Last night my 97 year old Grandpa passed away. I just wanted to take to the time to share his story and the connection I had with him. He was a truly inspirational person to myself and my family. Born in October (just celebrated his 97th birthdays a few weeks ago), 1924 in Astoria. He was the son of an immigrant mother from Finland. He grew up during the depression which caused him to the most frugal person that I’ve known. He wanted to enlist in the Army but his family knew the recruiter and told him to wait to get drafted. Well he did get drafted at 18 to be an infantry soldier in the Army. He was sent to Europe and was in the Battle of the Bulge. He never liked to get into details but we always understood that he saw and went through a lot. While in Europe all four of his grandparents passed away. He also got frostbite on his feet from the war, along with various other health problems, but never complained. If it weren’t for the backloaded disability checks that he was proud of, most of us younger generation wouldn’t even know about the health complications he had. When he got out of the Army, he went to school at both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. He graduated from Oregon State with a double major in Electric Engineering and Physics. My timeline isn’t great but shortly after graduating he got a job as an water resources engineer at Pacific Power. Around that time he also met my grandmother. They started a family in the 50s and bought a house in Hillsboro when less than 10,000 people lived there. He lived in that house until his final day. They had three children, and my mom was the middle child. By the time I was born my mom and father were divorced and my mom had three children and nowhere to go. Because of my grandpa being frugal, despite having a very nice career, he and my grandma were able to help my mom buy a house. My mom was working a lot, so early on in my life we started a tradition that we would go to his house every Wednesday night for dinner. This tradition is something that I value so much. The only Wednesday’s I didn’t go was when I was living in Colombia and since the pandemic started. We watched every blazers game that was on Wednesday, and they play a lot on Wednesday haha. The time spent on those Wednesdays are invaluable. The time they took me to Washington DC for one his of military reunions. And instead of going home they took me to NYC to see the old Yankee stadium before they built the new one because they knew I was such a baseball fanatic. When I didn’t know what to do with my life, he offered to pay for my schooling and saved me from student loans. I guess I was spoiled by him but none of it was possible without everything that he sacrificed before me. I can only hope to be as important to someone as he was to me. About ten years ago he had a stroke that severely affected his verbal skills. Slowly, he started getting worse physically and beginning to fall more often. Sadly, the last couple of years were a struggle for him. He slowly lost his ability to verbalize his wants, ability to move, control his bowels. He kept fighting until the last possible minute. He went nearly a week sleeping without drinking or eating. We knew this moment would come eventually but it doesn’t make it easier. He is in a better place. I am happy he is no longer suffering. I can only be appreciative for all the sacrifices he made for the family and the country. I can only hope to be half the family man that he was.