Post 1063: Fathers Day 2016

My Dad would have been 100 years old on May 31. He was born in Newcastle, Wyoming. He died on November 4, 2008, Election Day. He was alert up till the end, kept up to date on the news by radio and television since he was blind because of Macular degeneration. He voted in that last election by absentee ballot. He never missed an election, literally, even the one on his last day on earth! That’s the kind of citizen he was. I follow his example, even in those years it seems one has to pinch one’s nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. There have been a few years like that…!

Dad's in the middle. Perhaps you can see him a bit better here.

Dad’s in the middle, the little guy in bib overalls. [From photo of Doc Hand’s boxing class for boys, circa 1924.]

May 23, 1934. Thomas family reunion photo on the occasion of Doug Thomas' graduation from high school. No other photo of the whole family together exists.

May 23, 1934. Thomas family reunion photo on the occasion of Doug Thomas’ graduation from high school. No other photo of the whole family together exists. Grandpa and Grandma came to Nebraska from Salem, Missouri, and had soft southern accents..

I think this must have been taken during WWII. That's Dad standing behind Grampa Thomas. Apparently this was a birthday for Grampa.

I think this must have been taken during WWII. That’s Dad standing behind Grandpa Thomas. Apparently this was a birthday for Grandpa. I got Grandpa’s name, George, for my middle name. 

Dad’s in his uniform. He was Chief of Police in this town from a very young age. His shift was 7 AM to 4 PM, but he endured perpetual personnel shortages because of city management. For lack of secretarial help, for example, Dad did the paperwork. All my growing up years, I thought his shift was 6 AM to 6 PM because those were the hours he worked.

Dad in yellow circle; J. Edgar and Clyde in large red circle; and the fellow who didn't get the memo, next to the red arrow...

Dad by yellow arrow; J. Edgar and Clyde in large red circle; and the fellow who didn’t get the memo, next to the red arrow…

Dad was proud to be the first policeman from this town to be sent to the FBI Academy, and he went on to help promote professionalism in Nebraska law enforcement as one of the “founding fathers” of POAN (Police Officers Association of Nebraska). The police academy in Grand Island, Nebraska, is one of the things that came about because of POAN lobbying of the Unicameral. To serve in law enforcement in Nebraska, all candidates are required to train there.

Here he is....!

Here he is….! Dad at the FBI Academy in 1947.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

We lived in the top floor of my Grandma McKenzie's home till Mom and Dad built the house on Mississippi.

We lived in the top floor of my Grandma McKenzie’s home till Mom and Dad built the house on Mississippi, using lumber from an air base warehouse they bought with another couple and tore down.

I helped!

I helped!

Mom and Dad dated five years before they married on June 12, 1937, and were married 71 years before Dad died. They credited being able to laugh about things as a big part of their success at marriage. Mom also took long walks when things got too much for her. LOL!  Building the house was a stressful part of their marriage because it was done after Dad got off work. By then, they had the four young kids, too.

Mom's chronic back issues probably started here.

Mom’s chronic back issues probably started here. She and Dad worked on the house on Mississippi after Dad’s 12 hours at the police station each day. They did everything but electrical and plumbing work on the house. 

My oldest sibling.

My oldest sibling.

My brother and sister, Nrs. 2 ND 3 IN BIRTH ORDER, and me, the baby of the family when, well, I was a baby1 That's my Grandma McKenzie's dog Laddie, a very nice and loyal dog.

My brother and sister, Nrs. 2 and 3 in birth order, and me, the baby of the family when, well, I was a baby! That’s my Grandma McKenzie’s dog Laddie, a very nice and loyal dog.

They lived in the house they built on Mississippi Avenue over 50 years.

They lived in the house they built on Mississippi Avenue over 50 years. The pug is Ladybelle, the neighbor’s dog. Laddie, Grandma McKenzie’s dog, spent lots of time at our house.

mom at swimming pool

Time caught up with us all. In June of 2004, the City of Alliance honored Mom by naming the new bathhouse at the municipal pool after her. She taught Red Cross swimming lessons for 60 years. Mom, Dad, and I were there. It was the last time Dad was physically able to attend such an event. He may have attended church a few more times, though he frequently had difficulties getting dressed in time.

By the end of August, he had a urinary tract infection that caused him to be hospitalized, and he was unable to return home after that. He spent from the end of August 2004 till he died in the Good Samaritan Care Center on November 8, 2008. Mom joined him there in November 2007 when I was hospitalized with shingles and was unable to care for her. She’d lived with me from November 2004, but shared a room at the care center with him for the last few months of his life. That pleased him!

So, Dad, thank you for the time we shared together. I got to know you best after I grew up and returned from the US Army. I loved you, of course, but in those last years I learned that I also liked you. A lot. I miss talking with you because you helped steer me down the right path more than once. That was your greatest talent, helping young men find that right path!

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28 thoughts on “Post 1063: Fathers Day 2016

    • Thanks, John. Dad was a very serious fellow who worked hard at everything he did. I was happy to get to know him as a person in his last years, though, because I got to see his warm and funny side more and more.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful family history. Your father was quite impressive and I wish we had more of his kind of law enforcement officer around today. Happy Father’s Day to Andy and Dougy’s Dad.

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    • Thanks, angela113! Dad was remarkably even-tempered. If you got him mad, you knew you’d broken a really big rule! LOL! His approach was to calmly talk with you about your tyransgression. By the time he was done talking with you, you wished he’d just beat you and got it over with because those talks were seriously, um, serious! After his funeral, several men told the preacher they’d had a talk by Dad at some stag in their lives (teenage years, early adult), and that that’s what straightened them out. When the preacher told me that, I laughed and told him I totally understood what those men had gone through!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked reading this memorial of your father and also mother since they have been married for life . This is very moving and this honores you ,Doug .
    It is wreird but the name Thomas sounds French to me .
    Excuse my lack of comments and posts but I am a bit down at this time .
    I often think of you and uour courage
    In friendship
    Michel

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    • I hope there isn’t a problem of health or some other issue you are dealing with….!

      Thjank you for your comments on my Fathers Day blog, Michel. I’d like to wish you a happy Fathers Day, too, though I don’t think you have that holiday today in France.

      Thomas is a common name in many places. In my case, it happens to be Welsh or English in origin, it isn’t entirely clear. Both places figure in my genealogy. I don’t think I have any French in my genealogy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Thomases in France! The name or variations occurs in many languages.

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  3. This is a beautiful post for your Father, it sounds like he was an amazing man. It is nice when we can become friends with our parents and realize they are people too and not just our parents, it sounds like you did that. Happy Father’s Day to you , a great Cat Daddy!

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  4. What a lovely tribute to a special father. You have brought him to life for your readers, and I also liked that you not only loved him but also liked him. That’s an important distinction, and not everyone can say that about the people they love.

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  5. I truly enjoyed your walk down memory lane. You have so many lovely thoughts and adventures to remember. I must admit that your oldest sibling is the image of me at the same age. I thought I was looking at my own picture.

    Jean

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  6. Hi Doug, these are great memories and thanks for sharing the photos of your family and what life was like back then.

    Just catching up with you now. Took a trip up to Spokane to go to a memorial service for a friend.

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