My Grandpa was a great man. Someone anybody could look up to as a source of strength and inspiration. He was one of Colorado’s senators from 1962 till 1976 and was the founder of the Greenway Foundation, which was and still is responsible for keeping one of Denver’s most beautiful rivers both clean and accessible to the public. Not only did he help turn the Platte River from a running sewer to beautiful place to be, but he also founded the Foundation for Colorado State Parks.
But more than his generous heart, my Grandfather had a happy and warm heart too. His laughter could be heard from any corner of his house and nothing made him happier than to hear the laughter of his kids and grandchildren. We used to stand against a wall in the basement so that he could measure our growing height every few months. The wall was almost illegible because of the numerous penciled charts creeping up. You could always be sure there were ice cream bars in the freezer and gin in the liquor cabinet. And he had the coolest car. I’m sure my memory is skewed, but I definitely remember being proud that my Grandpa drove a batmobile. I remember him best in his swim trunks, standing by the side of the pool skimming out leaves so that we could swim without fear of them sticking to us.
And he is one of my biggest role models for being a spouse. My Grandmother had Parkinson’s and my Grandpa took care of her every day of her entire life. It didn’t matter how hard it was. He was always there. I can only hope that I have the same strength of will and mind and body and love to care for my loved ones the way my Grandfather fiercely took care of all of us.
He is proof that you can do whatever your mind sets itself to and that one person is not too small a number for anything.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa. May you sleep in peace.
August 13, 1924 – August 13, 2012