My father could command a room, entertain a table of friends. But also, he was a private person: sometimes quiet, always considerate of others.
He had an interest in, and an aptitude for, many things: science, agriculture, language, music. What fueled his days was a keen interest in the world around him, a hyperactive drive not only to understand things, but to create things.
Not only a chemist, an inventor. Not only a gardener, a master of heirloom tomatoes. Not only a husband, a true partner. Not only a father, a figure of influence and inspiration.
I remember Easter egg hunts based on riddles, each egg containing a word puzzle leading to the next hiding place, each riddle more complex than the next. He taught me everything about playing pool when I was 12. When I was a teenager, a time when many children are pulling away from their parents, my house was a gathering place for my friends. My father made everyone feel welcome, and he would engage my friends in lengthy conversations and late-night scrabble games. He took me to use the equipment in the labs at his work for my school science experiments. Undoubtedly, my investigations were elementary to him, but he knew what was important was the expereince: the process, the time spent, the energy exerted, the thinking and the doing, not the end result.
I have with me not only these memories, but what my father has given me: a deep investigative, yet compassionate, interest in the world.
Some of us may think, at times, that he was considerate to a fault. But, who can fault he who only wants to present others with excellence, aptitude, and consideration?
We will remember him at his best.
We will experience fully, look deeply, and create all that we can for ourselves and those whom we love.