Ronald William Whiteman – April 4, 1949 – March 26, 2018
Over the years, Dad had many roles for many people. Educator. Enforcer. Competitor. Confidant. Friend. Storyteller. I was lucky enough that he was all of this to me. For almost 69 years, he was always there in some way. I may not have appreciated it at the time, but I knew I could always trust him to do right by me.
Life is defined by memories, for it is memories that tell the stories of our lives. With dad, the memories are many and vivid. They shape my past. I learned to drive with dad. I learned about what it means to put just a little too much gravel in the back of a pickup with dad. I went hunting with dad, learned to shoot with him, and learned that I don’t really enjoy walking around in the cold, wet, woods, attempting to find the deer that was there the week before, but certainly not there now.
My love of sports car was developed by spending hours with dad, working out how to keep an old unreliable British car on the road. It was dad that gave me a working mechanical knowledge, something that still helps me every day. We went on a long road trip in his old MG when I was young, and I’m very happy that we got the chance to go on another trip in my not-so-old Mazda once I was older.
I learned to SCUBA dive because of Dad. We never dove together, but we did snorkel a few times when I was young. We always wanted to get together and dive again, but just never quite got together to do it. I think we would have enjoyed it.
I took dad out mountain biking once, and while I never got him to ride the trails again, I know from the way he told the stories of that trip, he enjoyed it. If not at the time, certainly in hindsight. We shared a sense of adventure and love of the outdoors.
Dad loved to fish. I can’t say I picked it up as strongly as he liked, but I enjoyed fishing with dad too. One late-night trip in an open boat on an empty river, fishing for sturgeon was especially memorable. It was cold and wet, but we were happy, sitting on aluminum benches, waiting for the fish that never bit. Salmon fishing was more adventurous—out on the big ocean waves, sometimes so big that they registered as on the fish-finder. I never failed to “feed the chum,” but I loved it anyway. I just wish we could have caught more salmon and less shark over the years.
I wasn’t able to get home fast enough to say goodby to Dad in the end. As somebody that has never been religious or one that believes strongly in the afterlife, I’ve felt for a long time that a person lives on in the memories of others. If the afterlife is indeed defined in memories, then Dad will be around for a long time to come, and we can all smile each time one of those memories resurfaces.
Thank you Dad, I’ll miss you, and I love you. Forever and always.