Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Greetings from Vintage Vogue!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a bittersweet holiday for our family.  It's the first Thanksgiving without my Dad.

Monday, November 11, 2019

William Jerome Luffy: Husband - Father - Patriot

William Jerome Luffy
April 4, 1927 – August 22, 2019
Husband – Father – Patriot

When my father died in August, I couldn’t speak at his funeral even though I wanted to.  My two brothers, my son, my nephew, two nieces and two cousins spoke fondly and movingly of my father and what he meant in their lives.

During World War II, my father left school at 17 after his sophomore year and enlisted in the Navy with the consent of my grandparents.  After the service to his country was done, he returned home AND returned to high school, too.  He often said that those were the worst two years of his life—completing high school because his mother and my mother wanted him to. 

He rarely spoke of his time in the service.  Men of that generation didn’t.  Back in the time when men were men and boys were men, too, my father was an extraordinary man.  The plaque on my father’s barn wood urn says “Husband – Father – Patriot”.  He was all three. 

I was nearly 60 years old before I knew that my father’s name was on a war memorial back in his hometown.  It’s underneath his oldest sister’s name.  My Aunt Toot, Mary Lucille Crawford, was an Army nurse.  Several of my uncles are also listed on this memorial.

The eulogy given by my younger brother, Timothy S. Luffy (CDR, USN Ret.), at my father’s funeral on Sept. 11, 2019 tells you more about my father.

“My dad lived a long and full life and made many friends and acquaintances along the way.  We will all remember him in our own way depending how he impacted our lives in only the way he could.  I thought of how I would describe the life of my father and could not come up with just one way, so I have chosen to describe his life in a series of words, phrases, or stories...see if any of these would be how you would describe my dad and how you will remember him...

Son of John and Millie, born on a farm in Lower Burrell, PA; brother, twin brother in fact to Jack; little brother to his three sisters Toot, Mae, and Margie; big brother to Jim.

Son of a farmer...he probably milked more cows, slopped more hogs, fed more chickens, and baled more hay than I could ever imagine; great depression era kid who learned the value of a dollar and to never throw anything away as it may just come in handy at some point in the future (more on that later); learned to fix and repair things with his own hands; had countless hours of fun with his friends and brothers with whatever they had at hand...

United States Navy Sailor and World War II veteran; joined the Navy at 17 with his parent's permission after lying and trying to join the Navy at 16, boot camp at 18, served as a Seabee (naval construction battalion) for two years in the Pacific Theater on the islands of Guam, Tinian, and Saipan rebuilding infrastructure after the war.  Seabees mottos:  We Build, We Fight; Can Do; The difficult we do now, the impossible takes a little longer...seems like any one of these mottos could be use to describe my dad...

Mechanic for Ford Motor Company and worked on farm equipment throughout the area after returning from the Pacific...

Arizonan for the last 62 years...moved here from Pennsylvania in 1957 with my mom, Billy, and Janet in a loaded down car and a trailer with all their possessions and bicycles strapped to the tongue of the trailer...while not strictly speaking a "native" of Arizona, they built a life here in Scottsdale and then growing, and still growing Phoenix metropolis...

Construction worker, cement mixer driver, truck driver...he worked outside in the Arizona heat for 30 plus years, building ditches, driving a cement mixer all over town, and as a salesman and company coordinator on the job site getting mixers on the right job and in the right place at the right time.  Could drive anything...didn't matter how big, how many axles, or how many wheels, or how many trailers were attached...he just had that gift and deft touch...

Hunter and family grew up hunting and fishing all across the state from nearly border to border and from the desert to the mountains.  I think he liked trout fishing the best because it was generally in the mountains away from the heat of the Valley.

Endurance and long haul driver...recognizing the importance of family, I remember summer vacations as a two week odyssey from AZ to PA to visit grandparents and family with dad's endurance driving on either end...he would work all week (outside in the heat), load the car Friday afternoon, take a nap after dinner, get us up and loaded and on the road at midnight and we would wake up Saturday somewhere in Texas.  Drive all day Saturday until he was ready to pass out, get some rest that night, do it again Sunday until we got home to PA, usually less than 48 hours door to door.  Ten days later we would repeat the process going west to Arizona.  By the way, he did all the driving as I recall...the drivers in the 24 hour races of Daytona and Le Mans has nothing on dad...

Mechanic, fixer, handyman, builder...from his childhood on the farm, his service in the Seabees, and his days as a Ford mechanic, Dad could fix just about anything with the tools collected over the years and the things he never threw away, remember, he was a depression era kid, so everything was saved for the potential for future use.  If he could take it apart, he could probably fix it...I saw the inside of numerous appliances as a kid and was under the hood or literally under many of the cars we had when I was growing up. 

As a handyman and builder, he did it all, from storage rooms to storage sheds, from remodeling the house and moving walls and doors, and pouring untold yards of concrete to make walks and patios all around the house.  I believe his greatest work was the fireplace in our family room...he figured out how to build it, bought the materials, and set about knocking a 3 foot square hole in the wall, setting the foundation and firebox, building the hearth, brick front, and mantle on the inside and the flue and chimney on the outside.  Not the normal undertaking you see today but one that was normal for him...

Neighbor and friend...he, and my mom, would do anything for any neighbor that needed help at anytime...they both have a servant's heart which I define as doing something for others without the expectation of an act in return.  That's just the way my neighborhood was when I was growing up...all the kids were outside playing, the parents were outside also, and real relationships existed on our street.

Believer...founding member here at this church...he has left this earthly home and has been resurrected and is now in his heavenly home with his mom, dad, twin brother, sisters, and his extended family.  We here in this earthly home can be comforted by the fact that we, the believers that remain behind, will be united for eternity with dad when the Lord calls us, we'll be seeing you dad.

Every family has its own language, one where something is said by a member of the family and everyone else gets it and knows what it means.  Our family is no different and as the head of the family, dad has his own language are some of my favorite lines from dad...

Whip and spur; you don't have to be leading the charge, you just need to be in the charge (speeding tickets); Whoa Nelly (probably a few too many westerns there); I was born at night, but I wasn't born last night! (we usually got that one when we were trying to talk our way out of trouble); Are you still in love? (a favorite question for the grandkids while they were or are dating); If it was a snake, you'd be dead (for when we missed the obvious); Lock and load (meaning it was time to go and he was always the first one ready to go and yelling at the rest of us); Poke a nose, poke a eye (one of the routine sayings to the grandkids and great grandkids).

While Dad may have been many things to many people, he was first and foremost a husband, a father, and a family man...he was always there and always present.

Husband to Eilene, in fact, yesterday, the 9th of September, was their 69th wedding anniversary; they built a life and home together on a plot of land next to his father's farm...funniest and dad built this two room house but ran out of material to finish the final wall, so they tore down my grandfather's chicken coop, scraped off the chicken poop, and finished their little house...indicative of my mom and dad in doing what was needed to get the job done.  I suspect there are a few more stories like that one...

Their marriage was an example for my brother, sister, and me on how to make a marriage work and takes two in a marriage for it to flourish...was it perfect?  Of course marriage is perfect, but they loved each other, worked through the challenges, and loved us and showed it. In the end, mom and dad are at 69 years, Bill and Rosie are just shy of 45 years of marriage, Janet and Steve are at 30 years of marriage, and Elizabeth and I are at 34 years of marriage.

Mom and dad moved here to AZ and bought a house here in Scottsdale near the future site of Coronado High School, literally a mile and a half from here as the crow flies, where they raised three kids and still live today, 62 years later.

Father to Billy and Janet and Tim, my older brother and sister started in that little two room house in PA and I was born here in AZ...Dad was there and present for all of us growing up...from the school plays to football, baseball, basketball, and track sporting events to family vacations to hunting and fishing trips to tubing down the Verde River with the Wrights, one of my favorite things to do growing up.

As adults, mom and dad were there for us as we did adult things...buying our first car; moving into our own houses, whether across the Valley, across the state line to California, or in my case, across the country and to and from Hawaii several times; being there to help us get settled; being there for our weddings; and being there for the birth of their grandchildren, again, here in the Valley, in California, and in Hawaii, Washington, California and Virginia for my four children.  What I am trying to convey is that they supported us no matter what we asked of them or where we were; if you called and asked, they would be there no questions asked.

Grandfather to Chris, Jack, Shelby, Samantha, Kevin, Scott, Sean, and Sarah.  For the eight of you, please know that he loved you very much and had a role in raising you just as your parents did.  I know he is proud of the young men and women you have become.

Great grandfather to Krosby, Jensen, Campbell, and Sawyer.  You too are part of his legacy.

As you can see, my dad lived a long and full life; he was not afraid of hard work, he served his country, he took care of his neighbors and friends, and he led, loved, and provided for his family with all his heart.  His legacy will mean something a little different to each of us...go from this celebration today with your memory of my dad, the impact he has had on your life, and remember him fondly.”