In Memoriam

I know I originally promised not to post the “minutia of my daily life” on this blog. But please forgive this exception.

Today is my father’s funeral.

He passed away Sunday night at home, surrounded by family, in as much peace as I suppose is possible under the circumstances.

I know some of you reading this met him – he would often come to the VBits conferences where Desaware exhibited and where I was a speaker. Conferences then were somewhat of a family affair for us. Aside from the obvious pride he had in watching me do my thing, he enjoyed the travel and the technology, and I was glad to be able to give him the opportunity. He had spent his working life traveling around the world for Fluor (a major construction company), and the conferences gave him a taste of that again. He loved his work – I remember the pride (and amazement) he expressed after negotiating his first billion dollar contract.

My dad definitely qualified as a “geek” by today’s standards. He spent hours on the computer, participating in online discussions, paying bills, playing solitaire, and various sundry other activities. No technophobe, whenever he ran into problems he would attempt to tackle them himself, and if necessary spend hours on the phones with tech support people until things worked. Only rarely would I have to come in and help out.

I don’t doubt that I inherited my love of technology from him. Curiously enough, as I struggle to focus on how he was, rather than how he died, I realized that it’s not his love that I remember most, but rather, his respect. I suppose every good father encourages his children to learn and try new things. But for me the real turning point was when I was 12 or 13 and my interest in electronics had gone just a step beyond building simple kits and playing with 50-in-one project sets from radio shack. I don’t know whether that’s the time when I knew more about electronics than he did, but even if I didn’t – he let me believe that. Suddenly I was the one in charge of repairing frayed extension cords, replacing bulbs, rewiring outlets, and any other household tasks that had anything to do with electronics or electricity.

That respect, or trust in my ability, was the core, but there were lots of little things as well. Buying me my first transceiver kit from Heathkit. Encouragement without pressure when I dragged home an old WWII radio and then took almost a year to repair it. Patience the numerous times I blew out fuses at home (or in hotel rooms). And a stalwart defense when the neighbors were ready to lynch me because my transmissions were coming out of their TV, intercom systems, toasters and so on.

He had a full life, and there were many aspects to it. He’s not a person one can reflect on in a single eulogy. But of all the things I want to say about him, these are the things that feel right to express here.

8 Responses to “In Memoriam”

  1. Pat Tormey Says:

    re: Your father. I lost my Dad a few years back and you won’t be surprised to know he’s still with me. No I’m not a religious type, which is OK; Dad wasn’t fond of Harp music. It’s just that I always know what would make him laugh, what candidate’s would cause him to grumble at the TV, and when he’d be proud of me.

    Hope I’ll have the same effect on my son.

    Pat

  2. Mike Sax Says:

    Hi Dan, I’m sorry to hear about your father. Thanks for writing this post, it’s good to remember that we are humans first, and geeks second. I remember those 50 in one Radio Shack kits! I hope all the great memories may help to fill the void his passing left behind.

  3. Melissa Thomson-Capsuto Says:

    Your comments are so thoughtful. I only hope that I can be the kind of parent that your father was to you. It is very hard to trust in our children’s ability, especially when they enter the teen years, and your words speak beautifully to what it means to be a parent.
    My condolences on the loss of your father. He was a delightful man.

  4. Paul Speranza Says:

    Daniel,

    Sorry for your loss. What a great way to remember him.

  5. Robert Scoble Says:

    Dan, sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with your family.

  6. Adolfo Says:

    My condolences on the loss of your father.

  7. Farhan Hussain Says:

    Dan,
    I am sorry to hear about your father. Please accept my condolences.

  8. Kevin Provance Says:

    I’m really sorry to read about the passing your your dad. My thoughts are with you and yours during this tough time.

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