Our vacation to St. Louis was short lived. We were called Monday night and notified that my Uncle had passed away on Friday and that his services were to be held Tuesday evening.
My father's oldest brother was a man of character, compassion and values. He was one of those types of men that you looked up to and respected above others. After my grandfather left his family, my Uncle Chet became a father to his younger siblings. This surrogate fatherhood continued the rest of his life.
He always gave to others, in ways you may not think such a big deal, but to those he gave to, it was the most important gift they would receive. An example of that was a young nephew who loved the guitar, but his family was unable to purchase him one. He, being left handed found an old guitar and learnt to play it upside down. When Uncle Chet heard about this, he immediately went and bought this young boy a brand new guitar and brought it to him. That young boy today is a young man, studying music at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
He joined the Air Force at barely 18, and served in Korea and in Vietnam, and retired as a Tech Staff Sgt. After 21 years of service. His wife and he raised 6 children, 4 daughters and 2 sons. This produced 13 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
An avid fisherman, and THE best grill master I had ever known, Uncle Chet was also passionate about his food.
The last 20 years he fought heart problems, undergoing heart by-pass surgery; diabetes, loosing both legs; and cancer. It was finally his big heart that gave out on him last Friday.
Even though he was 70 years old, his life was short lived. Full, yes. Happy? He would say most definitely.
Long enough? They never are.
Thanks Uncle Chet. You will be missed.