Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Son's Tribute

David Lee Peterson 1 June 1939 to 24 Oct 2005

Today is the 7th anniversary of my husbands death and I am posting a tribute to Dave written by our son David.  I quote with honor.

"On my Dad’s Birthday My Mom, Donna, told everyone about David Lee Peterson.  I am going to attempt to follow her by telling everyone about him as my father.  Growing up, my Dad went beyond being a good provider for the family.  I cannot remember a time where the family went without anything.  I remember that we always had food, a nice home, and clothes.  But that doesn’t tell you anything that you wouldn’t expect from any father. 
Dad was always supportive.  Mom said how he stepped up to become a Scout Leader when I was both a Cub Scout and later a Boy Scout.  Without his support and guidance I would have never become the Boy Scout I take pride in being.  I reached the rank of Eagle Scout because of Dads support.  Being involved in the Boy Scouts wasn’t just about me; Dad was an active participant as well taking on leadership roles beyond the local troop level.  He served on the staff at the National Jamboree in 1985, He attended a training called Wood Badge where adult leaders are trained in scouting in the troop format being assigned to an eight person patrol.  At the end of the training, he was selected as the permanent Patrol Leader for his Patrol.  I was also privileged to serve as the Night Chief when Dad was “Called Out” to receive the Order of the Arrows Vigil Honor, an honor that is rarely awarded to adults like Dad.  I know that outside of Scouting this won’t mean much, but they are distinguished honors that he richly earned.
Now looking at my Dad as an adult I think understand why people were drawn to him.  I believe that he would be there to listen to them without judgment and only if they wanted it would he offer his opinion or advice.  Sometime people just needed someone to listen to and not fix what was wrong.  I remember that during a gathering, it didn’t matter what type, he would find a spot at a table in the back corner of the room and pick a spot where he could survey the room.  Soon, all types of people would congregate to that table where everyone would be sharing “War Stories”, jokes, solving world problems, or just pontificating on whatever was on their minds.  Dad would be sitting there with a smile and throwing his two cents worth in as well and soon the rest of the room was a secondary event.
At a recent work dinner for a group of employees in from around the US and Canada that I was the one at the back corner table with the group of people gathered around while I shared the war stories and had the attention of the group.  Then I had one of those “A Ha” moments and thought of Dad.
After Mom and Dad retired to Florida I didn’t see them as often as I should have and that is no one’s fault but my own.  I didn’t know any of Dads friends from Church or the Knights of Columbus but I know he believed he belonged to the right Parish for him and that he was proud of the Knights of Columbus chapter he was a member of and that he was a big part of bringing a foundering chapter back to a strong chapter. 
I lost Dad too soon.  He was the greatest man I have ever had the honor of knowing and the best thing is he is my Father.  He and my Mother made me who I am today and every day I hope that I am living up to their expectations and that I make them proud.   Dad, I Love You and Miss You and still think about you daily. 
David Michael Peterson.
p.s. The night Dad died I had fallen asleep with my blanket only half on and at some point it was flipped up over my head waking me up.  Dad covering me one last time.   Then when moving Mom out of the house in Florida I “Inherited” Dads beloved avocado green electric carving knife.  I went to use it on Christmas and suddenly I could not find the blades.  The next day as I am putting the clean dishes away I find the blades in the drawer right on top of the other silverware.  Dads sense of humor I guess."

Thank you David for your insight and sharing your perception of your Dad.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seven Years Ago

Seven years ago this date fell on a Sunday. It was our 41st Anniversary but we didn't do anything special.  Our relationship was special every day.  Dave and I went to church where we were eucharistic ministers. After church, we went to our local Publix for supplies.  South Florida was getting ready for a hurricane and we saw several friends at the store.  I remember we discussed driving up to Tampa to ride out the hurricane taking aim at the Naples/ Ft Myers area.

Instead of heading to Tampa, we went home with our supplies.  Dave spent the afternoon boarding the windows to protect the house.  Between putting up boards, there was football to watch and that night the White Sox won the second game of the World Series.  We had a nice steak dinner since we didn't know when we would be able to cook after the hurricane.  Little did I realize how prophetic that was.

That evening Dave had a phone call from his sister Pat and another from an old friend and co-worker.  Nothing in the events of this day could possibly indicate how very awfull the next day would be.

The next day I woke to find Hurricane Wilma doing her best to destroy our house and Dave laying on the floor of our bedroom.  We had no power but we did have phone service.  Dave was unresponsive but the storm needed to pass on before I could call EMS.  Finally I could call 911 and they came immediately.  After it was determined that Dave needed to be transported, they had to figure which hospital could accept Dave.  When the ambulance I called a friend and asked for a ride to the hospital.  Dave was in the emergency room and still unresponsive.  X-rays showed severe head trauma with massive bleeding in the brain.  Since the operating room at the hospital was unusable (hurricane damage) Dave was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital in Ft Myers.  After meeting with the neurosurgeon, with a discouraging prognosis, I decided not to have surgery attempted.  Dave and I had discussed this part of our lives and I knew he wouldn't want this kind of life.

The plan was that I would come back the next day and make that hard decision.  I never went back to the hospital.  Late that night I got a call from the hospital that Dave had died.  The day was over and it was time to mourn and move on.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Doors of Faith - Oberselters, Hesse, Germany

St Antonius Catholic Church, Oberselters, Hesse, Germany

This church was the home of my German Burbach ancestors as far back as 1732.  I have read the records of marriages and baptisms of this church.  Oberselters was a small village outside of Bad Camberg.  The Burbach family attended this church until recent times and may still be members there.  The name still appears in the cemetery.  My Great-great-grandfather Georg Burbach left Oberselters about 1848 and traveled to the nearby village of Villmar where he met and married Catharina Casperi.  They remained in Villmar until 1856 when they immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with their sons Hermann and Johann after burying their son Adam in Villmar in 1854.

We visited this church in 2003 and took this photo of an informational plaque posted on the wall.

Photo of St Antonius Church, Oberselters by ({Information |Description = Kirche St. Antonius Bad Camberg-Oberselters, Deutschland|Source = selbst fotografiert |Date = 26.01.2008|Author = Volker Thies (Asdrubal) |Permission = siehe unten |other_versions = }}  used under the creative commons license.