Friday, October 20, 2006

Glenn Joseph Kailholz July 11, 1938-October 19, 2004

Okay, I'm ready.
Warning: I'm on some serious cold medicine...this may or may not make sense)

Dad was born on July 11, 1938 to my grandparents Oscar and Ruth Kailholz. He was the middle child in a family of five kids.
They lived on a working farm in Western Hills, a suburb of Cincinnati. Nowadays, it's all shopping plazas and pizza joints and medical buildings, but in 1938, it was small and intimate and pretty rural.
The farm had pigs, cows, my grandfather's homing pigeons and crops like corn and veggies.
My dad had chores to do before school every day. He only wore shoes during the school year, and would be barefoot all summer (best to save money for shoes during school time).
What they had, they worked for. What they didn't have, they did without.
Dad went to West High, but didn't graduate. He got a GED at night school, before joining the Army. He was stationed in Korea right after the Korean War, and just before the Vietnam War. He had a photo album of photos he took and developed while stationed there (he wanted to be a photographer). He made the mistake of telling my brother and me that to get out of unpleasant duty, he would go get a haircut for a quarter. (We used that against him more than once!)

He met Mom (Alice Eileen Vieth) around 1964, but they didn't get married until 1969, 6 months before my brother Steve was born. Ahem.

They lived in Western Hills until Steve was one, then moved to Bright, Indiana. They welcomed me into the family in 1973.

Dad worked his way up at an industrial heating/cooling company until he eventually owned it with a partner. His work ethic: Get it done right. Work hard.

My Dad vowed, after my Mom and he got married, that he would never dance again. I got him to break that promise twice. Once, at the wedding of a friend, while I was still small enough to stand on his shoes, and again at my wedding. We danced to a song called "My Daughter's a Bride".
He was the kind of father who could fix anything and he passed down to me mechanical know-how and the genes to let my brain understand machines, engines. He once saved a family of mourning doves who had been blown out of a tree and made them a new nest from a milk jug. He said that he didn't like cats, but we would catch him talking to and playing with my cats early in the morning when he thought we were all still asleep.

In September 2004, he was diagnosed with leukemia. It was discovered after his blood sugar got out of control (he was a Type II diabetic).
He began chemo in early October.
A month later, he was gone.

Turns out that he had had a mild heart attack in the remote past, which was found as he was getting worked up for the chemo. As far as we can gather, he chose not to deal with any heart issues before starting the chemo, and the doctor respected his wishes, but thought that Dad would make it through the chemo okay.
The night he died, Mom took him to the ER after he started a high fever and didn't feel right. The hospital told Mom to go home and come back in the morning. Just as she was drifting off to sleep, they called and told her to come back immediately.
He was in cardiac trouble when she got there with my brother, and she called me and told me to come right away. This was at 2:20 am. I was out of the house in 3 minutes. Dad died while I was driving to the hospital. At 2:25 am.

I went in to say goodbye, kissed him on the forehead.

I've gone through all the stages of grief, like denial, anger, sorrow...but I am still pissed.
He was 66 years old. Not nearly enough time for us, for him.


Jim said...

He was a very nice man, who has a very nice daughter, that he was and is very proud of.
And it doesn't take a swami to know that.


beckperson said...

For Christ's sake, I just posted two of the most FAB-U-LOUS comments imaginable about your Dad, my memories of him....and the fact that today would have been my Mother's 76th birthday.

Unfortunately, Blogger ATE both of them. It's too bad, really, but you'll have to wait for another time....

jetison said...


You post caught me by surprise. I had forgotten that this was the anniversary of your dad's passing. My eyes are wet reading your post as I remember so many good times with him. My first introduction was right after I met Cathy and I was on the 'New Boyfriend Intro Tour' it was a day at your house and a big cookout and of course your dad showing off [in a very humble and proud way] all his skills - most enlightening to me was the whole sausage making process. I was always in awe of him and I must admit a bit intimidated because, to use one of your mom's terms, I'm not "toolie". Translation: I suck at most things beyond a minimum mechanical level. One of the greatest things anyone ever told me I think was the last time I saw all of you. I mentioned something to Glenn about being or feeling inadequate in things mechanical and he said "We all have our talents". I can never forget that ! Getting that validation from someone I had such respect for means SO much ! You were lucky to have been so close to such a great man !

Reading your words also reminded me of how similar our experiences are. I lost my dad suddenly to cardiac problems at age 66 as well, and the late ride home and early ride back to the hospital were exactly the same - it was hard to accept and still is sometimes - I was only 25 - too young for both of us.

On to lighter fare... I have enclosed a link below of a slide show I put together a few years ago you may not have seen. these pictures always bring back good memories. There are funny stories attached to the title "Mouth of the Licking" and "Sausage Fest" [which is a side reference to a nickname I got when we were traveling to see Tony Beckman for the last time]. I'll have to blog them perhaps - but your mom was in on all of the inside jokes there too [big surprise right?]. I'll have to send you a CD of the pics.

bob steffen

Dave said...

I would have liked to have met him.

jemkagily said...

Beautifully written, Susan. Your love and pride are clear in every line. I'm so sorry that you didn't have the chance to say goodbye but I'm sure he knows.... How sad that your girls didn't get to have time with him.

NatureWoman said...

Thank you for sharing your Dad with us Susan. I have big tears in my eyes from reading your words of love. 66 is way too young - I can't blame you for being pissed. Your Dad and my Mom were born 14 days apart (June 28th for Mom) - so yes, it is w-a-y too young. Life is way too short, and the whole death thing sucks big time.

beckperson said...

OK, here's what I tried to post last night.

My earliest memory of your Dad was meeting him when I was around ten years old. He had just met your Mom and was coming over for a visit to our house in the dead of a bitterly cold winter. He entered the front door, a giant of a man, with no coat and a short-sleeved shirt! Impressive? For sure...he seemed to ooze warmth and action. Since he was the boyfriend of our favorite aunt, we needed to give him the seal of approval, and he got it...quickly!

Glenn also stood out like a sore thumb in the 60's...the only man I knew who still sported a crew cut! Even my dad let his hair grow out, but not Glenn. He was beyond cool. He sure didn't need to be just like anyone else, and wore that as a badge of honor in his own modest way.

Another note...October 19 was my Mom's birthday (as I mentioned before) and as the years go by you tend to focus on that day rather than the deathday. You may find that happens to you as well, and will give you peace and comfort when you remember your sweet Dad.

-llm. said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father. He sounds like an amazing man and it's clear you and he shared a lot of love. Makes me all misty to read it!

Beth said...

What a nice post. Your dad was a good man. I know how it feels to lose your father much too soon.

Mary said...

Susan, I hope composing your post lifted some weight from your heavy heart! Don't you think he is proud of who you are and what you do at this very moment? Life is sometimes too short, I know...

Michelle said...

Daddy's are very special people. Thanks for sharing yours with us.

Anonymous said...

It will be 3 years in March since my Dad died. He never got to see my Hasty Brook. He would have loved it. I think of him and miss him every day.

I really enjoyed hearing about your Dad. It sounds like alot of him lives in you! said...

How well you described your Dad. He was such a nice man.
Mary Lou

LauraHinNJ said...

Hugs, Susan.

Love the pic of your dad in his recliner... what is it with dads and their chairs?

Shannon said...

Susan - what a great post about your Dad. Lots of great memories, and he loves you very much!!