Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day - In memory of and in honor of some good dads, granddads, and step-granddads

In honor of Father's Day, a tribute to some good dads seems in order. I have been lucky and proud to have known quite a few.

The photo above is of my father, John Matthews Coombs. He grew up on the coast of Maine and always  loved boats and being out on the water. My father wasn't a warm and fuzzy guy, but he was funny and smart and interested in many things. He read widely, enjoyed chess, played clarinet badly, and died too young at age 62. I am sorry that he never met my three children. My oldest son is named for him.
On Father's Day, here's to you, Dad: father of three, grandfather of six, and so far, great-grandfather of seven, with one additional step-great-granddaughter. I wish you could have known them all.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.
The man in the center of this photo, above, is my grandfather, Percy W. Coombs.  My father is probably taking the picture. The child my grandfather is holding is my sister, Mary, who would have been Percy's first grandchild. (Also in this photo, L-R, are my Aunt Shirley, Uncle Ed, Uncle Joe, my grandmother, Mary Prendiville Coombs, and my mother Henrietta Coombs. I don't know the dog's name.)
Percy Coombs loved his garden and his hometown, Boothbay Harbor. He  suffered along with the Boston Red Sox and played killer bridge.  He was a man of few words and many talents. I miss him and miss spending summer vacations at his home on One Road's End.
Percy Coombs was the father of four, grandfather of thirteen, and I'm not sure I can accurately go beyond that. 
Happy Father's Day, Grandpa!
Here above is a photo of my husband, Bob Conner, taken around 1988.  Our daughter Molly liked to "honk" his nose. Apparently young Thomas found this quite amusing, too.
Happy Father's Day, Bob! You're still a pretty funny guy.
Bob is the father of two, step-father of one, and, to date, has three beautiful step-granddaughters.
And here above is my husband's father, Grandad Bob (Robert Conner, Sr.) This photo was also taken around 1988.  He is cuddling with our daughter, Molly.
Grandad Bob was the father of two, grandfather of six, with one step-grandson.
Happy Father's Day to you, Grandad Bob.
Here is a photo of my first husband, Dan Machell, with our son, John. Dan and John had built a winning Cub Scout pinewood derby car together and had the hardware to prove it.
Dan is the father of two and has three beautiful granddaughters. Happy Father's Day, Dan.

Below is Dan's father, David Machell, also pictured with John, but a good twelve or so years after that Cub Scout photo. Dave has been an important and loving presence in John's life, as was his late wife, Marge. John's first child is named for her: Marjorie.
Dave is the father of five, grandfather of eleven, and has three great-granddaughters.
Happy Father's Day, Dave!
Below, here is son John yet again, this time as a dad himself. He is holding his youngest daughter, Franny, who was born earlier this year. John is the father of two beautiful little girls.
Happy Father's Day, John! I am so proud of you. Being a good dad and husband is the most important thing you will ever do. I love you, Mom.
Our son-in-law, Jason, is pictured below, carrying a very cute sack of potatoes named 'Lexi.
Jason is the father of one beautiful girl... so far.
Happy Father's Day, Jason!
In modern life, with divorces and remarrying, family trees can become pretty confusing. The two people in this last photo, below, are not really related in any way. The occasion is a Gaffney family Fourth of July pool party. These two people are a step-son (my son John) with his step-grandfather, Stanley. But I include it because, well, the idea of family should be inclusive. Stanley M. Ayres was part of our children's lives but sadly, he was estranged from his own two children for most of his life. He never knew his own grandchildren.
Thanks, Stanley, for the hugs and cuddles you gave to our children. May you rest in peace.
And Happy Father's Day to you, too.