My Dad’s Obituary

I began writing this a week ago. Might as well post it.

To wrap up the last little bit of my Mother’s estate I was advised by our attorney that he needed two items that would prove that my Father had died. I had neither his death certificate or his obituary.

Dad died 28 years ago just shy of his sixty-second birthday. That period of time was something of a bookend to the times I’m in now. We had just purchased a new home on 21st Ave East and moved in when my Father was failing and had no way to come up and take a look at it. I rented a VHS camcorder and had the family walk around our soon-to-be new home that summer so we could give him a video tour. VHS tapes have about a twenty year life and I haven’t seen that one since we made it. I wonder if it still exists?

At the same time I was trying to recover from having lost my third teaching job. That was a trifecta, lost job, dying father, new house. Two years ago, I was interviewed by the Trib’s education reporter as part of her coverage of the 2013 school board election and reflected on that time. I brought myself to tears thinking about the time, just before his passing, that my Dad told me he thought I had a will to fail. God, I hated to see him die thinking his oldest son was a failure.

I put in a call to Blue Earth County to ask that they send me the death certificate – cost $13, and the Mankato Public Library asking that their reference desk send me a copy of my father’s obituary. I had a bit of trouble understanding the librarian but I left the conversation fairly certain that they would email me the obituary, now on microfilm.

As I lay in bed this morning stewing about how to write the next Martyrdom (MAJ) column I got thinking back on the obituary I was trying to retrieve. I am a collector of such things and I didn’t seem to have it. That got me wondering if it had ever been written. I would have been the likely writer but I couldn’t recall writing it even though I was in Mankato at the time of my Father’s death.

I do have a vivid memory of writing a funeral oration for my Dad. The year before my Father had written a memory of his Mother’s life for her memorial service. I wanted to do something similar. I think I referred to that in a recent post, my staying up late cranking it out on a Mac Computer in the College’s library only to have the computer crash at about ten O’Clock as the library closed. But I don’t remember writing an obituary.

At my parent’s grave site last weekend I offered a similar but extemporaneous eulogy for my Mother. I had been thinking about what to say for a couple days. It contained many elements of things I’ve posted over the past years. The chief job was mentally editing it down to about twenty minutes and not missing any of the key junctures in her life that I thought her small circle of friends might like to know about. I told them I’m thinking about putting a small book of her life anecdotes and art work. That would be a more fulsome project. But what about Dad’s obituary?

I wrote more but this as good a place to end as any for now.