I received some sad news on Tuesday evening: my uncle Walter passed away. He was younger than my dad, older than my other uncle Dave, and he simply did not wake up on Tuesday morning. It is believed he suffered a heart attack while sleeping.
I am finding it strange and difficult to fathom that he is gone. As he lived out of state I rarely saw him, but when I did his kindness and enthusiasm was always evident, and the ever-present joy in his eyes when he spent time with his brothers was touching and infectious. I spoke with him last fall, after my father’s successful rotator cuff surgery, and the happiness in speaking to his baby niece was touching to me. It is unreal to me that he is gone; it seems, this cannot be so.
My uncle loved women. He really loved women, and could pick them well. He had been married four times, to the best of our knowledge. He had six children, sadly one of whom died in 2002. His ex-wives remained close to him; they may have disliked living with him, but nevertheless retained a place in their hearts for him. Once when he had sold his house and had not completed the purchase of his new home, one of the exes offered him the guest room (which he gladly accepted).
Uncle Walt loved cars. He and his brothers talked for hours about the latest models from Hotrod and Car and Driver. At various times during his life he owned a Model A, a 1940 Ford, a Studebaker, and a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Though a sensitive and caring sort, he was a boy!
My uncle was a good father to his several children. When any needed advice, he was patient and compassionately drew upon his own life experiences. He encouraged them to pursue higher education, and to study the things that they love. So many parents encourage kids to go into a lucrative field; not uncle Walt. He wanted his children to cherish the life given to them, and to find some happiness and satisfaction in their work.
I spoke with a cousin this morning, the daughter of my last surviving uncle. She also shares these fond memories of a gentleman and father, the quintessential uncle who always saw us as little girls with no flaws.
He will be missed.