A Few Pictures of Dad: John McColman (1923-2013)

My father passed away yesterday. He was 89 years old.

This was the end of a long journey of illness which began with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease almost 20 years ago; congestive heart failure and finally dementia also took their toll. Of course, these are all diseases of attrition, so it truly was a long, slow goodbye. But he maintained a positive, optimistic spirit pretty much through it all, and was truly loved by the nurses and CNAs who cared for “Mr. John” at the nursing home where he resided the last few years.

I’ll post a more proper obituary once my brother and I get it written. For today, I thought I’d celebrate his life by posting a few pictures (Update, 1/17/13: you can read the obituary and my reminiscences about Dad by clicking here).

John and Sylvia McColman on their wedding day, December 14, 1945.

John and Sylvia McColman on their wedding day, December 14, 1945.

John and Sylvia McColman, December 29, 2003 — after 58 years of marriage. She would suffer a stroke 18 months after this picture was made, and would pass way 18 months after that.

John and Sylvia McColman, December 29, 2003 — after 58 years of marriage. She would suffer a stroke 18 months after this picture was taken, and would pass away 18 months after that. He would survive another six years after her passing.

One of my favorite pictures of Dad, an unusual shot of him without glasses, taken by my brother Don at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, mid-1970s (Dad would have been about the same age I am now).

One of my favorite pictures of Dad, an unusual shot of him without glasses, taken by my brother Don at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, mid-1970s (Dad would have been about the same age I am now).

Summer, 1981. I'm 20 years old, home from college, and pose with Mom and Dad for this church directory photo. They could not stand my hair, but managed to smile for the camera anyway.

Summer, 1981. I’m 20 years old, home from college, and pose with Mom and Dad for this church directory photo. They could not stand my hair, but managed to smile for the camera anyway.

On my wedding day, June 26, 1993: the groom and his father, still dashing at age 70.

On my wedding day, June 26, 1993: the groom and his father, still dashing at age 70.

June 15, 2008: Dad's 85th Birthday. He had recently moved to Georgia, and was still in assisted living at this point.

June 15, 2008: Dad’s 85th Birthday. He had recently moved to Georgia, and was still in assisted living at this point.

He’s being cremated today so we are going to plan the funeral for a time when his brother (my uncle from Michigan) and the other out-of-town family members can plan for a trip to Hampton, VA, where the service will be held. His ashes will be interred alongside my mother’s at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hampton.

Bon Voyage, Dad. Give Mom a kiss for me (incidentally, newcomers to this blog might enjoy reading about A Kiss from Mom and a Lesson About Suffering, concerning a dream I had concerning my Mom and Dad several years ago: after Mom had died, but Dad was beginning his long final journey of lingering in a body ravaged by Parkinson’s and dementia).

Seven Lessons I'm Learning on the Grief Journey
Completing the Hospice Journey
Living with Hospice
A Gift for Lorraine

Comments

  1. donald wallace says:

    My prayer are with you….I will remember your Dad when celebration Mass Today Fr Don

  2. Carl, please accept—from Saskatchewan, Canada—my most sincere condolences on this new step in your dad’s journey. And thanks for the photos. It’s not hard to imagine your dad in full officer’s dress and your mom dressed in white, both smiling down upon you and your family.

  3. Fr. Ioannis says:

    In the passing of the servant of God, John of Christ, we stop to remember with certain hope an eternal day with all the saints and angels joining an unending hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Holy One who has removed our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west. Love claims us all and invites us with renewed vigor to behold the glory of the Transformed and Transforming Beloved in His servant, John. Memory eternal!

  4. No words. Beautiful images. Holding you and your family in my heart.

  5. My thoughts are with you and your entire family at this time. Take care, Carl.

  6. What a lovely tribute Carl. tender memories; a tender time. God Bless you.

  7. Carl, the pictures are wonderful, and my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. It’s always difficult to lose a parent, regardless of one’s age. Wishing you peace and comfort.

  8. My love and prayers to you and your family, Carl! The pictures truly are wonderful!! Thank you for the sharing. May the love and the peace of God nourish and sustain you in these days of planning, preparation and celebration of a life well loved. Blessings!

  9. Michael Kennedy says:

    Carl,please accept my sympathies. Your father was a good age and I am sure you have had wonderful times together. I am quite sure your life has given him many consolations. I am following you in meditation on Winterfeast for the Soul, though it is very much summer down here. Thank you

  10. Losing a parent is difficult even when it is drawn out. Losing one’s second parent is even harder. I stand with you as you grieve your Dad’s death. Holding you in prayer, dear brother.

  11. Christine Anderson says:

    A beautiful remembrance in celebration of your father. I loved seeing all the photos. God’s peace to you.

  12. Mary Leinhos says:

    Love and peace from my heart to you and your family, Carl. Thank you for sharing these special photos with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. Donnarae Williams says:

    Hi Carl, I met you when you visited the Charlotte Spirituality Center, this past year. I am sorry to hear about your Father’s death. Thanks so much for sharing the photos! I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  14. Fr. Joseph Fernandes SAC says:

    Hi Carl,

    Heaven is our home and your dad is gone home to OUR FATHER.

    Its our Christian hope and joy in our sorrow.

    May your sorrow your turn into joy.

    Will offer mass for his soul.

    fr.josef

  15. Nancy O'Neill says:

    Carl, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Losing a parent at any age is so difficult. I think your dream points to the eternal reality that should hold you steady in the years to come. It has already brought you peace and may your parents’ joy also become yours. Your pictures were bathed in love and certainly their love was a great gift to you. How wonderful that your dad enjoyed your visits which certainly brightened his days. Trust his smile, which was there in spite of everything. Smiles come from the joy that is deep within our souls.

  16. Brother Callistus says:

    Carl, please accept my sympathies… A beautiful remembrance in celebration of your dad’s life. The photos spoke volumes about love between father and son, and Mom too. My love and prayers to you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into a blessed life.

  17. Gregory D. Kenny says:

    Dear Carl,

    You’re in my prayers as you put your father into the hands of the living God. Peace be with you.

    Greg Kenny, cmf

  18. I’m so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. Lifting you all in my intentions.

  19. Frank and Claudette Cuddy says:

    Dear Carl, Fran, Rhiannon and Family,

    A sacred reality of our humanity is that we hurt when the ones we love hurt. Know that you in our hearts and in our prayers and may your faith in the Resurrection uphold you in this time of sadness.

    Sending much love and hugs,

    Frank and Claudette

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