Todd Froelich is pastor at Hartland Center Community Church and is a periodic contributor to the Lifelines column in this newspaper. One of those columns concerned the passing of his father. I was touched by the story, saved it in my files and asked Rev. Froelich if he would update it and allow me to run it here as my Day-After-Father's-Day column. He agreed, and I think you will enjoy his warm tribute.
My father died last July in Erie, Pa. at the age of 85 because of complications following a car accident.
With all his ribs as well as his sternum and pelvis broken, he wasn't supposed to recover from the accident. But he was a fighter, and one month later he was walking and joking about playing golf again.
Then he had a stroke and a massive heart attack that took his life.
Dad grew up during the Depression, the youngest of 11 children, in a row house on Erie's lower East side.
I hesitate to say that he was 85, because then you will picture an old man. He wasn't an old man. He still golfed and hunted and bowled. His legs were still thick and strong. His mind was as sharp as ever. When we played pinochle, he usually won because he could remember every card that was played. He also remembered a good joke to tell me each time he called on the phone. But the thing I most want people to know about my Dad is that he was a man of integrity.
He worked 20 years selling cars and building a reputation for honesty and fairness. That's not easy to do in the used car business. But that reputation served him well when he made the courageous and risky decision to switch to real estate sales at the age of 50.
Dad was the same way at home. I can never recall him telling a lie or doing anything deceptive or selfish. He was also a man of faith and was actively involved in his church. He took an interest in others and always enjoyed making a new friend.
He also looked out for other people. When his brother died young, Dad became a father figure to several of my cousins. And he took care of my mother for three terribly difficult years before she died of Alzheimer's disease. Her passing almost killed him. But he bounced back and was later happily remarried.
Not long ago, this Bible verse jumped out at me, "A righteous man who walks in his integrity; how blessed are his sons after him" (Proverbs 20:7). These words, written so long ago, reminded me of my own father and explained why his four children have been blessed with so much happiness and peace.
When Dad died, he left us a large inheritance. But the riches he left us can never be counted in dollars or material things. Instead, he left us wonderful memories, a sterling example, and a good name. "A good name is more desirable than great riches..." (Proverbs 22:1).
When people find out I am Ted Froehlich's son, they seem to have a higher regard for me. What price can you put on that? Because my Dad lived a life of integrity, I am greatly blessed.