Our community lost a favorite father this past week. His daughter J is a good friend, and my family was fortunate enough to get to know her parents. J's son played football for the Mr. when he was coaching. K, L, and I would ride to away games with J and her parents. The girls called J's parents "Grandma" and "Grandpa." It took a few years before I realized that almost everyone called them Grandma and Grandpa. Everyone loved them like favorite grandparents.
J's parents greeted K and L with a smile and a hug every time they met over the last 25 years or so. You know how some people just make you feel so special and so loved? That would have been J's parents. And we weren't even blood relation. Come to find out, I think that almost everyone in town felt that way. I don't believe I have ever heard an unkind word spoken about "Grandma and Grandpa."
J was their only daughter. She was the apple of her Daddy's eye. Trust me, he had reason to be proud. His daughter is beautiful inside and out. She is definitely her parent's kid, as she has inherited the same gift of making people feel special and loved. She taught 3rd grade in our school system for years and there are hosts of children who were fortunate enough to be be loved by her for an entire year. She will miss her dad, but she only has to look in the mirror to see the reflection of his life--and one of his greatest legacies.
Her dad's death this past week leaves a hole in our community. His wife and his kids will miss him, but so will a host of others who have been lucky enough to know him and his wife.
The best part of a good man never dies; it lives after him--in the lives touched by his life. J's dad will be around for a good, long while.