Saturday, December 26, 2015

A sad holiday season

For anyone who knows me, I've never been a big fan of the holiday season.  It's taken on a bit more of a personal flavor this year with a pretty unhappy pair of losses over the last 2 months.

On Nov. 5th, my dad, Ken Converse, passed away.  He was 88.

He was a kind and gentle soul.  The youngest of 8 kids raised during the depression by only his mother, a widow, and the mean streets of Pipestone, S. Dakota.  He served in the Navy in WWII and was in the fleet that was present when Japan signed the surrender.  He met my mom while skating (he was, at the time, a bit like a skateboarder would be today in his youth) and asked her to marry him while working at a dairy where they both ended up at during the same period (he was, for a short time a milkman..yep, for reals).  That's not where his real interest lay though.  While in the Navy, he became an electrician's mate and, for most of his professional life, he was the equivalent of an un-degreed engineer everywhere he worked.  He spent most of his working life (30+ years) at IBM in various positions and lived a long and happy life with my Mom, Betty Converse, who's, thankfully, still with us and in reasonably good health.

A day before Christmas, my brother Craig died after a surgery that he hoped would end the pain and possibly help repair the damage done to his spinal cord in a car accident 9 years ago that made him a near quadriplegic.  He was 53.

Craig was a huge man, in both physical size and in the size of his heart.  At 6'6" and weighing in at 250-300lbs most of his life, it was hard to call him my "little" brother.  I did call him my less infinitely wise and younger brother as often as I could though, much to his (feigned) chagrin.  He was, like our dad, a gentle soul.  An architect by training, deep down, his real nature was that of an artist.  A very good one at that.  He spent the last several years of his professional life designing schools and involved with educational institutions before the accident.  His lovely wife Kate took excellent care of him until the end, making his life as good as it could be given the circumstances.   She will always be a part of our family.

I miss my Dad and my Brother, both, terribly.

Treasure your family and friends.  In the end, they're really all that matter.


Leona said...

Scott, Please accept our deep sympathy. I finally realized why you did not remember being at our house for cookies. Our son Scott was a close friend of your brother Craig and it was Craig who spent a lot of time at our house.
Scott called us yesterday to tell us of Craig's death and that was how I finally made the correct connection.
Scott lives in Palacios, Texas. We just returned from there. His wife just received her Electrical Engineering degree and we were there to celebrate.
Again, we will have you in our thoughts and prayers. Fifty-three is much too young and I know there is a ache in your heart. Leona

Jill Ferrin Bailey said...

Scott, your in my prayers. I have been dead five times and know the peace that comes but know the pain of losing someone you love. If you need a friend I am still here

K. Lyn Wurth said...

So sorry for your losses, Scott. My dad, also a career IBMer, died in November 2004. Seems like yesterday. Peace.
From Kelly (Jennings) Wurth, LHS '77

Leona said...

Scott, is this really happening? So very sorry to here of your brothers death. Please accept our sincere sympathy to your mother and brothers.

Scott Converse said...

Leona, Yes... it's happening. 2 brothers gone within a month of each other and both under 55. Half of my immediate family (Dad, Craig and now Brian) in the last 90 days. Honestly, I don't even have words at this point.

Scott King said...

Hi Scott, my name is Scott King and was friends with Craig in the Navy when he was on the Uss Emory S. Land. It saddened me greatly to hear of him passing. He was the very definition of a gentle giant. Some of my memories of Craig: I guess he had a nickname in high school, Tonga, fit him perfectly. We would spend a night on the town and return to the ship a little lot. When we got to the end of the pier, we would both get into a football three point stance and race down the pier. He was a good friend, really he was a much better friend to me than I could ever be to him. The world lost a gem.

An excellent read from an ex-evangelical.

  As you know, I once was an evangelical megachurch pastor and my pastoral career stretched over many years. Eventually, I could no longer t...