My father-in-law was a remarkable man. He was a father to eight children; the youngest one became my wife twenty-one years ago. When I first met him I had long hair and a wild beard. If her Mom and Dad had any misgivings about this Mexican-American high school dropout's interest in their daughter, they never expressed them to me personally.
In many ways they were more parents to me than my own parents were, no disrespect intended. That's just the way it was. My in-laws were always accepting, supportive, and unconditional in their love.
My father-in-law worked until he was almost 80-years-old. For the last five years of his working life, he commuted weekly from the Chicago area to New York City. He had been offered a job managing department store sales for a company that made men's casual wear. When he told them he did not want to move to New York, they told him they would fly him out, put him up in a hotel weekly, and fly him home for weekends. He did this for five years until he was almost 80.
He was the most Godly man I have ever known. He had an unshakable faith in our Lord and Savior that was evidenced by the way he lived and treated others. He showed everyone kindness and respect, from the waiter in a restaurant to the CEOs of the companies he dealt with. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone.
My wife tells me that growing up they did not have a television in their home. She was eight or nine-years-old when they got their first television. Her dad had a personal conviction about not watching television on Sunday. He did not make a big deal about it. If he walked into the room on Sunday and the television was on, he would absent himself from the room. He loved football and loved to watch it on television, but in all the years I knew him, I never saw him watch a game on Sunday.
I remember Thanksgiving the year before he died. He had been quite ill, had been in the hospital, then a convalescent home, and then came home. We all believed this would be the last Thanksgiving with him. All eight children were there with spouses and children (17 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren at that time). He was too ill to sit and eat with the family but came downstairs to bless the food. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house (mine included). He did get better and he lived for about another year before passing in his sleep one night in 1994 to finally be with the Lord and Savior that he loved so much.