To commemorate Father’s Day, Stan Gerding dedicates this Dear Grandson column to honoring fathers and their influence.
Dear Grandson has been put on hold this Sunday. I thought it appropriate, since today is Father’s Day, to dedicate this space to talking about fathers and some of the men in my life who affected me and the way I am today, all of them were fathers.
I would like to start by talking a little about my Grandfather George Jacob Weinholt, my mother’s father, who was born in 1882 and died in 1957 when I was only nine years old.
My grandpa fathered four children, two boys and two girls, and I remember when we had the Weinholt family get-together, which was only once every couple of years, mainly because my one uncle lived in Texas and my aunt lived in Florida. My mom and her siblings seemed to gather around their father and spoke to him with the utmost respect. He was a tall man; he was a tool and die maker by trade and, according to my father, a very hardworking man and well-respected in the field.
I only knew of him as a retired grandpa that cared dearly for his family and his grandkids. He used to tease all of us kids, but in a nice way, not mean. He and my dad would take me and my brother down the street to the corner bar, known as Bauman’s Bar in Dayton, Kentucky, and all my grandpa’s friends would come over and make a fuss over me and my brother Dave. When they did this, we knew we were going to get a soda pop and a candy bar, I think that is why we loved going.
More than that, though, I, at this early age, observed several things about my grandfather. He was kind and caring to all his friends and there weren’t any disagreements or arguments amongst them because there was a certain unusual respect maintained within this group of fellows. The biggest thing I learned from my grandfather was that you gain respect from others when you give respect to them and, by golly, he did this every day of his life on this here earth. I wish I would have known him earlier in his life, I am sure I would have learned so much more from him.
The biggest thing I learned from my grandfather was that you gain respect from others when you give respect to them.
Next, I would like to say a few things about my own father, Edwin Bertram Gerding, born 1912 and died 1986, father of four boys, and he also was a tool and die maker by trade.
My dad was a very hardworking man. He worked his eight-hour job and then would come home from work, eat supper, and then go down to the basement and work on some other projects for private individuals on the side. In the summer, my father would get two weeks’ vacation and I remember him driving an Up-to-Date Potato Chip truck and would deliver these chips to stores all around the different towns in Northern Kentucky. Occasionally, he would take a week and rent a cottage, along with a few of his brothers and their families, at Indian Lake, Ohio.
My father was the man who invented the hard-boiled egg cutter, the cheese cutter, and a key holder, but he never got a patent for these items because his cousin took his idea and got the patent on these items and probably made a fortune. The only reason I am mentioning this is to show how my father handled situations in life.
I learned so much from my father, he was a very religious man, a kind and caring man. He had a keen sense about him and, when it came to family, he was right there for them. Several times in my life I saw my father go to extremes to help others. I learned so many lessons from him and one of the big things was a thing called “accountability.”
When I got my first job at the age of 12 going on 13, my father told me, “Don’t ever be late for work, always get to work ten minutes early, and if you have to wait for someone to come and open up, so be it, you wait. Always do what the boss wants, whether you think it is right or wrong, you do it. If you do something wrong at work, admit to your mistake and don’t do it again.”
I know my father wasn’t perfect, but you could fool me, I thought he was.
When my father was 62, he came home one evening and told my mother that he was retiring at age 62 because he was forgetting things at work. In his work, everything had to be precise; and if it wasn’t, machines would not work properly. So, at age 62, my father retired and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease just like his mother.
I saw the brilliance of a man go away with this horrible disease. I saw the loving and caring person that he was, go away. I saw the man who could build almost anything, go away. I saw his family, all but one sibling, get this dreaded disease. My father was robbed of his life, but I also saw my mother, his caregiver, get robbed of her life for taking care of him through all the ups and downs of this horrific disease, and her own health started faltering.
My father had given so much to everyone. He could have, and would have, done much more if he hadn’t been robbed in this manner. I am thankful that I got to know my father fully and know that he was proud of his four sons. He taught us so much while he was still whole, we were proud of him.
I miss him.
I know my father wasn’t perfect, but you could fool me, I thought he was. … I miss him.
Next, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention me, Stanley “Stan” George Gerding, born in 1947, father to one son, Greg Gerding, “Bud.” I worked in a grocery as a kid, retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman, Hospital Administrator, teacher, author, and singer.
I would be the first to admit that I wasn’t perfect in my fathering duties, but I did the best I could. All of Greg’s childhood, I was in the military. And considering the duty assignments I had, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with Greg. I was involved in almost all of his activities in school and always stayed involved with his sports, as a coach, as a manager, and even as the President of Colt Baseball in Waukegan, Illinois, when I was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Training Base.
All in all, Greg turned out to be an outstanding person. Which leads me to Greg.
Next, Gregory “Greg” Wayne Gerding, born in 1971, and father to one son, Jack Michael Gerding, my grandson.
Greg is the Editor-in-Chief at The Big Smoke America, Founder/Chief Editor/Writer at University of Hell Press, author, and Meeting Planner, as you can see my “Bud” is very busy.
I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of my son. As his father, he never gave me any reason to not be proud. He was a great kid and he is a fantastic adult. He is a wonderful and loving father, mentor and teacher to Jack, because Jack is becoming a wonderful and intelligent person. I have no doubts in my mind that Jack will become a wonderful and loving father himself.
To all the fathers out there, I want to wish you the best Father’s Day ever and I hope that you all continue to strive for the excellence that our children so deserve.
Happy Father’s Day!
Stan Gerding is the author of the book The Nam “Doc” A Navy Corpsman’s Story.