Sunday, June 19, 2011

Special Fathers

It's Father's Day morning and I can't help but think of some of the wonderful fathers who have been and still are a tremendous part of my life.

This is my father's father, Thomas Howard Claunch. My dad and brother are named after him and while they go by Tom and Thomas, respectively, he went by Howard to most and Granddaddy or Granddaddy T to us. He was from Arkansas and if I remember the story right went to to college with Bear Bryant. He was a colonel in the Army and got a graduate degree from Harvard. What a great man he was. I can picture him reclining in his big chair eating cornbread mushed up in buttermilk. I recently asked my dad if he liked that and he said, "no!" He loved my grandmother so much and she was extremely devoted to him. She was only 62 when he died at the age of 70 but never took off her rings and never had a thought of dating or remarrying. Theirs was a real sweet love story.

This is my mother's daddy, George Ewen. He was a kind, gentle and humble man who raised five kids on a farm in Oklahoma. Although they didn't have much he did all he could to provide for the family and his children. My mother still has the accordion he bought her so she could take lessons and she knows now what a sacrifice it must have been to pay for all that. She tells a story of him hitching up their horse and buggy during a terrible snow storm to take her sister to school so she could keep her perfect attendance record. He loved to play chess with my brother and me when we were there in the summer time. He always had on overalls and I somehow ended up with a pair of his after he died. I will always treasure them and the memories of visiting Grandma and Grandpa on the farm in Oklahoma.

This is my new granddad, John Joubert. I inherited him when my dad married June, he's her dad. He and Benita, or Papa and Mama as we are calling them, visited us this past year and spent Christmas with us in KY. He's a sweet and special man and I am so thankful to have him in my life.

This is Paul's dad, Joseph Matte. I think he looks kind of like Ray Romano in this picture and what's cute is that Paul's mom was a big fan of Everybody Loves Raymond. I never met him as he died on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 61 when Paul was only 25. He worked hard as a tug boat captain off shore to support his five sons and three daughters often being gone for weeks at a time. Paul said he loved to read and worked on guns for a hobby. I'm sure he was a good man to have raised 8 responsible, hard working children.

This is my mother's husband, Lothar Zell. He was born and raised in Germany which was neat because my mother's side of the family is German. Lothar and Mother were engaged a month and a day after meeting. They got married a few months later and that was 16 years ago. Lothar is a wonderful husband to my mother and still to this day gets her door getting in and out of the car every time. I love that! He takes great care of her and for that my brother and I will always be grateful. Lothar is an engineer and very smart! He's an inventor (check out this great item he has patented and is selling) and always gets things done in a timely manner. My favorite story about this was one day in April when we were in Montgomery heading to the zoo he wanted to stop by a printer to pick up some flyers for a show they would be doing. He needed to get that taken care of right then, no messing around. Guess when the show was? November! He's great with Mallory and Michael going to kiddie movies and helping them fix toys.

This of course is my wonderful father, Tom Claunch. I could write a book on the great things he has taught me in my life but this is getting really long! He's always been so supportive of my brother and me in everything we have attempted to do. He is super intelligent, a big reader, funny and fun and just an all around wonderful daddy!!! He gave Bud and me a love for travel at an early age and we have had the benefits of that ever since. He raised us in the church and taught us the importance of family and God. He just had his 40th birthday of being sober and we are soooooooo proud of him and the work he does helping people with addictive diseases. We love our dad. He's a terrific granddad too and the kids are crazy about him. We miss him being so far away in New Zealand but always look forward to his visits.

Now look at this sweet daddy. My kids' daddy is such a wonderful father. I am so thankful for him and the relationship he has with our children. Here he is comforting Michael after he got hit with a soccer ball and in the picture below he is...well, the expression on his face says it all!! Thank you Lord for blessing me with this man who is a great husband and an awesome father to our kids!!!

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