My Dad-My Hero
Lessons I Learned From My Father
There is so much in life that I have learned from my Dad. He was in many ways a very simple man, but yet he had strong values that he passed down by example to his children.
Dad has been gone for nine years now, and I really miss him.
As I prepared for writing this lens I could really see how he taught, not by lecturing or preaching (although he did some of that too), but by his example.
The lessons learned from my Dad will live on with me as long as I live and I hope that I will pass them on to my children and grandchildren.
photos from my personal files
Growing up on the Farm
My Dad grew up on a farm in Port Hudson Missouri. When he was 9 years old his father passed away and after a short time his mother decided she needed to move to town with her four children. They moved to Washington Missouri where my Dad attended Immanuel Lutheran School until he finished the 8th grade. After that he went to work to help support the family. His first job was at Stumpeys Auto Repair shop.
The photo here shows my Dad and his three siblings. His older brother Melvin and two younger sisters Alice and Mildred.
Love and Loyalty in Marriage
Marriage was important to my Dad
my Mom was his best friend
Mom and Dad were best friends in life and love. They married at age 19 and were married nearly 60 years when Dad died.
They survived a lot of struggles through life but they always did it together. Dad was always the healthy one and he helped Mom through her struggles with polio and deafness. His loyalty to her was evident.
They worked hard together through life, sharing all of the good times and bad. They loved to reward their hard work with vacations. First with the family and later, when we were all grown with each other.
Even when they argued, and they did do that, it was clear that they loved each other.
The Love of Family
Children and Grandchildren were important to Dad - Four Children-Nine Grandchildren
This is a photo of Dad and Mom with their four children. The photo was taken at the farm on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Mom and Dad and their nine Grandchildren
Photo taken at 50th Wedding Anniversary party at Grandpa Ervs Christmas Tree Farm.
Pride in Country
A Proud Navy Man
World War II Veteran
Dad was always proud of the time he served in the military. He was one of those brave young men who served his country in World War II. When the war broke out he was anxious to serve. At age 17, with his mother's permission, he signed up to join the navy.
Dad was in on the end of WWII and spent much of his time in the Pacific. He also was able to go to Europe with the Navy immediately after the war. He kept a journal and I have read about his stops in Venice and Rome, Italy.
He loved to talk about those years with his children and grandchildren.
Read more about the Navy in World War II - a favorite subject of my Dad's
My Dad loved to talk about World War II history. He could sit and talk for hours with his children and grandchildren telling them about the war and the ships on which he served.
Dad wanted to make sure that we all understood the importance of the lessons learned from history. For special occasions one of Dad's favorite gifts would be books about the World War II era.
A Strong Work Ethic
Working Hard was a Way of Life
Mom and Dad started their own business in 1958, a home improvement business and they worked in that business until they passed it on to my brother when they were nearing retirement age. Some might think they would then take it easy, but not Mom and Dad, they retired ?? to a farm and began a christmas tree farm.
They worked to build Grandpa Ervs' Christmas Tree Farm for another 15 years until health issues forced them to move back to the city and closer to family.
As I look back on it the christmas tree farm seems to bring together so many of my fathers' values. The tree farm brought together family to work together each Christmas when children and grandchildren would all gather at the farm each weekend to help customers cut down the trees. Members of Mom and Dad's church were able to work on the farm. They were hired to make wreaths, serve hot chocolate, and trim trees. Since the farm was seasonal, it also gave Mom and Dad free time to enjoy their love of travel.
A Zest for Travel
Travel was my parents' favorite form of relaxation
My parents loved to travel. When we were small every summer we would go on a new adventure. I can remember loading the station wagon with our bags and we would all six head out on vacation. We lived in St.Louis, Missouri, so Florida seemed to be a favorite place to vacation. Dad would always turn the vacation into a learning experience. I was the oldest and I can remember at a young age Dad handing me the map and telling me I needed to learn how to follow the map.
Our vacations covered the continental United States, each year heading out in a new direction. We enjoyed the beaches in Florida, drove in the car up to Pikes Peak, visited the White House in Washington D. C., took a boat on the lake in Wisconsin Dells and enjoyed Branson, Missouri before it was crowded!
Once their children were all out of the house, my parents began to go on tours and cruises. My daughter, their oldest grandchild, was able to go with them on a guided tour of Israel when she was 10. My parents also visited Germany on a tour and then went off on their own to look for the places where their ancestors were born in Germany and Austria.
In later life, cruises became an easier way for my parents to travel. They cruised to Alaska on two occasions, through the Panama Canal, and on their last cruise they went with my husband and me on a cruise to the North Atlantic. In this photo, Dad and I are in Cobh, Ireland.
A Quest for Knowledge
Learning was Important to Dad
My father gained knowledge from everything he did. He was always curious about how things worked and why they worked that way. He did take some classroom courses while in the service and when he was first working as a machinist, but mostly he learned by asking questions and watching people.
Dad read the newspaper from one end to the other, and always watched the evening news. He always asked us questions and wanted to make sure his children knew what was going on in the world.
On vacations he would ask what we were learning, and if we fell asleep in the car he would complain that we were missing important things.
I remember when Mom and Dad started the christmas tree farm they searched for information on the best ways to do business and joined a christmas tree association to learn from others.
Dad was always proud of the educational accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
A love for God
My father's faith was shown by example
My father was not a man to talk about his religion or belief in God, but rather one to show it by the way he lived.
When Mom and Dad were first married they belonged to different churches. Dad let Mom know how important his religion was to him by attending church each Sunday. Eventually, Mom too joined the church. Dad made sure all of his children went to Sunday School each Sunday and we attended Lutheran schools.
Dad did a lot of work for the church by helping with repairs around the church. He never, however, wanted any recognition for his work and many times went about doing the repairs without anyone's knowledge.
Dad had a strong sense of fairness. In his business he would go out of his way to make sure that he treated each customer fairly. He believed strongly in always doing your best work...even when it cut into your profits.
I believe friends, neighbors, and customers alike would say that my father was someone you could always depend on to help you in time of need.
Kenny Rogers - slow dance more
This song has always reminded me of my father. I hope you enjoy it.