Dad’s gone, but his memory lives on

It’s later in the evening as I write this. I made it through what could have been a tough day, but I had my Special Education students and my coworkers to keep me occupied. Only now, with one of my wonderful sons, his wife and their daughter in the other room and no one else around, do I have time to reflect on the fact that on this date, 16 years ago (1998), Peter M. Lamberts, the most wonderful father this lad could have had, passed away at the age of 88. Oh my gosh, yes, I miss him so. On my parents’ wedding anniversary, Aug. 20, 1998, I was in the Netherlands, traveling with the Hope College men’s basketball team on their 11-day trip around “the old country.” I stayed up until 2 in the morning to wish mom and dad a happy anniversary, not knowing at the time it would be their last anniversary together. At dad’s funeral, I mentioned to my sister, Joan, who has since joined mom and dad in the heavenly choir, that I felt bad not being back home to be part of the anniversary party. Joan looked me in the eye and said, simply: “Don’t ever say that again. Your father was quite proud of the fact he could tell people his son was ‘in Europe, on business.'” That was dad, always putting the importance of others ahead of himself. He did that when he birthed the City of Kentwood back in 1967 and served as its first Mayor until 1979. Then he retired and lived a relaxing life with his wife, my mom — Sue, who died in 2013 just three weeks shy of 100 years. I have tried to model myself in that same way. I hope I have succeeded. And I hope I can live as long … and prosper. I love you, dad.

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