Friday, 25 January 2013
Today my dad would be 85.
His parents were German immigrants. His dad, an alcoholic, worked in the Akron tire factories, and died before I was born. His mom became mentally ill when Dad was a child, and spent the rest of her life in and out of institutions. I met her when I was six, at a hospital in Ohio. She died a few years later while we were in Colombia.
With so much turmoil in his family of origin, one of Dad's ambitions was to establish a warm, healthy family. After he met the Lord, he wanted to be a missionary. In college he met my mom, who had similar values, and they married and began reproducing. Five kids later, they went to the Andean city of Pasto, Colombia, where they adopted a sixth, my brother Dan. We moved to the jungle town of Puerto Asís, then later to Medellín, Colombia's second-largest city. Two more sisters were adopted while I was in college.
Dad had an incredibly productive career, establishing and pastoring churches, teaching and counseling at the Universidad de Antioquia, speaking at retreats and conferences, writing books (textbooks, family counseling, missionary research), recording radio programs, an orphanage and a lunch program, building cabinets (carpentry was one of his hobbies), and more activities than I can remember. After retiring to the US in 1994, he continued to write and speak and teach until his death in 2010.
His genes live on. This is my daughter Hannah, next to her Papa Paul.
(You can see a sequence of family pictures here.)