Thanks dad for being a loving father.
Thanks dad for being a loving father.
From Mark Cohen
How did they affect your life?: By fighting for his life during Cancer treatment, staying positive the entire time, and coming out of it an even stronger and more committed person, Cody inspires me daily and has reminded me of the importance of living life on my terms.
Describe your experience.: Cody was diagnosed with Cancer at age 18, delaying his entrance into College and the world after high school. He spent 225 days in the hospital with rounds and rounds of chemotherapy and two bone marrow transplants - the first of which failed and he was without an immune system for 3 months while waiting for his second transplant - which succeeded. He has since started college, got himself a terrific girlfriend, and is a fierce advocate for two bone marrow registries, the University of Iowa Dance Marathon and other Cancer survivors.
I look at my father as a pioneer...
Though he didn’t navigate across the Great Plains in a covered wagon, he did seek out a better life at a very young age. The first child in his family to go to high school, and of course, the first to go to college, Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Living on that small Iowa farm just a mile south of the Minnesota border, my Dad figured out that he was the only person in control of his future. He set out in search of it with the same ambition and determination as the earliest of pioneers.
It is fun to imagine all the innovation that my father experienced: telephone, TV, the development of the U.S. highway system, not to mention the internet, are some of the life-changing events that my father has experienced. In a recent conversation, he indicated the development of air travel was the change that he appreciated most. He has seen 17 Presidents sworn into office. To this day his mind is sharp, his memories vivid, truly a historic treasure.
As his years advance, I find myself regretting many moments of my life living at 606. Our relationship was not a two-way street. While he offered love and guidance throughout my life, I could only counter with comments of sarcasm and disrespect in hopes of making my mother and siblings laugh. Now, as a father myself, I know that I would not have tolerated that level of disrespect from my sons. Through it all however, my Father’s love never waivered, perhaps knowing that I would one day grow out of the smart aleck phase that seem to control me for most of my young adulthood.
In a recent trip to our family reunion, my Uncle Bill shared a story that both surprised me and made me laugh. He called my father ‘thrifty,’ citing the story that he once spent only 35¢ between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That was a side of Dad I never knew. He was as generous with his money to my wife Kay and I, as he was with his love.
Our task today was to write about one memory. But as the youngest (spoiled rotten) son of the greatest man I ever knew, there can never be just one memory. It’s a collection of life experiences that have helped to mold me, so that I might navigate life’s uncertainty. Thank you Father, for being a living example of strength and compassion that will guide me forever.
My favorite memories of dad mostly surrounded athletics. This is a picture of me and dad in our Engers Buick uniforms, when we lived in Libertyville. Dad was easily the most knowledgeable coach in the league and our success on the field was a direct reflection of that, and I took a great deal of pride in that. As my older brother was pretty much my mother’s favorite, I naturally gravitated to my father. I used to love to go with him on his many football, basketball, and baseball refereeing/umpiring trips. I remember chasing foul balls for a nickel (my first venture into capitalism) and quizzing him on the new rules each year as we drove to the various venues in Iowa. Those were special times. He continued to support me in all my own athletic endeavors and I remember him rushing home from his office in waukegan just to catch my after school basketball games at Highland Junior High School. I wrestled varsity as a freshman in Libertyville along with my brother Rob, who was the captain of the team, and Dad never missed a meet. Mom came to one meet and witnessed Rob getting a bloody nose and never came again. After that freshman year we moved to Marquette, and I was devastated to find they didn’t have wrestling. So Dad and I approached the Athletic Director about starting a wrestling team and thankfully he agreed. Marquette is now in its 53rd year of wrestling competition. He also supported me in all my football playing years, never missing a game. Dad was a great athlete, and I’m happy some of those genes found their way to his children. As we all know, he’s still competing! – Russ
I feel so blessed that I have a grandfather as special as Grandpa Cap. The glass is always half full with grandpa, and he is such a joy to be around. I appreciate his kindness, and our days that we get to spend reminiscing about his past over a game of cards. Justin and I feel fortunate to have Grandpa and Jackie so close, because we have been able to share some great times together that we will cherish forever. It amazes me that year after year he doesn’t seem to change at all. Sure, he has a few aches and pains, but no one would ever know because he always has that infectious smile on his face. The combination of his Norwegian genes and daily rituals of honey, vinegar, and morning exercise, have sure helped him to live a long and healthy life. As someone who works with elderly people on a daily basis, it not only amazes me, but gives me motivation to continue to live a healthy lifestyle for myself.
I love how proud grandpa is of all his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Whenever we talk, he is always so interested to hear how school and work are going. He is curious to know how Justin’s career is going, and continues to tell him to be patient and that his time will come. It keeps us motivated to know that we have so much support from them, cheering us on as we continue to grow in our careers.
One of our fondest memories of grandpa and Jackie was when they were able to come to our wedding in Cancun, Mexico. Seeing them get off of the Thomas Moore Bus, not displaying an ounce of exhaustion was truly a moment of admiration. Grandpa gave such a heartwarming speech that ended with, “and may your troubles be small and very few, and may your love that we witnessed here today last as long as the ocean blue.” We were so proud.
Lastly, I want to thank grandpa for giving me life, and for creating a family with good values. None of us would be the people we are today without the influence of grandpa Cap. We are very lucky to have such a special person we can call grandpa, and I look forward to making more memories.
Grandpa Cap was a fascinating figure for me as a role-model growing up. He held the dichotomy of being both the sweetest man I knew and the most competitive man I knew. Through his influence, I discovered that I can separate the game from the man. In other words, I can rise to the challenge to be as competitive as I need at work or on the ball field, but then put aside the focus to be kind and generous to others: family, friends, team-mates, and colleagues. In short, how aggressively we play the game is not a direct reflection of personal character: personal character is also based on how we interact with others. This was a big life lesson, which has helped shape my future as an entrepreneur in extremely competitive fields. Here's the memory that comes to mind when I think about this insight...
Grandpa and I were playing Chocolay Downs: a golf course just outside of Marquette. Grandpa was sweet and supportive for guiding my swings, as he always was/is, but each time he addressed the ball he focused like a laser to continually meet or even out-perform his personal expectations. As a result, when we approached the 17th hole, he was holding par (perfection). Just then, a thunderstorm began to roll ashore and the rain began. I asked Grandpa if we should call it a day, but he resolutely said “we're not done” and promptly tee'd off amidst the increasing downpour. I shrugged my shoulders, zipped up my coat, and followed suit. Grandpa had yet another perfectly straight drive, mine was off to the right: distracted by the changing and calamitous weather. I must have had 8 or 9 swings before arriving on the green. Meanwhile, Grandpa was waiting patiently for me, dripping wet, as he was on in 3 -- he was again putting for his final par. In courtesy, he let me hit in the hole first: I'm sure my final score on the hole was something like a 12, ending a 100+ round score. He then set up his ball in the torrential down-pour and putted. It went perfectly straight and was heading with the right speed, but it stopped an inch short of the hole due to a growing puddle. Expecting him to become upset for having lost his perfect score (72 par), he picked up his ball, turned to me in his same sweet tone and said “good round, let's go in and get dry.”
This is the perfect example of a competitor who knows how to compete: with good cheer, kindness to others, and a laser focus that ignores all distractions. This example has served me well throughout my life. Thank you Grandpa.
Dad, As I watch my own kids grow, I am so grateful for how you infused us girls' childhoods with wonder, curiosity, creative thinking, practical inquiry, appreciation for nature and the hand-made, integrity in all we do... way before any of these were buzzwords or fads in child development theories. You inspire me as a parent in so many ways. Love, Lauren
Thank you Mama for loving and guiding me, being there for me. I love you. – Noemi