Wednesday, May 24, 2006

birthday tribute

Perry Simon had another great idea. A month ago, on his father's birthday he wrote a nice couple of paragraphs about his dad.

Today would have been my father's birthday. He was only 50 when he died. A year or two ago, I reached the point when my father had been dead more than half my life. There have been so many things that have happened since his death that I would have liked for him to have seen.
I wish I had gotten to know him better. I wish he had gotten to meet my children.

My father went to Fordham University and then to journalism school at Columbia. He joined the Air Force and flew jets over Montana for a couple of peacetime years. After that, he worked as a newspaper reporter and eventually became a correspondent for UPI, covering the New York State Legislature. That led to a job as an assistant press secretary for Governor Nelson Rockefeller. After that he joined the public relations firm of Ivy Lee & T.J. Ross, later known as T.J. Ross & Associates. He did work for several big companies including Pan Am and Chrysler. His biggest account was Bacardi Rum. He often traveled to Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda for Bacardi. He brought the family along to Miami a couple of times and to Bermuda once. About three years before he died, he took a job with the American Petroleum Institute and moved our family from the New York suburbs to the Washington suburbs.

My dad was a huge fan of the New York Football Giants. He had season tickets and took me to see the Giants play at Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Yale Bowl and Giants Stadium. I took him to see them play once at RFK Stadium about two months before his unexpected death. Dad also loved the baseball Giants before they broke his heart and moved to San Francisco. He raised me to be a New York Mets fan. He taught me that the orange on the Mets' caps came from the Giants and that the blue came from the Dodgers.

Like each of us, Dad impacted more lives than he probably realized. He wrote a campaign slogan that helped his friend Andrew O'Rourke get elected to city council. He played an important part in keeping the Crestwood Library from closing by getting a rookie reporter named Chris Wallace to show up with a camera crew.

My father sang with the Glee Club of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. We buried him in the tuxedo he wore on stage with them. He was a member of the NYAC and often played tennis with Bill Wendell, which impressed me. He loved opera and Gregorian chants. He took my mother to see musicals on Broadway.

I'm sure there was more to him than what I've written. I should have asked my sisters and cousins to share some memories too. If your father is still alive, take the opportunity to have a conversation with him today.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read this, I thought this is a nice tribute to your dad. But you really got me with the last paragraph. It made me think of my missed moments with my dad, and the wonderful shared moments I had with him too.

Thank you.

Anonymous Pam Mc said...

My heart goes out to you Frank. Your dad seemed like a stellar person, as you have turned out to be also. What a touching way to remember him.
My dad has been gone over 10 years now and I miss him very much. Cherish all moments as if they were the last...


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