For most, April 22nd is National Earth Day, but for myself, this date has extra significance as it happens to be my late Father’s birthday. Every year on this day I’m reminded of the lessons I learned from him and take with me to this day. It’s an honor to share and reflect on the great life he lived and I’m thankful every day for having had opportunity to know him.
My father was a Renaissance man; He was very intelligent and had several careers over the course of his life. As a young man, he was a carpenter and then went to college (which in his day, was relatively rare) to obtain an electrical engineering degree. After graduating, he opened up a retail store where he both repaired and sold radios. Due to his electrical engineering training, in World War II, he served in Greenland, operating electrical equipment and spying on the Nazis. After the War, he expanded his radio store to repair and sell televisions (which were very new at the time and analogous to modern-day computer and cell phone repair).
While his ambition and dedication to work was of the utmost importance to him early on in his life, he grew to become quite the family man. He had married late in life and had me when he was 46 years old. As his family was expanding (with my birth and the birth of my younger sister), he decided to become a teacher, went to night school and eventually became a Science teacher.
My father made sure to teach me the value of education and specifically the value of reading books. Every Monday night, my father would go to the local public library and take out a few books to read. He much preferred sitting down with these books than sitting in front of the television. I often joined my father on these library trips and would take out a book or two to read as well. My father didn’t care what subjects I picked, so, in my younger years, I often took out books about sports and later on books about historical figures.
Similar to my father, I too had more than one career path I pursued in my early adulthood. Before I became an attorney, I was a computer programmer and computer consultant. When I was considering changing careers, I often thought of my father and knew that if he could change careers, so could I. I also knew that since I had the ability to read and digest books quickly, that going to law school and having to read cases and law books would be of interest to me.
My father always encouraged me to “be the best, I could be” and to be honest and forthright. He was a good listener and didn’t say much, but, when he talked, you knew it was important. Although I miss my father dearly, I thank him for the wisdom he imparted upon me. I know that I would have never become an attorney without following his example.
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