By Eileen H. Creelman
I noticed early on that my family was a little different from my friend’s families. We were given exposure to a wide variety of experiences that others in Orange County were not…..spending time at the Fulllerton campaign office for Eugene McCarthy, marching against US involvement in the Vietnam War in front of Richard Nixon’s birthplace, having parents that volunteered time for the Fair Housing Authority and challenged the status quo. Granted it was both my parents that contributed to this education but this is about my Dad or as I called him, much to the chagrin of my sisters, Daddy.
My Dad was one of the smartest people I ever knew; I was fortunate to work with him at TRW and saw firsthand the respect others had for him. The values he demonstrated daily were I am sure rooted in his own childhood. He treated people as individuals, was always kind and willing to take the most complicated subject and break it down so the level of his audience without being condescending. I remember when a new dry cleaner store opened and the revolving rack that held the clothes jammed. The owners, Paul and Clara were immigrants from South Korea and, at that time, their English was very limited. Daddy didn’t think twice, he went home, got his tool box and fixed it. He was one of the early believers in paying it forward; he helped others without any expectation of pay back. He did things because it was the right thing to do!
He always demonstrated patience and, unlike many men of his generation, he spent time with his children. I can remember him spending hours in the pool with us when we were first learning to swim; I remember climbing on his shoulders and then him jumping off the diving board! He spent hours helping me with my homework and was always encouraging.
Years after I had moved out on my own, I found a letter he had written me when I was about 17. The subject was how I drove the car. He claimed I was heavy on the gas and did not properly shift the car which would eventually lead to a new clutch! I had a good laugh with him when the clutch on my first car lasted over 85,000 miles.
I loved my Dad and appreciate the guidance he provided to me. I was always so proud to have him as my father. I miss him.