Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

An Extraordinary Man


joanne-and-dadIt’s been an extraordinary week.

The trip to see my grandchildren started out as an adventure since I don’t travel much by myself these days. The first night I stayed with my friend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at her cozy house in the woods. Her sweet cat, Feather, slept with me. The next day was Saturday. I drove to the mountains to stay with my son in Boone. While my son was at work, I got the phone call from the pastor at my father’s church. He told me my father had passed away. They found him in bed, so I’m hoping he died peacefully.

My father served in the US Marine Corps for 20 years, and I knew he would want me to complete this mission to visit his great grandchildren. (He didn’t believe in calling children kids, because kids are baby goats.) So, I’ve been in Indiana making funeral arrangements by phone with help from my wonderful husband who’s back home holding down the fort. I’m so thankful to not have to go through this alone, though I could have.  As my father taught me: “Nothing is Impossible.”

It was good to have some time alone in my son’s apartment Saturday when I got the news. I went from cleaning his kitchen window, to crying, to cleaning something else, to crying some more. I thought of calling my dad’s older sister, Ruth who is 94 and in assisted living. But first, I called her friend Judy, who takes care of her fiances. Judy told me that Aunt Ruth had been more confused than usual that morning when Judy visited her. She said Ruth asked her, “Is my mother gone?” Judy told her, yes, her mother was gone.

“Is my sister, Margaret gone?”

“Yes, Margaret’s gone,” Judy said.

“Then I’m the only one left.”

“No, You still have your brother Jimmy.” she told her.

Maybe Aunt Ruth already knew, on some level, that her brother was gone. I wonder if he visited her.  Judy said she would go tell her in person the next morning.

Driving to Indiana with my son on Sunday, the clouds hung low in the Tennessee sky. The opening you see in the photo below made me think my dad was peeking through to tell me hello and that everything’s good.


On Sunday afternoon, I called Aunt Ruth. I told her who I was (she forgets things) and asked how she was. Then I told her my father had died. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said. A bit later she asked how Jimmy was. I told her Jimmy had passed away. I had to repeat myself and explain that her brother had died. She said how sorry she was like she was was trying to console me. His death wasn’t a big surprise to her; my father was not in good health. He had a lot of pain from his old war wounds and arthritis and being 85. Aunt Ruth asked me a few more times, “Jimmy’s gone?”  “Yes, Jimmy’s gone,” I told her. “He’s with his wife, Betty. He’s with the Lord. That’s where he wanted to be.” I told her she still had me and her other niece who lives in Wisconsin closer to her, and her friend Judy. Aunt Ruth wants to go be with the Lord, too and can’t understand why she’s still here. Physically, she’s in great shape for 94. Mentally, she gets pretty confused.

My father was an extraordinary man. After serving in Korea and Vietnam and while living with with the horrible memories that haunted him from those wars, he and mom volunteered at their local soup kitchen and drove disabled veterans to the VA hospital two hours away. They led the church youth group on camp outs. Dad sang in the church choir until his voice started squeaking on the high notes. He taught an adult Sunday school class until just a couple weeks ago. And he taught me, “Nothing is Impossible.”

Dad missed mom terribly after she died. I’m glad they’re finally together again.


Mom and Dad in Washington DC 1954

My visit with my grand kids, er… grand children, was a good one. I enjoyed the sweetness of holding little ones on my lap as we read picture books.  My dad is glad I’m was with them.


Just Jot It January is brought to you by Linda Hill. I’ve been waiting for today’s prompt, “Extraordinary,” from Jetgirlcos to get back to blogging by telling you about my father. This post is longer than most of mine, but he’s worth it.

Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

25 thoughts on “An Extraordinary Man

  1. A lovely heartwarming tribute to one of Americas hero’s. I am so sorry for your loss because it is a loss for our country as well. He hellped shape America and fought for our freedom and it saddens me to read this. Yes I am old, I will be seventy four in a few months and was born right in the middle of WWII and have lost many of the men in my family that served this country with pride. It was an honor to read this post and how proud you must be to be his daughter.

    • Thank you, Patricia. I’m comforted to know my words warmed your heart. My father and I have not always seen eye to eye, but with each passing year, I have been more proud to be his daughter. Age does help us see what is truly important.

  2. Your father sounds like a wonderful person and you had a great relationship with him. May all your great memories be a comfort to you.

  3. Your sweet words brought tears to my eyes. I was fortunate enough to meet your dad. He was a very dear man. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Dearest JoAnna, although there is loss in it’s many forms in this posting, it shined with grace and integrity and most of all LOVE.
    You inspire me, through the darkness and through the light, you model the way by showing us that it is love (and faith and hope and perseverance) that ultimately shines when the dust has settled. Sending you the most heartfelt hug, Harlon

    • Thank you, dear Harlon. It’s a comfort to know grace and integrity came shining through, and of course love. I owe a lot of that to my dad. He was steady and always faithful, through the darkness and through the light. I receive your hug with deep gratitude.

  5. Wow. This was a hard read, I can only imagine how hard it has been to live through, especially being on the road. It’s so tough losing your father (I know, mine’s up there too). He does really sound like an extraordinary man and that’s evidenced in your life, your writings, and your mission. His influence on you has no doubt had a ripple effect on the world. My condolences and prayers are with you, my friend. Love, Michelle

    • Thank you, dear Michelle. Your words brought a smile to my lips and tears to my eyes, and then another smile, as I continue to process all that has happened and is happening. I appreciate your love and support so much. Our fathers will live on in our hearts and our memories.

  6. JoAnna I am so sorry for your loss.. I send you my sincere condolences my friend.. Your Dad sounded to be a wonderful Soul.. And I know how you have written before about his wonderful and extraordinary life
    Sending you my love, and perhaps Ruth did know.. Love Sue xxx

  7. It felt so good to read about your Dad and how obviously you have drawn inspiration from his strength. I am glad you got to have some good family time and I am sure Aunt Ruth was aware.

  8. Thanks, Praj. I think he likes your comment and is glad it made you feel good. Me, too!

  9. It was really sweet and heart wrenching post. And the images too are very beautiful! ♥

  10. i’m touched by this bittersweet remembrance, JoAnna.
    wonderful to have had time later in life to create memories.
    may he continue a a guiding light in your compassionate heart.

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  13. This was a lovely post and such a sweet photograph to have of how much your mother and father were in love when they were young.
    JoAnna, I do believe in heaven and the sky often reveals things. Those clouds with the opening do look like a peek into the next world or your father looking out for you on the road. Your dad’s sister Aunt Ruth, may have had a visit or angel message. . .

    • Thank you for believing with me and the affirmation. The longer I live, the more I believe there is much more going on than we can see with our physical eyes. 🙂 Angels are everywhere.

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