Sunday, January 25, 2015

Continued Inspiration from my father - Don Estill

My father died exactly one week ago.  He was 87.

Up to then and this week have been a blur.  Although I have grieved often since his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in October 2014, I still grieve and actually look for "time" to grieve.

I knew he was dying and asked him if I could do anything for him.  His answer was "no".  And he did not have needs so I thought of only one thing I could do.  I named my new company after him - DDE Media Company.  He alway initialed things DDE and my brothers and I would call him DDE sometimes when we spoke about him.  And he always took a keen interest in business so I thought he would appreciate it.

Dad was a picture of health until his diagnosis and actually enjoyed a good life for almost a year after the diagnosis.  His wonderful health was not an accident.  He worked hard on it.  He worked out daily and tracked his progress.  I asked my brother Glen (the executor) if I could have his workout record which span decades.

He ate almost perfectly.  Everything was home made from scratch.  The bread being the most memorable for me.  When I was young I was jealous of school friends who got "white" bread.  Ours was heavy whole wheat/multigrain.  Now I hardly ever eat white bread and appreciate "healthy" bread.

One lesson I learned from Dad was self discipline (although he was way more self disciplined than I am).

He was the picture of moderation.  I tried to get him to run a 5K when he was in his early 80's but he thought it was "too extreme".  I knew from his workout routine that he could have done it easily.  He was walking 2 miles per day and going on the elliptical trainer in the common gym where he lives for 30 minutes a few times each week in addition to doing some weight training.

I am not sure I learned moderation yet.

The elliptical trainer had been a gift from my brothers and I when my parents moved into Arboretum Village.

He was a life long tee totaller and of course never smoked.

One of Dad's characteristics which I always admired was his humility.  Nothing and no body was beneath him.  He exhibited that in spades when he came to work for EMJ after he retired.  He would do anything from picking up the mail to helping build an office to doing mundane accounting (I have yet to learn his fastidious accounting record ways)

He was highly organized.  On Meyers Briggs he would be off the scale J.  He did it naturally - I do not ,which is why I think I had to write a book on Time Management.  It was my way of learning it.  He did not need to learn it.

His service was well done.  As I listened to the stories by my brother, son and niece, I thought "What will my legacy be".  Dad certainly left a huge legacy and impact on the people who knew him.

To live a life thinking of the legacy left is powerful and inspirational to me.

My son, David, spoke of the "what would Don do" question that could be used to determine action in any ethical dilemma.

My niece spoke about how each of us carry a bit of Dad in all of us.  I was later sent a video that reinforced this thought.   It is comforting.

I was moved that a young friend, Tara Jamieson, wrote a song about Dad.

It is before 7 on a Sunday as I write this so it brought another thought.  I learned getting up early.  Dad always was up early.  Even into his 80's he would never sleep in.  He valued work ethic and this was one of his ways of showing that.

Dad, we will miss you.  

3 Comments:

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Laura Greenway-Balnar said...

Jim
What a heartfelt and memorable post. Although I did not know you Father, your writing has painted a picture of a man who was loved and respected by his family and beyond. This is a legacy we should all try to build for ourselves.
Thank you for posting.
Laura Greenway-Balnar

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Randall Howard said...

Jim,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your father with us. It is clear both how much you were like him and how much he inspired you.

We are all inspired by the special people in our lives and clearly your father was your earliest one. Your words are truly a fitting memorial.

Randall

 
At 3:13 AM, Anonymous Aakanksha said...

A mere description of your dad encourages me to be more like him.

 

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