Farewell, Dad.

Santa Jerry with my daughter, Ariel

My father-in-law passed away this month, after a 4-year battle with melanoma.  One of the most difficult parts of this, to me, is how impossible it is to explain what an amazing man Jerry was to anyone who didn’t know him.  He was a poet, a woodworker, a backpacker, a music-lover, and Santa Claus.  He spent 28 years as a teacher, and he carried that wisdom and compassion into every aspect of his life.  He was one of the most loving and generous people I have ever met–and he lived that love every day of his life, whether he was driving a stranded stranger 150 miles to her home, picking up trash every morning on his long, rambling walks around Flagstaff, or remodling my bathroom.  Jerry was a father to me, too.  I have known him since I was 17 years old, still in High School.  He has always called me his son.  He has been a loving parent and a positive male role model and a shoulder to lean on, especially when my own father has not provided those things.  I will never stop missing him.

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One Response to “Farewell, Dad.”

  1. Jeff Niederdeppe Says:

    Austin,

    I am really sorry to hear this news (while it was posted on June 20th, I just received it today). Although I never met him, from your note he seemed like an amazing person. We’ll be thinking about you, Clare and Ariel.

    Jeff and Lee

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