MY DAD.. Walter Larson, The man I love and respect!!Born: May 16, 1923, Born to Heaven: February 27, 2002.
It is important to me to share my dad's story. In so many ways he is the man I want to be. I was so blessed to have had him as my dad.Difficult Early Years: When my dad was only 6 years old his mom died, and his dad during the difficult financial times of 1929 placed my dad along with his brothers and sisters in a children's home. He lived there until age 17 when he was turned out on his own with only $7 in his pocket.
My dad then served in the Navy during WWII. These were incredible years to be a part of this significant time in history including D-Day at Normandy and the details of these years were etched in his memory. He later would tell me over and over the experiences he had while he sailed across the ocean during these Navy years..
After the War
my dad heartbroken over the mistreatment of many of his brothers and sisters were now experiencing. He was lonely, drank too much, and was unhappy to the point of attempting suicide with a gunshot to his chest.
The Turning Point.. The Lord protected my dad from this attempted SUICIDE, and shortly after this he was led to know Jesus as his savior while still in the hospital recovering.
In the next few years.. he was introduced to Nellie Ross, they fell in love, married and my dad for the first time in his life had a true family and happiness.
The Family Man: After marrying my mom, he lived the next nearly 50 years in northern Wisconsin. He worked as a logger for most of these years, and though we never were wealthy, but we always had enough. He lived his life as a quiet man with a good reputation. He cared, loved, and provided for his family, and was a man who truly enjoyed the simple pleasures of life which included strong coffee.
Once grandchildren came along, he played the role of grandpa in his own unique manner with the ability to make up stories, and create adventures for his grand kids that they will always remember.
ALS: In August of 2000 my dad was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Over the next year and one half this terrible disease tore down his once strong body. He lost his speech, the ability to eat except through a feeding tube, but his mind stayed clear and sharp. The amazing fact that I have come to realize after his death is that the Lord used this time to prepare Him for Heaven, and to deepen his faith.
Christmas 2001, Was our last Christmas with my dad. We knew time was getting short, but we still wanted to make the time special. So we decided as a family to each share our favorite Christmas memories. We each shared special Christmas memories, of toys, or family get togethers.. Well the following letter is what my dad shared..
Making that final trip to Heaven... Monday February 25th, 2002, I received a call from his hospice nurse that the end was near. I was fortunate to make it home and be able to visit, and care for him during his last days. A very special memory of these last days was my mom at his bed side the evening before he died. Dad was bed-ridden struggling, gasping for air, and disoriented. My mom leaned over to him and said.. "You know I love you, and kissed him on the cheek.".. My dad turned to my mom focused on her eyes, and squeezed both hands, and touched her cheek. That was the last communication my dad made with any of us.
Saturday March 2nd, at 11 a.m. CST at Cable Alliance Church in Cable Wisconsin was my dad's funeral. It was a time of rememberance, and honoring, and celebrating his life. We mourned, we cried, but we also laughed, and celebrated his life, and the start of his eternal life.
His 79 years on this earth may seem to be a long time, and were filled with many highs and lows, but as a believer.. there is HEAVEN. Eternity with our God. You don't have to be a math genius to realize eternity is a 'little' longer than 79 years. I bring this in attempt to encourage those of you that have lost a loved one as an infant, young child, teenager, young adult, or maybe cut down in the prime of life at 100 years. Our lives may be filled with trials, temptations, failures, financial woes, illness, pain and suffering, and death, life is not fair... BUT.... this time on earth whether it is short or long, happy or sad.. is a drop in the bucket of eternity.
I believe if my dad was in the parable of the talents, there would be the guy with the 5 talents, the one with 3 talents, the one with 1 talent, but my dad's life was one where he would have been instructed to go find a talent before he could start. What I mean to say is .. My dad, who never had modeled before him how to be a husband, father, or friend.. succeeded at all these critical roles of life.
Thank you for taking time to read this tribute to my dad.
My Cartoon Memorial for my Dad.. I know he wishes I would have been a famous doctor and dedicated a hospital wing in his honor.. but just his luck... HIS SON IS A CARTOONIST!! click here --> CARTOON TRIBUTE TO MY DAD
May God bless and use each of you beyond your dreams.