What kind of man spends his entire life serving others? Being kind and generous, true and loving? What kind of man is hardworking, resourceful, and an ahead-of-his-time thinker? Steadfast and persistent? With the patience of Job? What kind of man assigns himself the “on-call” work duties for every Thanksgiving and Christmas so his team can be with their families? What kind of man exudes tirelessness, delightful humor, and vivid imagination to fill his children’s lives with glee and exceptional experiences, while encouraging them to strive to be their very best? What kind of man is loyal to his high school sweetheart and best friend for more than 70 years? And near the end merely wishes for more time together? What kind of man walks the walk as a superbly encouraging and supportive father, uncle, and grandfather? Active in his church and community and neighborhood? Both a great listener and a terrific teacher, leading by example?
It’s the kind of man we all dream about as a partner, father, friend or relative. He listens. He is humble and humorous. He is kind. He is strong. It’s the very special kind of man I have been privileged to call Poppy.
My Dad, Robert Burnham, survived two previous cancers, only to be diagnosed this past winter with pancreatic cancer. His successful surgery this spring, inspired great hope, but infections have been challenging, and he has endured 2 returns to the hospital. This past week was the toughest. All seemed well as he enjoyed dinner in the dining room on Tuesday, but Wednesday, he was back to the hospital. Pneumonia had settled in his lungs. By Friday night at 9pm, they moved my Poppy into hospice. He passed peacefully in his sleep Saturday afternoon at 1:30. There’s one more angel in heaven.
That’s the kind of man my dear Poppy was. An angel on earth. His spirit will always live with all of us who knew him. Prayers please for my Mom, for at age 88, though healthy physically, she has now lost the love of her life.
God speed, my dearest Poppy.
Robert Bishop Burnham, November 2, 1931 – October 6, 2018