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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Tribute to a Very Special Person

Last evening to commemorate the anniversary of my father-in-law's death, my wife and I toasted his memory with a Rusty Nail (equal parts of Scotch and Drambuie served over ice).  On special occasions, he would end the evening with a Rusty Nail, his drink of choice, so what better way to remember him.

My father-in-law, Donald Walter Totzke, (DW to me) died 15 years ago while vacationing on Cape Cod.  Both he and my mother- in-law would vacation at the Cape the week of Labor Day.  It just so happened that Hurricane Fran was in the Atlantic coming up the East Coast. Although it was a beautiful day on Cape Cod, the ocean was experiencing rip currents.  They were walking in knee deep water, the maximum water depth since my father-in- law had a fear of the water from when he was a young boy.  He witnessed a drowning of another boy as a child and was fearful of the water ever since.  The rip current swept both of my wife's parents out to sea.  A wave brought my mother in law back to safer waters.  There were two vacationing life guards on the beach who then swam out to save him, but it was too late.  He was brought to shore, CPR was initiated and continued as he was airlifted to the hospital.  He was pronounced dead on a beautiful afternoon at a Cape Cod hospital.

DW was everything that is right about America.  He was hard working, strong in his faith, a leader, charming, honest, intelligent, had Kennedy family good looks (although more Conservative in his political leanings), a WWII veteran and was always in great physical condition even at 70 when he died.  He loved his family and the holidays, especially Christmas; he appreciated good Scotch, fine wine, good food, sports, politics, art, woodworking, John Wayne movies, any Western and the list goes on.  He was someone to admire and respect.  He was truly a very special man who I tried to model both my personal and professional lives after.

 Here's to you DW, forever missed, but never forgotten.

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