Dad...

Carl and John 03
John is part of this man's great legacy
one of his eighteen grandchildren and my youngest son

 

He did not have too take me as his son, but he did.
  
He did not have to love me as his son, but he did.

I did not have to call him father... but I do.

 

-Frank Tona     
     "lunatik"  
 

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As many of you know my father has passed away.  I wanted to say something about what he meant to me and how this man has affected this world. I haven't been able to write since his death so this is therapy for me as well.  Thank you.

When I was very young I had no father, I was raised by my mother and grandmother and never had a male role model.  I was the oldest of three boys and when this man started seeing my mother we had no idea how much our lives would change.

In the next few years he went from being our mother's boyfriend to being our "step"-father.  We were introduced to three other boys, his sons from a previous marriage; our "step"-brothers.  I went from being the oldest to being the third child in this new family.  I remember feeling a kind of us and them thing going on with the youngest of his and and I forming sort of a "liaison" click between the two groups.  We all got along fairly well - he ensured this with his commanding nature and a wide belt.  Don't let that last comment deceive, I can count on one hand the number of times I was actually remember being spanked.  The no nonsense way he approached disciplining his six (seven, after he and my Mom had a child together) boys was enough for us to think long and hard before doing something wrong.  My brothers and I grew into strong and responsible young men because of this - 
I don't care what child psychologists say about it. 

We were told that there would be no favorites, 
we were told that we were a family, 
and we were told that he did not just love our mother - he loved us as well. 

Dad's defining characteristic was integrity.  He would probably tell you that it was discipline, that's what he believed.  I think that his discipline was, in fact a by-product of his integrity; if he took responsibility for something, he developed the discipline to take care of it.  If he promised something, it would happen; he disciplined his life to ensure this.  

His love of God and his adherence to the integrity that was ingrained in his very nature has touched everyone he has ever known.  His legacy to the world are that those same qualities were exemplified to his sons, and through them to his grandchildren, and through them, to the world.