Friday, September 19, 2014

In Loving Memory ...

My Dear Dad
John Frederick Mumm
November 21, 1923
March 17, 2014

It's been six months since my father died and I still have a really hard time writing this little tribute. In June, I quit my job to take on the task of giving away all of his medical equipment, cleaning out the closet, and sorting through over 20 boxes of files, papers and books that we moved to our house when my Dad moved here in August of 2010.

Going through the boxes, I uncovered incredible family photographs, newspaper clippings, decades of canceled checks and receipts ... as well as his notebooks from years of work as a mechanical/nuclear engineer. It really gave me perspective on just what a fabulous man ... a man of faith, courage and integrity ... a loving husband and a wonderful father he was. He was so intelligent ... and yet humble and kind. He was always patient and thoughtful. It's interesting to look at all his accomplishments ... from being a decorated veteran of World War II ... to working on the first nuclear-powered submarine (the Nautilus) ... to designing power plants ... and all the while, he found the time to take my Mom and all five of us children on picnics to the Peaks of Otter in the fall, to Isaac Walton Lake in the summer ... to museum tours and walks around Monticello and Appomattox (he loved history and was especially fascinated by the Civil War period). He was never too busy for us.

At first, it was so completely devastating to throw all of this -- a lifetime of work -- away, but lack of space made it a necessity. Just this week, three months after I started this major clean-out project, I realized, my father's life is not defined by papers and tangible "stuff." None of that defines any of us. The richness of who we are is what we do with our lives and how we affect others. I am so blessed to have had my Mom and my Dad.

Eating his favorite: A banana split!

Christmas morning 2013

Receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross

I found this "creed," attributed to Edgar A. Guest, in one of my father's notebooks. He certainly lived by it.
My Dad on his 90th birthday with my husband, brother and sister.
My Mom and Dad on their wedding day: February 7, 1948. They're now together forever.