My father was a caring and devoted man to his family and friends. He was one of thirteen brothers and sisters with many memorable stories to share about growing up in such a large family. He married his wife of 42 1/2 years on November 10, 1960. He raised four children of his own, also another boy that we called our little brother, and he raised a granddaughter since the age of two. He put in 32 years of service for the Illinois Department of Transportation before retiring in 2001. He was awarded an honorary lifetime member of the McLean Fire Department. He has 11 grandchildren, that miss him dearly. His illness progressed rapidly in the last few months of his life and losing a daughter on September 18, 2003 got the best of him. He never knew a stranger, and would do anything that he was capable of for anyone. The one thing that I am grateful for is the Hospice service that kept this beautiful person from suffering during his time of need. His favorite hobbies included gardening and watching the Nascar races on tv. When he could no longer garden we would take the responsibility on for him but he would tell us how to do it. During the Nascar races, he had a weekly bet with his 9 yr. old grandson, that he would have to pay Papa a quarter if Earnhardt Jr. finished before Gordon and vice versa. It was very heart breaking to see a wonderful man so young in years be so ill, and not be able to enjoy even his first year of retirement. He couldnt do the things that he wanted to do with his grandchildren and it tore him up. I cherish every moment that I got to help care for my father, and be by his side to remind him on a daily basis how much I loved him, and to be there to hold his hand and comfort him on the night of his passing. He is my angel, and he day will come when we are together again.
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