A celebration of one of the fathers in my life

Column by Mary Stobie
Posted 6/12/18

It is a challenge to write a Father’s Day column because of the pitfall of making a father a saint, which is not a realistic portrait. This column is to honor my husband, Dick, a father in many …

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A celebration of one of the fathers in my life

Posted

It is a challenge to write a Father’s Day column because of the pitfall of making a father a saint, which is not a realistic portrait.

This column is to honor my husband, Dick, a father in many ways. He’s an exceptionally fine man, but he’s no saint. Before I tout his great qualities, I must tell you that he sings too loud in church. His pipes are so powerful his voice drowns out my voice and the voices of the people around us. Nevertheless, his singing has resonance and depth many would envy.

My husband is a former Catholic priest. Parishioners called him “Father.” His strength was how he cared for the people in his parish, even visiting their homes. This caring quality has extended beyond the days when he was a priest. When he left the priesthood in 1970, his seven older sisters all said, “You gave enough years to the church.”

His fatherly behavior is shown as he coaches and manages the softball team called “Wit and Grit” for players over 70-years-old. “I like getting these old guys out to exercise,” he says.

“You need to run and do sprints,” he told one guy who was slow making it to first base. The man must have listened to Dick, because this year he is running much faster.

A natural athlete, Dick does a series of exercises every day. Even at 80-years-old, he still pitches two games in a row for his team. He often bats the ball out of the park.

I think taking care of our property reminds him of the farm. He mows our extensive lawn on a ride mower which must echo memories of a tractor.The minute something needs fixing, he fixes it. He built our dining room table and kitchen table.

Dick was raised outside Sterling the 11th of 12 children. His parents were Volga German farmers from Russia His grandparents were robbed and killed as they attempted to come to America. “I never knew any of my grandparents,” he says wistfully.

He meditates and does spiritual reading every morning. He has inspired me to have more discipline in that area.

I believe his occasional loudness, both in speech and in singing, may come from not being heard growing up on the farm. As the 11th child out of 12, who would have time to listen to him? And as a priest he had to listen to everyone’s problems, and rarely talk about himself.

In his first marriage he raised an adopted son. They still regularly stay in touch. Also my grandchildren call him “Grandpa Dick.”

For Dick and fathers who read this column, may you be appreciated for your great qualities. Happy Father’s Day.

Mary Stobie is thankful for fathers., including her own. Contact Mary at mry_jeanne@yahoo.com. Her book You Fall Off, You Get Back On is available at www.marystobie.com. 

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