When I was in junior high I got my first dedicated computer that was connected to the Internet. Our family had had shared computers before, and my father had one for work that he let me pound the keys on from time to time as a little kid but now I had my own to use. Our family had an ISDN line that was put in to allow my father to connect to the University and do his work, which allowed us as a household to have the best connection to the nascent World Wide Web that one could have outside of corporate/university setting. Never having to deal with the woes and travails of dial-up Internet was one thing, but even in these early days you could never be quite sure you were online. To check if we were online we had all our web browser homepages pointed to the Atmospheric Sciences website at the University of Washington. We knew for a fact that if it was up we were connected, such was the reliability of that website that my father ran.
For the past 20 odd years I have retained that tradition. I knew that if I could get to the Atmospheric Sciences page, I was connected to the world. That was because I knew that my father was ensuring that that page was up and that come hell or high water, it would be there. It is a tribute to this day that I have yet to see it fail.
This is the way my father has been his entire career at the University of Washington. Tirelessly working to ensure that the computers that are essential to the work of atmospheric sciences would continue running. With out these machines the entire enterprise of forecasting and understanding the weather would be for not. Without my father’s tireless work at bizarre hours for the last 40 years the research at the University of Washington in the Atmospheric Sciences department would have ground to a halt, setting back weather forecasting research at large. Through his career he has aided countless undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty in his time to ensure that they could go on to fruitful research and jobs in meteorology. Thus while he may not have the publication record of many doctorates in the field, which he has from Purdue University, yet his impact to the discipline of atmospheric sciences is undoubtedly incalculable.
However, his work and time at the University has not just purely been about the love of science and love of his neighbors in the academic realm. The money he earned, the flexibility in schedule, and the prestige he had came down to his family and church as well. He always put his family and his God above all else. He always made sure that his livelihood and career never jeopardized the more important things in life. He continues to be active in church, an excellent teacher and model of the faith. He faithfully brought his three children up in the faith and showed them the love of their Savior. He has and still is serving his wider church body in many and various ways. He also worked tirelessly to ensure that the Lutheran elementary school that his children attended, along with the children of so many other families, would give the best in Lutheran education.
He has been a model husband and father. Always faithful, always there, always loving. He has been, and continues to be, the man that I look up to. I continue to wish and pray that I could be half the man he is. In an age of general confusion about what it means to be truly masculine, a father, and a husband, my father has shown and modeled all of these. Not with machismo or bravado, but quietly, diligently, always giving praise to God for all that he has been given. He has shown that masculinity need not always be running into a burning building to save the children, but rather a constant, steady, thankless work ethic, excellence in all you do, and love for neighbor. A love that gives of oneself no matter how great or how small one’s vocation. A love rooted in the love that God has show for him.
So thank You God the Father for giving me a loving and amazing father. Thank You God the Son for dying to forgive his sins and win for him eternal life. Thank You God the Holy Spirit for sanctifying him in the true faith so that his life may be a living out of Your will. Lord continue to bless him and keep him as he retires from his work and career at the University of Washington and begins a new chapter in his life. Grant him a happy and blessed retirement, and a long life so he may see his children’s children. May I honor him as I ought, and grant that I follow in his footsteps, that I be even half the man that he is. To You alone be all honor and worship, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.
Congratulations dad on your retirement! I love you and thank you for all that you have done and continue to do! Soli Deo Gloria!