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1960s | Michigan
My mother passed away when I was eight. My father later dated a woman (Ms. S.) and was serious about her, wanted to marry.
She, my father, my older brother and I went to a movie together one evening. I looked young for my age and was 12 or 13 at the time. There was a discount for children under twelve.
When we went to the window for tickets Mrs. S. said, “three adults and one child.” I thought that was kind of clever and looked up at my dad. He looked at the cashier and said “No, four adults.”
It occurred to me he was willing to pay more money and let this woman he loved look a bit small for the sake of integrity. I may have misread intent, but this reflected all he taught me about how to live and the value of honesty and character. It reflected how I saw him lead his life.Charles Tomlinson
Ninety years ago, on February 17th 1922, a great man was born. He grew up poor, worked as a young man in the CCC’s, joined the army in January 1941. He served his country throughout World War II. During that time he met his future wife. Once out of the service he made use of the GI bill and earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He went to work for the IRS and rose steadily as an enforcement agent. A stressful job, a wreck in the early 60’s that damaged his heart (resulting later heart failure), a difficult challenge at home, and the loss of his wife in 1962 (after dealing with watching her suffer for years) he succumbed to heart failure in 1967. Now he has been gone from this world for as long as he was here. In death, after a very short time here, he provided for his children’s wellbeing and future more fully than many men do in a long life. Providing for all their material needs, planning for a home for them without him (should he die young), payment of all costs for their education through college (without their need to work a day if they so choose). He planned and saved, bought insurance and knew the government-funded Social Security, Civil Service Benefits and Veterans’ Benefits together would sustain the children along with a substantial cash inheritance at age 18. Cars, trips, tuition, parties; all paid for by him. Through finishing college, all financial needs were met. As the youngest child I took nine years and did so with relative abundance. I am so grateful to him; I love and miss him today as much as I did 45 years ago. Then I lost the man that set my standard for a life of integrity. So many lessons he gave. He did so just by my observing him through my 13 years with him. He lived honesty and honor, no matter the cost.
As the year ends, he is gone longer than his stay here. My father, the greatest man I have ever known.