I'm off to my grandfather's funeral today. Below is an excerpt from something I wrote about him a couple of years ago:
January 24, 2007
And I am off to visit my grandfather. He's sick again and it seems that the worst is expected. But then he looked a bit better than I was preparing myself for. Weak but stable, and certainly in good care.
He's a gentleman, through and through. There are a lot of wonderful men and women in my family, but it's he who has set the bar so high in my eyes. He's a hero for his accomplishments and he's a hero for his humility and kindness. I still learn about how to be a man when I watch him interact with strangers. Whether it's the Fox 17 news reporter who interviewed him a couple of years ago about his days piloting a B-24 bomber in WWII or the nurse who is asking him critical questions today about his health, he always exemplifies the best virtues of humankind.
Gracious, humble and polite, it doesn't seem to ever cross his mind to talk down to another human being. The kind nurse asks him yet another question and he answers, "Yes, ma'am" or "No, ma'am." Twenty hours in a railed hospital bed too short for his long, tall body, with every excuse for extreme grumpiness, and he's still the man I'm so proud to know.