Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


My father was a genius.

It's hard to explain to people just what kind of genius he was because it sounds so far-fetched, so unrealistic. It sounds like we're bragging. But we're not.

He was a mathematician, mechanic, electronics engineer, plumber, musician, humorist and he could talk theoretical physics with his close friend Dr. Robert Oppenheimer.

At the age of twelve he and his two bothers, who were eleven-year-old twins , went to junk yards and collected parts. From these parts they built, from the ground up, a Model T Ford.

Dad was a sonar man on submarines in the Pacific pre-World War II. During the war the government realized his brain was more valuable to them than his brawn so they sent him to school to learn about something called R.A.D.A.R. It was TOP SECRET. He was sent into the Caribbean to build R.A.D.A.R stations and it was while he was in Puerto Rico on one of these TOP SECRET assignments that he met and married my mother. After the war he continued to work for the government and helped design the nuclear reactor that went into the first nuclear submarine. Later he was involved in the atomic bomb tests that took place in Nevada. You know those small radiation badges people wear? The initial early design/development of those badges came from him, though he never got the credit.

Realize, he did all of this (and more) without college degrees or "formal" education.

The above picture was taken by WVWI (1000 on your dial) the second radio station on St. Thomas where he worked as the Chief Engineer. He built the station almost from the ground up, designing the studio for the DJs, doing all the carpentry (his least favorite thing to do) the wiring, and putting in the transmitter and transmitter tower. The owner of the station also had a Sony dealership and Dad was responsible for all warranty and miscellaneous repairs.

Dad played a mean trombone and was able to hit high notes no one else could. He also played E flat tuba. He was always in some kind of band. He routinely read the dictionary, did crossword puzzles in ink, and could not be beaten at Scrabble. He was also a ham radio operator of the "old school," strictly a Morse code man, able to send and receive up to 60 words a minute.

He rode motorcycles. At one point Dad decided he wanted a BMW and became a dealer, just so he could buy one. In the course of his life he made seven round trips (that's fourteen times) across the U.S.! never traveling same way twice and always traveling alone.

There wasn't a question we could ask that he couldn't answer.

He was such an eloquent and adept debater/arguer my sister and I told people he could convince them the sun revolved around the earth. One of his favorite things to do was set one of us up in a conversation so that at some point we would have to say the appropriate thing so that he could then deliver a pun.

And this is really just scratching the surface.

He was a devoted family man, a loving husband and father.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Twenty-one years later, your daughters miss you still.


  1. This is a fine tribute to a man which should be widely known.

  2. Oh Bish. Happy Birthday Dad!

    What a wonderful wonderful man. He sounds like he needs to get into a book somewhere.

    Sounds like a middle grade to me --

    You're reeling with ideas. Well, I'm reeling them for you.

  3. What a fascinating man! I feel like curling up with a cup of coffee and having a chat with him...and I don't even like coffee! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Oh sweet tribute. Your dad made the world a better place...

  5. Your dad sounds like a very special man. I enjoyed your descriptions of him. May your family enjoy the day filled with fond memories of him.

  6. How nice to honor your father like this. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  7. (((((hugs)))) You're father sounds like he was an amazing man.

  8. The fact that he wanted to be with you says it all for me ... genius or not. What a great dad. You could write a great historical fiction revolving around him and his two girls. I'd eat it all up. Or a memoir. Heck, I'm eating it all up right now.

  9. He sounds amazing, Bish! No wonder you're so clever! :)

  10. He sounds like an amazing man! What a lovely tribute you've paid him.

  11. Fascinating. Sounds like you got a chance to know him as both a man and a father.

  12. What Vijaya said, which was actually what I was going to say, though perhaps not as eloquently. What an incredible mind your father had, and how wonderful that he had all those different talents. There are a lot of people who are incredible engineers or musicians or word smiths, but to have all of them in one is pretty unusual.


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