My Dad’s life through a new lens

I struggle to write my Dad’s obit. And then I rewrite it. And rewrite it again.

Charlotte-Anne and Turtle by Joseph Lucas

Charlotte-Anne and a turtle at Lake Oswego, 1956. Photo by Joseph Lucas

Where in the world to start?

My Dad taught me to read before I entered Kindergarden, he taught me to be a photographer, how to build and fly radio control model airplanes, how to fish, how to paddle a canoe and how to rebuild the engine in a car.

Most of all, he taught me how to think, and he stoked my passion for social justice. For my 14th birthday on Nov. 15, 1969, he granted my wish by taking me to Washington, D.C. to march against the War in Vietnam.

Because I could, I sewed a gib sail for the catamaran he made from two canoes, I took him to lunch with Texas writer and iconoclast Molly Ivins, and I married a man who loved him and liked talking to him.

But the fact is, since his death on March 28, 2014, the meaning and truth of my Dad’s life ~ and the meaning of my own life ~ is changing.

There are facts, but there are no longer hard and fast truths about our lives ~ the truth and meaning are fluid, evolving.

I understand this a little better now, thanks to a generous and wise friend who pointed me to Robert A. Neimeyer, a psychologist who believes the central process in grieving is responding to the loss by reconstructing meaning.  (Book here: video here:

So I will take the obit and the story of his life in bites, reconstructing the meaning in chapters. Starting with the facts and finding the truth as I go.

I love you Dad.




3 thoughts on “My Dad’s life through a new lens

    • Shaun –
      You remember how grateful I was for you introducing my UNLV students to Markos in Denver? My Dad also was a *huge* fan and a subscriber to Daily Kos – he would frequently forward me newsletters and links. He really enjoyed their perspective and way of covering the important issues … He was really impressed that I had met Markos in person – thanks to you!

  1. Charlotte-Anne (or “Char”, as your dad lovingly referred to you), I am greatly saddened by the news of your dad’s passing. Your blog and obituary are incredibly touching. I am moved to tears. What a beautiful, loving tribute to your father. He would be beaming from ear to ear if he read your words. He was immensely proud of you (and your family). I loved his passionate nature. (What an understatement!) He was an intent listener and appreciative foodie. He was a great thinker and builder of complicated mechanical things (SO amazing how he knew the intricate details). He was of German heritage but his hands were Italian…especially when it came to food. We had great discussions. He never left my office without expressing his appreciation and love. He lives on in his loved ones. (You have so many of his wonderful qualities!) I wish you healing peace in the days ahead. Love and hugs to you and your family.

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