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March 2, 2008

A Tribute to My Dad

Floyd Grotevant 2006.jpg

Paul Mark Dad 0388.jpg

My father, Floyd, died yesterday, March 1, 2008 in Bedford, NH at the age of 87.

He was born on September 20, 1920 in Albany, NY. He graduated from Utica (NY) Free Academy and met his future wife (and my mother) Betty there. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in August 1942, rising to the rank of Signalman First Class. Following the war, he and my mom settled in Utica to start their family. He began working for Campbells Sales Company in 1945, where he was employed for 40 years until his retirement. Most of his working years were spent in Dallas, TX, which he loved because of the warm weather and golf opportunities it afforded. After launching my sister and me and retiring, he and my mom moved to Presbyterian Village North community in Dallas. He was a proud veteran and provided leadership for Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day observances at PVN. In 2006, he moved to New Hampshire to be closer to family.

He was an avid movie photographer of almost 60 years. He and mom traveled widely across North America and also enjoyed one trip to Switzerland and several cruises in the Caribbean and the Alaskan waterway. His enjoyment of people came through in his work as a salesman and in the many ways in which he was engaged with life. He loved tinkering in the garage with his “inventions� and editing his movies, always with his favorite Big Band music in the background. We played Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, the Andrews Sisters, and others from the WWII era steadily for his last 3 days.

But his true passion was golf. He played every chance he could. He proudly walked the course and carried his own bag, often running circles around the younger salesmen he supervised. Like many of Brokaw’s Greatest Generation, he loved his country, his wife, his family, and his life. His grandchildren all called him “Pop,� and will miss his willingness to get down on the floor or in the pool and play with them. (He didn't want to be called "Grampa" or anything like that, because he wasn't "that old.") The picture above is of my two kids with their Pop, c 1988.

He died peacefully, held by my sister and me, following a bout of pneumonia. When he took his last breath, Robert Goulet was singing "Sunrise, Sunset." Services will be held in Nashua NH. At a later time, my sister and I will return with him to Dallas, where he requested to be placed next to our mom for the rest of time.

A friend sent me this beautiful poem written by John O’Donohue on the death his father. It is on the NPR / Speaking of Faith website (see below for URL to hear him read the poem).

Beannacht ("Blessing") by John O’Donohue
On the day when the weight deadens on your shoulders and you stumble, may the clay dance to balance you. And when your eyes freeze behind the grey window and the ghost of loss gets in to you, may a flock of colours, indigo, red, green, and azure blue come to awaken in you a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays in the currach of thought and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you, may there come across the waters a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.

You can listen to it by clicking here

I'm sure I'll be writing more about my dad in the future. In the meantime, it's sinking in ... very slowly.

Posted by hgroteva at March 2, 2008 3:34 PM | In Memory / In Honor