Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Richard M. Williams 1923-2010

One week ago today my dad died. He had been in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks with a blood clot in what was left of one of his lungs. He had emphysema for many years and in the past 5 or so had been on oxygen and slowed down progressively until he could no longer walk a few steps without being out of breath. It was difficult to watch. My father had always been what you'd describe as robust, a big strong guy, a man's man who seemed capable of anything. "Was he a smoker?" everyone asks. Yes, but he had quit at age 42 when my youngest brother was born in 1965. Unfortunately, he had grown up with a smoking father, worked for many years in a smoke filled office...the damage was done. My mom called me and my older brother the day my dad passed, I'm grateful I was at his side when he left us. My dad was a good man, a truly kind man who gave us all a great life, he showed us love and support in everything we attempted. He always wanted to be an artist, he went to the Chicago Art Institute on the GI Bill after WWII to study what was then called commercial art. It was not in the cards for him, he left to make money first working selling Studebakers, then refridgerators, eventually becoming a union man, championing worker's rights for 28 years.

This Saturday my husband and I will be driving our oldest Ivy up to Oregon to PNCA, where she'll study illustration. I can't help but think she's finishing something my father had started more than 50 years ago. She found this old drawing in a drawer that my father did, he was always doodling, we all had to laugh, seeing the similarities that flow from each of us father to daughter to granddaughter.

On the top is a picture of my dad Richard Williams and my daughter Ivy about 15 years ago. I miss you Dad.