My father died in 1996. Hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and the example he was to me. He was an example of diligence and dedication. Everything he did he did well. He was a perfectionist.
He wasn’t familiar with being idle. He worked hard. He learned the value of hard work from growing up in poverty. He had to work just to survive. Out of these experiences he developed a deep conviction that it was his responsibility, not someone else’s, to provide for himself and his family. He was always working on a to-do list he kept on a 3 x 5 index card in his pocket. If he wasn’t building something he was working in the garden, serving in the Church, or heading to the mountains.
He was a man of uncompromising integrity. He always told the truth. I remember an experience from when we lived California. Our family went to a store to purchase something. The clerk at the store gave back a few cents too much change and without pause my father returned the excess change. From that moment on, my father never needed to tell me another word about honesty or integrity.
He was at home in the mountains of Utah. He loved to fish. He gave me a Utah fishing license when I was born and taught me to fish. Through the years we had many great and memorable fishing adventures.
Professionally he was a recognized manufacturing engineer and was very passionate about his field. He was also exceptionally inventive and could figure out almost anything. I was the eldest son and so naturally he wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become an engineer. The problem was I had no interest or ability in engineering. When I was in college this caused some contention between us. One night while praying about what to do about this, these words came into my mind, “Just love him.” And so I did.
My father loved his family. He gave of himself unselfishly. He would do anything for us even if it caused him great discomfort or difficulty. He was always there for us.
Dad had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement. He wasn’t flashy about his faith but I knew what he believed. His mother first planted the seeds of faith and then his faith grew from a life time of study, years of service, much adversity, and constant devotion. He knew that God lived, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the Church is true. I don’t believe he ever doubted it. He knew that through the Atonement of Christ we can have the hope of Eternal Life.
He was a disciple of Christ. I hope I can live my life as he did.