11.21.2008

A life well lived


In my last post, I dedicated my rant to John. John Strahle was my father-in-law, and he left this world Tuesday. Why would I dedicate such a rant to him?
Besides being a husband, father and grandfather he dedicated a large portion of his life to protecting the resources so many take for granted. A Korean war veteran, former fish and game officer, he ended up as a career agent for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Not the folks most of us deal with. He was an active investigator. The kind most folks do not encounter. Protecting the migrating whales from do-gooding green peace activists. Busting the folks trying to smuggle illegal and unsafe ocean species into an unsuspecting American marketplace.
That was his professional life.
I knew him as "Jack". A man who loved the life up here. A man whose name I could mention in several areas of the country and hit an accord with another agent. You see in my previous life, the agency I worked with interacted with the NMFS on a regular basis. We would fly them around and count on their expertise to recognize a vessel that broke the fisheries laws of our nation. Almost every time we hauled an agent, I could mention my father-in -law and the agent on board would know him, or know of him.
That was our professional overlap. In my personal life, John ended up in a place I never imagined would happen. I know that he had his misgivings when his baby daughter told him of her plans to marry a young Coastie. He gave me fair measure and trusted his baby girls judgement. Now, as a father of three girls married, I understand how difficult that can be.
Sixteen years ago and three years into our marriage, my father passed on. Over time John became the closest thing I had to a father. Many miles separated us, but our visits together were priceless. The conversations on the phone often helped me over the inevitable bumps in the road life provides.
I met you when I was sure that I was a grown man. I learned that I still had a fair amount of growing to do. Now, I still realize that I am not fully grown. I learned from you, that each stage in our lives teaches us more, and therefore we are forever growing. Thank you for that.
Thank you for your daughter; that I married. She is a blessing in my life. Our children are a blessing threefold.
Rest well, my friend you have earned it. You never met my father, or my first son. I hope they are there to greet you on your new journey. I will see you again.
Good night John, Dave S., Robin,Dave B. Dwayne, Tom, Tim, Dad, & Cory.
Peace Ya'll