Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Daddy

My father died Sunday night at 11:36 p.m.

He had been ill for several difficult weeks. He was 87-years-old.

Morris Franklin James was a decent man in every respect. And, as a result, he never lost my respect as his son.

Dad and mother celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary back in November. When I told my mom that we had lost dad, her first, tear-filled words were very simple: "Ohhhh! I've lost my best friend."

Over the past several months my folks have been turning their business affairs over to me. I've been learning a lot about their life together that I didn't know before.

Even today, as we made preparations for dad's funeral, I found two very interesting documents.

One was a letter to his uncle about a business deal gone bad in more ways than one. From the letter it was obvious that my father felt that his uncle was not making honest decisions. In fact, my dad feared that my uncle was involved in illegal activity with some of their struggling company's limited assets and inventory. He called the older man to task over it and resigned his position.

The other document contained his notes from a speech that he delivered to the Richardson Rotary Club on January 7, 1957. At that time dad served as City Secretary for the booming City of Richardson. The purpose of his speech was to report on the rapid, but well-planned growth of the city. In reading over the speech I could hear laughter ripple across the crowd as he joked about the early real estate developers and their important role in the growth of his city. I may decide to post this document at a later time. I was amazed at the way he regarded and emphasized the importance of a commitment to the good of the entire community, a theme I return to often on these pages.

The two documents have at least one thing in common: I never knew about them or about the events they describe.

My dad majored on quiet humility, especially when it came to his own accomplishments and struggles.

I cried Sunday night. I know I will cry again and often. No man could be more fortunate than I have been throughout my life, thanks in large measure to the role of my dad in my life. I know that even though his work is finished, he will never really leave my side. His influence, his manner, his values, his love--these parts of my dad's life will never be gone from my own journey.

On Sunday afternoon, during our last visit before he slipped off into a deep sleep, I asked him how he was doing.

His response was typical. "I'm doing wonderful."

You're right, dad. You did wonderful for a very long time.

[Funeral services for Morris James are set for 10:00 a.m., Thursday, December 20, 2007 in the Memorial Chapel at Restland Funeral Home. A gathering of family and friends will take place the night before from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.]

26 comments:

Jeremy Gregg said...

We are keeping you and your family in our prayers, Larry. Thank you for sharing this touching story -- your father was very blessed to have you as a son. We know that his life and love will continue to shine through you, and through everyone that met him.

We are here for you.

Jeremy and Natalie

owldog1 said...

We are also keeping your family in our prayers and as Jeremy said your father felt very blessed to have you as his son. He even said that a time or two :)

Thanks for the great examples you always teach through stories of your dad's life.

JD said...

God bless you Larry ... and your family. If you are anything like your Dad, I would have liked to have met him.

Odgie said...

Your Dad sounds like a remarkable man, and your pride is justified. Blessings, peace, and comfort to you, your mother, and everyone else he left behind.

Lynn Leaming said...

Larry,
You and your mom and family are in Steve and my prayers. We rejoice knowing that Morris is where we all want to be home with His father. But our hearts are saddened for your mom. Loss of your best friend is never easy but especially at this time of year. We pray that the God of all comfort manifests Himself to her and you all in a way beyond all that you could ask or imagine. On my blog I mention a little standing
greeting that he and Steve had with one another. I will have to ask Steve how it all got started.
I am so very thankful for the faithful footsteps your father left behind for all of us to follow.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these powerful words, Larry. I understand a bit more now about how you got wired as you are! Mike Cope

Janet said...

I will always have fond memories of your parents coming to the food pantry and setting up the Christmas tree every year. Such great people! ...and you're so right...humble and quiet about their good deeds. I will be there on Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Prayers for you and your family, Larry, in these times of loss. What a legacy you both received and are passing on to those you love.

Waymon

jocelyn said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your father sounds like he was wonderful man.

JENNY said...

I am so sad that Morris died. My mom called me yesterday to tell me. I loved your father. I will be praying for your family and especially for Mildred. I will miss seeing him when I visit my parents at church. I have never met a sweeter person.

Parke said...

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Larry. It sounds like he was quite a man.

Tim Hadley said...

Deepest condolences, Larry.

Tim Hadley
Springfield, MO

Amy Boone said...

God bless Larry. May He bring comfort through your grief. Amy Boone

japierpont said...

What a wonderful tribute to your father - Thanks for sharing him with us and may our good God bless you and sustain you this week.

Jeff Pierpont

belinda bishop said...

I know you and the outstanding work you do must have made him so very proud. Even when everyone is "ready," it's still very hard on the ones left behind.

Scott Collier said...

Larry, in 1992 I sat in your office and cried over the loss of my dad. I still miss him. Your dad was a giant of a man in my eyes. He was a role model for many of us at RE. He served, loved, led, and urged in the most quiet of ways, but we all benefited from his presence and example. We'll miss him. You were a great comfort to me in one of life's low moments. I hope my prayers and support for you will in some small way help you through this valley.

Stephen Bailey said...

A decent man with a commitment to the good of the entire community. Sounds like father like son. So sorry for your loss.

Karen Shafer said...

So sorry for your and your family's loss, Larry, but so glad you were with your dad a great deal during his illness and his life.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you Larry. The world can truly see what a wonderful man your father was because of the man that you are today.

God bless your family and may you find comfort during this time.

E.M. in Cedar Hill, TX.

Donna said...

I am sorry for your loss...but grateful for his gain and your faith that you will see him again!

Carolyn McBryde said...

What a dear, sweet man. Such an encourager. So positive. He adored his family. I stopped by for a visit one day, and when I asked what he and Mildred had been doing he said, "We were just sitting here talking about Brenda...we think she's perfect!"

Amy said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Larry. Your father sounds like a wonderful man! He must have been so proud of you, too.

James said...

A 'respectful' life spanning 87 years. Wow!

Because depth of loss is related to depth of respect, may this passage be appropriately tempered with sadness and joy.

Jim Walton said...

Larry,
When I saw your dad a few weeks ago, I looked into the eyes of a man who had lived a life that I could only hope for. While recognizing that his earthly days were possibly limited, I realized that his legacy would continue through the life of you, his son, and your daughters. I am struck with the thought that your daddy's gift to us is what every parent desires to give the world....a wonderful son or daughter who will do good things for others....

The work of your life is a fitting tribute to the good life your daddy lived....I am honored to have known you both....

God speed Morris James!

Your friend and brother,
Jim

Anonymous said...

"Daddy" is such a wonderful word. When my daddy died I was small.
To this day, some 50+ years later, I still remember Sunday mornings being propped up on his knees while he read me the Sunday funnies. When I think of him I smile as you do even through the tears. After all, daddies live in God's light always.
Larry, you are an inspiration to us all. He did good.

Larry James said...

It is impossible to express the depth of our gratitude for all of the supportive we are receiving as we face the loss of my dad. Thanks for each comment here. We are indeed blessed to be touched by your kindness and your concern.