First Thoughts On the Day of My Father’s Death

The day began at 5:15 with a dreaded call. “Your dad died in his sleep last night.”
 
And so I have lost my best supporter and friend, and by far the most interesting man I’ve ever met. Given my years in broadcasting, I’ve met a lot of interesting people.
 
Dad was ready to go. He was in his 90th year, which meant he was 89 and would be 90 on April 5th, 2013. He always phrased it that way, as if the 9 months in the womb counted towards his years on earth.
 
I was not surprised by this call. Since a hospitalization this summer he’s been fading physically and in every call he told me he was ready to let go and be with God. And so his prayer has been answered, and it seems he went peacefully, which is the way we all would want it.
 
AS I got in the shower at 5:20 I thought of the great repository of his mind, now inaccessible to me and others who relied on what he had stored there. He was broadly and eclectically learned. I can’t think of a subject he’d not read or thought about, and his energy was devoted to taking every thought captive and making it subject to his view that God is the author of all knowledge and deserves, maybe demands, his due.
 
So he was theologically alive and his mind always at work with the integrative work of finding God in every aspect of his life and thought.
 
Mine is a rich heritage with the combined energy, passion and entrepreneurial drives of my grandfather, the warmth, effusive, inclusive  love of my mother, and the brooding intellectual pursuit of my father, combined with his wit and an ever growing love for all people. He says he was an introvert who was dragged into human contact by my irrepressibly social mom, but I can’t remember a time when he was not actively engaged in loving and serving people.
 
His breadth of learning, insatiable curiosity and generous heart meant his friendships included the highly educated scholar to the rough-hewn logger in Southern Oregon. 
 
I don’t remember a time when he could not identify and name every bird he saw, most just by their call. His massive stamp collection was my first introduction to the many countries of the world. His library was a sprawling collection of oft read books and his classical music library second to none (He also loved Jazz…)
 
Just writing all this makes me cognizant of his life writ large in mine.
 
Men of all walks of life respected my dad, and as a younger man I could not quite understand why.  He was passionate about things most men could care less about and he was not passionate about the things most men hold dear, and yet his interests extended to everything and his love to everyone. Men saw in my Father a quiet strength and unquestioned character. He had learned how to do the things most men fail at. His love and devotion for my mom and the deeply contented marriage, his wrestling through his failures as a man and father to ultimate victory, his perseverance in faith over his doubts and questions; all these pay tribute to his greatness as a man.
 
When my mom died he waivered and wobbled a bit in his relationship with God. His love for her was so complete and her loss so grievous, for a while he could not find his way through to trust and hope. I remember sitting on his bed in his small room at Crista Sr. Center and saying, “dad you’ve got four kids and a bunch of grandchildren who are counting you to show us how to finish the race stong.”
 
And so he did.
 
Mention four kids and I immediately think of how being separated from our brother Timmy haunted him. Tim was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy and to this day cannot walk, talk or feed himself. He is in a wonderful nursing home in Spokane, receives great care, and visits from people who love him and loved my parents, but dad has never been able to get his head around not being there in person for Timmy. Mercifully he’s now released that unresolvable burden.
 
I remember my friend poet Scott Cairns saying something like, writers don’t write to tell other people what to think, writers write to figure out what they think.
 
These are my initial thoughts after learning of my fathers death.
 
I think he was the greatest of men and the pain of his loss is overwhelming me as much as the knowledge of his being with God is comforting me.
 
Written 7AM 09/06/12
 

Posted in Staublog in September 6, 2012 by | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to First Thoughts On the Day of My Father’s Death

  1. Kathleen on September 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Blessings upon you and yours. What a tender tribute of love and honor from a son who was fathered and parented well. This is becoming a rarity in our culture. His legacy lives on in you. Tears splashing on this screen, water marking this beautiful post today.

  2. Shannon Shipley on September 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Dick,
    So glad you had a father that raised you in such a memorable and God-filled way. What a blessing he is in your life! We will be keeping you in our hearts and prayers during this time of overwhelming loss mixed with the knowledge that your father is with the Lord. Know that you are loved.
    God bless,
    Mike and Shannon

  3. Robyn (Willwerth) Harper on September 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    So truly sorry for your loss. Many times we think our legacy must be massive to be remembered, but the meek will inherit the earth. His “brooding” was probably times of deep prayer and silence to his Father, listening for the voice he recognized. He is now having a great time, meeting and greeting but still “brooding” because I do not believe our personalities change once in heaven, they are magnified hand in hand with God. Praying for you during this time. Get back to me when you can about that research thing.

  4. Greg Collord on September 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Tough to read this, Dick…your dad was a wonderful mentor to me when I first went to Richland WA…guiding me through the ordination process until he and your mom moved to Richmond CA.

    During my 22 years in Ecuador he responded a number of times to my news/prayerletters, always with his characteristic wit and friendliness. What a gift from God. Could it be that your Dad and mine are happily catching up even as I write this? I wonder how that works…

    May you grieve fully and well…you are blessed to be a Staub.

  5. Robin Mounce on September 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Loved your parents. I know you miss your dad. He is a good man who loved God deeply.

  6. Connie Eckstrom on September 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    What a wonderful heritage you have, Dick! Your parents were amazing.Will never forget how your Mom spied us acroos the concourse at an airport in FL and yelled across the crowd to us, ran thru the mob, and enfolded us in hugs! Can picture her joyfully hugging your Dad when he arrived in heaven. I send hugs and prayers your way!

  7. Vonnie Collord Dodson on September 7, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Tears cascade down my cheeks as well, Dick, as I read your thoughtful and articulate expression of love and grief mixed with the comfort of knowing where your father is today. Thank you for expressing things so well. Prayers ascend on behalf of your family today. Like my brother said, you are blessed to be a Staub.

  8. Ron Siewert on September 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Dick, I was saddened to hear about your dad’s passing. I literally have known your dad since I was born as he was my first pastor, dedicated me in the Fullerton Church, and participated in my wedding.

    My parents were blessed to work with both Dick and Esther through the years and your dad has been a close friend, advisor and mentor to my dad over many years. My mother said it best yesterday when she phoned with the news, “Dick is together with Jesus in Heaven and back with Esther”.

    It has been such an honor over the years to know your dad and I have deeply respected both your parents. I look forward to reuniting with them some day!

    My prayers to you and the family,
    Ron Siewert

  9. Bill Hogg on September 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Dick
    what a beautiful moving tribute to your dad. Your dad was a gem. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt post. May God bring you great comfort in your loss,my friend.
    Much Love
    Bill

  10. Marty O'Donnell on September 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Dick,

    I too know what it’s like to be blessed by amazing christian parents. Having the privilege to see them both run the race to the finish is bitter sweet. I know your mom&dad because I know you.

    Your friend,

    Marty

  11. Dick Staub on September 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks Marty. I thought of you and your parents as I thought about losing my dad. You’ll never regret the time you’re spending with them.

  12. Armand and Jean on September 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Dick
    It is Sunday afternoon here in Chicago, and Jean and I just saw your words about your fathers passing. The legacy he leaves behind is tremendous, and we too are enfolded into that through the many blessings of knowing you and your family. Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers for consolation go out to you and your family at this time.
    Christ’s peace,
    Armand and Jean.

  13. Bill & Joyce Siewert on September 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Dick
    Your Dad and Mom are (present tense) some of our dearest friends. We spent many blessed and often hilarious times together whether it was ministering together at Community Bible Church in Fullerton, CA, traveling to an event or conference, or just eating meals together. Those are still
    very special and wonderful memories for us both.
    Your Dad was one of my dearest friends and my best mentor. I already miss our almost weekly phone conversations. As we grow older the prospect of Heaven and home become more real.
    Love, Bill & Joyce

  14. Melissa H. on September 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I am sorry for your loss, he sounds like a wonderful man. How wonderful it will be to see him again in heaven for you someday.

  15. Max and Betty Christian on December 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    We have just finished reading your thoughts about your dad. Dick was one of my best friends during our time as students at Simpson. May God continue to comfort your heart with His Peace that passes understanding–Max Christian

  16. Dianne (Watkins) Rud on December 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Dear Dick and all the Staub Children, I just recently read about your Dad’s homegoing. What a blessing he and your Mother were to the Watkins family in the Fullerton Church. I am grateful to your Dad for “typing the knot” for my sweet husband and I in 1963. What a blessing you all were to us in very special fellowship at Fullerton CMA. God Bless and Merry Christmas 2012. Dianne Rud

  17. Liz La Rovere on January 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Greetings to Dick Staub, Jr.
    I am the daughter of Edward and Josephine Wickwire, your dad’s friends from Simpson Bible College. My dad passed away a year ago, at age 90, and I recently published a booklet of his poetry. He mentioned your father in the introduction to one of his poems. “When I was a young man at Bible School a fellow named Dick Staub read the poetry of an Old English saint William Cowper (writer of hymn ‘There is a Fountain Filled with Blood’ and others)…” When I saw your dad’s name in memoriam in the Simpson alumni magazine I knew that another wonderful saint arrived in heaven. Your dad was a great influence on my dad and they are both probably still reciting poetry to the delight of the angels. My mom is still with us at age 89. “Poems of the Masters, My Friends and Mine” is the collection of poetry my dad left us and I would be happy to send you a copy. The loss of our parents generation is great – their knowledge and writings must be preserved. Liz La Rovere, Santa Ynez CA

  18. Dick Staub on January 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for your most thoughtful comment,
    I’d love to see your father’s poetry.
    Send a copy to

    Dick Staub
    PO Box 729
    Eastsound, WA 98245

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