.  It was a warm day, bordering on hot and I have to admit I'm a little bit proud of myself for walking at a fast pace and playing my pipes for the two mile parade.  I only stopped playing for about 30 to 60 sec while a ran to catch up with the Boy Scouts.  It's a good feeling to be able to contribute to an event to honor our service men and women.

Friday, May 6, 2011


On Saturday, April 30th, our family gathered at my parents' home to celebrate the life of my dad and commemorate his ashes.  Mom read Psalm 23; I prayed; then we walked around the property he loved so much.  We spread the ashes around the plants and trees that he planted and nurtured; around the playhouse that he built for his 5 grandsons; where the deer come out to graze; and into the wind.  It was a perfectly beautiful day.  Although we are sad and will always miss him, we rejoice in his full and wonderful life.

The following appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Alton Telegraph:

Dr. Joe F. Emons died peacefully on April 27th 2011 at his home in Godfrey surrounded by his family. Born September 14, 1926 in Alton, he was the son of Dr. Walter W. and Helen (Finger) Emons. Dr. Emons moved to Godfrey at age 9 and lived there the rest of his life. His father was a dentist and the profession seemed interesting so after serving in the Army Air Corps he decided to follow in his footsteps. He attended Shurtleff College, University of Illinois in Galesburg, and St. Louis University Dental School, graduating in 1952. Dr. Emons practiced dentistry in Alton for 50 years, always finding his work to be exciting, challenging, and gratifying. In 1950 he married the former Shirley Zito who survives. Their children are Paula Emons-Fuessle and her husband, Robert, of Washington, IL, Gayle Joehl and her husband, Steve, of Chesterfield, MO, and Dr. Matt Emons of West Hollywood, CA. Also surviving are five grandsons, Torben Fuessle and wife Stacy of Midlothian, VA, Nils Fuessle and his fiancée Emily Bond of Kansas City, MO, Peter Fuessle of Los Alamos, NM, Andy Joehl and his fiancée Susan Larson of St. Louis Park, MN, and Eric Joehl of Evanston, IL. He was preceded in death by his sister, E. Joan Martin.

Dr. Emons’ primary hobby was racing sailplanes. He was always grateful that it was a seasonal sport so that he could pursue his other hobbies which included watercolor painting, machine shop work, woodworking, and woodturning. In February 2010 his art and life were featured in an exhibit in the Trimpe Building at Lewis & Clark Community College. One of his most satisfying accomplishments was that he built the home he and his wife shared for 42 years. It took four years of perseverance since he did all the work himself including carpenter work, plumbing, heating and electrical. Dr. Emons was a member of the International Wood Collectors Society. He was an active member of the Woodturners of St. Louis and was recently awarded their first commendation as a lifetime member. He was a member of St. Louis Soaring Club, Silver Creek Soaring Club, and the Soaring Society of America. He won the 15 Meter National Championship in Bryan, OH in 1976 as well as many other soaring competitions. Memorials may be made to the Alton Catholic Children’s Home, 1400 State St., Alton IL 62002 or to a charity of choice. Gent Funeral Home in Alton is in charge of arrangements.

In 1991 Joe wrote: When my time comes, please don’t have a funeral for me... I know the family will want to get together and console one another but try not to feel badly about my death; it is inevitable for all of us. Not many people can say they enjoyed life more than I. How fortunate I was to marry Shirley and to bring three beautiful children into this world. How many can say they flew with the birds, traveled extensively, built their own home, enjoyed many hobbies and earned a respectable living helping other people save their teeth. So no coffin, no grave, no services, just fond memories.


Sail away.

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

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