My Dad – What I remembered right after he died

Posted: August 11, 2012 by Keith Townsend in Lessons from dad

I wrote this a few days after my dad passed away.

My dad has given me some really bad advice in the past. I mean some stuff for the books. If I were to tell my kids some of the stuff that he had advised me to do they’d look at me as if I was crazy. He wasn’t perfect. I can ramble down a list of ways he has permanently damaged me psychology. But, I’m scared to think of the man I would be without his examples, guidance, support and love.

That’s what I’m most grateful about. He took the time to really listen to my dreams and problems. I remember having him cornered for hours talking to him about computers when no one else would listen. My dad had a GED and knew absolutely nothing about computers. But he would sit there and listen to me go on and on about the latest program I wrote and how I solved an infinite loop problem or some broken if then logic…Exactly

I have three kids and a grand baby now and I’m amazed at how he took the time to get to really know each one of his sons.

I remember how physically tough and strong of a man he was. Standing at 6’8” 285 pounds he could bench press a rear wheel transmission in the air while I and my brother tightened the housing bolts. I remember when he would work on cars in the alley on the side after putting in 50/60 hours at work. One day he had me and my brother helping him and it was something like 15 or 20 degrees out. After a half hour I was ready to go in the house and warm up. He would just give me this look that I didn’t understand until I tried to teach my sons the importance of pushing through.
On one particular day that we didn’t have food for dinner, he also didn’t have enough money for gas for our car so he lead us on our bikes to go over our granny’s house 6 miles away to get a single chicken to bring home for dinner.

A couple of weeks after getting one of his legs cut off later we were all standing around in the alley and my youngest son looks over and says, “Mr. G’s leg grew back!” He learned to walk on a prostatic leg in like 1 day. A year or two later they took the other leg and he had another prostatic and walked for a few more years.

I remember this same man that used to tell me “Your body may give out but don’t you ever give up” body being wrecked with pain wanting to give up. It scared me to think what he was going through. He had so much wrong with him physically we couldn’t even get insurance to try and cover eventual burial expenses. Things just weren’t looking good. That was over 4 years ago. He lived with diabetes for over 25 years, HIV for 18 years and kidney failure.

That’s my dad and I’m proud of him warts and all and most importantly that’s the elk from which me and my brothers are cut. Life will continue to knock us down but we are Wilbert Gatheright’s sons and you will know that we were here.

Your job is done now dad rest in peace. I love you and thank you more than you will ever know.

Originally posted on Facebook 05/29/09

  1. Melissa Townsend says:

    Melissa Townsend says : August 11, 2012 at 8:59 pm
    Your dad was truly a man you didn’t want to cross path with, I can remember times when we didn’t see eye to eye on different subject. And I want my boyfriend at that time to stand by my side. Your words would be,” are you crazy lady you see my father”. He would be truly missed by those who knew him as MR. G

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