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My Grandpa was a kind man. Beneath his sometimes gruff and grumpy exterior when I was a kid, this was the man who would feed stray kittens outside the farmhouse, quietly sneaking out there with a small saucer of milk and talking to them. He taught me about the many types of birds just beyond the screened-in porch, their calls, their habits, and what he liked about them.He would worry about me as I got older and lived alone, asking me if I kept my gun handy, and if I was safe. We wrote letters for years, hand-written, old fashioned letters that make you smile when you see them in the pile of ordinary mail. I still have every one of them.

My Grandpa was a honest man. He was never anything but straight forward with you. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. He kept promises, even if it was just a promise to my 9-year-old self and my cousin to take us to get ice cream in town the next day.

My Grandpa was a hardworking man. I believe farming is one of the toughest professions there is. And he tirelessly worked in the hot Indiana sun, with heavy, dangerous equipment, through drought and flood, to support his family. And while some farmers ruined the soil and the land that bore them so much, Grandpa used farming methods that helped preserve the soil; working with and watching Mother Nature to learn how she would best recover.

My Grandpa was an intelligent man. Not only did he know all there was to know about farming, he would say some of the most profound things when discussing the U.S. government. He would listen to you talk about any subject and ask you questions about it and want to learn more about it. He shared his opinions but didn’t push them on anyone. He read the newspaper and watched the news and wanted to talk about current events.

My Grandpa was a loyal man. Loyal and loving to my Grandma; old pictures show him looking at her and smiling when she didn’t know it. Loyal to our country as he signed up willingly with the U.S. Army the day after Pearl Harbour was bombed. He spent hellish days in Papua New Guinea during the war, repairing planes and learning of death after death of his friends when their planes went down.

My Grandpa was a stubborn man. He didn’t do anything he didn’t want to do, if he could help it. Right up until the end he was stubborn. Since he was ready to go and miserable in this life, he did what he could to show God he was ready to go. And it worked. God listened and let him fly away.

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