Today, I write remember dad. 20 years ago today, dad went to Knights of Columbus heaven. it was the end of a painful last few years due to Type 1 diabetes. For those of you who have it – manage it. You don’t want to physically go through what dad did.
I’ll never forget the last time I spoke with him. It was 3 weeks earlier. It was a Thursday and I was in downtown Kansas City at the Quaff having a coffee at midday before covering Kansas City Council that afternoon. Dad at the time was working for UMB in a variety of responsibilities. He was about to go to work when mom called and said dad had fallen that morning but was going to work. I asked to talk with him. I told him to get to St. John’s because I thought he was having a small stroke. He said he was fine. I was insistent. He was not.
Dad went to work. His branch was the one in downtown Kirkwood. He drove across the street at the gas station he liked so much because they did excellent repair work on his cars. Dad went to fill up his car and collapsed.
I got the call in the middle of the Council session that he had been taken to St. John’s. I filed my stories quickly and drove immediately to St. Louis. He was in a coma. The doctors weren’t optimistic but not completely dismissing recovery.. Mom wanted him kept on life support.
A week later, the Pope visited St. Louis. Dale Forbis approved me to cover his visit. It allowed me to see dad daily when the day’s work was done. I came back the following weekend again. There was no change and told mom we would have to make a decision soon.
On Tuesday, we told the doctors to remove the life support. Dad was tough. He was alive for two more days. Finally on a Thursday afternoon, again on a day when I was covering the Kansas City Council, I got the call from Dale to calll mom as soon as possible. Mom told Dale but Daile didn’t tell me, he wanted me to hear the news from mom and I’ll always appreciate that he did.
Mom let me know he had passed away. I knew it was coming but it was still hard to deal with. I didn’t cry. I just left the press office, telling then Kansas City Star city hall beat reporters Chris Lester and Mark Morris what happened.
I got back to the station and Dale met me. I wasn’t an emotional mess but wasn’t right either. Dale had just gone through the loss of his parents so his counsel was really helpful.
Msgr. Schneider from symbolic was with mom when dad passed away. It was symbolic. Msgr. was the Chaplain for Knights of Columbus Council #6500. Dad was a devoted Knight. He was a Past Grand Knight. Dad was a 4th Degree Knight and was part of the Missouri Knights of Columbus 3rd Degree initiation team. He travelled all over the state.
Dad also was a founding member of Council 6500. in 1973 and h\e was proud of that, having joined the Knights as a 1st Degree in 1961 when we lived in Detroit. The memorial in front of St. Monica’s today for unborn children was dad’s passion and work. One goal he didn’t make – he wanted a Knights of Columbus hall, away from the church. He never was able to accomplish it. Today they still meet at St. Monica.
My tribute today is the history of Knights of Council 6500 and its formation. I had to chuckle at his title – Inside Guard. I knew he wouldn’t be an outside forward with that body of his. Steven T Oslica is perhaps the only one that will get this reference.
God bless you dad. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye but I learned so much from you. You know me as a Type A personality. Dad was Type B publicly. But in private, he was Type A and I learned that from him. The only difference between dad and me is my Type A is public.
And that’s why i write at length about him this morning – because God gave me the gift to write and talk. I know dad as proud of me for the careers I chose in communication and journalism.
Not sure what I’ll do today on this 20th anniversary. But whatever I do, I will have the thought in my head, “What would dad do?” Today is the first weekday work day in my retirement from working for others. I know what dad would say if he were here today:
“God, those people are @($^) idiots!”
We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.