Sabadosa: Readers pay tribute to their fathers
By Reggie Sabadosa Citizen Journalistemail@example.com June 14, 2013 8:46AM
Andrew Stypa Playing Violin in Paris during WWII | Supplied photo
Updated: July 17, 2013 6:13AM
Last year at this time, I dedicated my column to my dad — allowing me to honor his memory and to deliver a long overdue “thank you” for his being a devoted and caring father.
This year, I’ve invited my readers to share their reflections about their fathers on this Father’s Day. I was pleased with the enthusiastic response. Here is what several had to say:
Rebecca Hemminger told me, “Dick Tatina is still a great dad and now a wonderful grandfather to my daughter.” To celebrate Father’s Day, the family will be going out to eat and then will attend the Oak Brook Car Show, which has become their tradition.
Hemminger holds on to fond memories of her dad through the years, especially when she was a young girl.
“He taught me many things, from working on science fair projects, graphing and math problem solutions, to small maintenance on cars. My dad always had the answer and was my hero and still is!”
Cheryl Yates shared a humorous story about a Father’s Day in the early 1970s. Her mother had purchased steaks for Father’s Day dinner, and Yates and her sister, Sue Varner, were given the responsibility of preparing them on the grill. When the steaks were finally done, the girls accidently dropped the plate, and the steaks landed in the dirt!
“We did the only thing we could do — brush off the dirt and put them back on the grill for a few moments,” she said.
Their dad, Charles Frietsch, commented several times during the meal that the meat was “gritty,” but the girls didn’t come clean about the accident. Yates confesses, “To his dying day, I don’t think he ever knew the steak he ate that Father’s Day was dropped in the dirt!”
Jo Anne Messina lost her father, Walter Joe Timke, suddenly in 1967 at the age of 50. She always called him “Daddy.” Timke had been in a dangerous profession as a welder and often worked on bridges and high buildings. She says they have photos of him at work on the original Prudential Building.
Her most cherished memories of her father were of him kneeling with her and her three siblings at bedtime while saying their prayers and when he was dancing with their mom in the living room in the 1950s to Perry Como and Dean Martin’s love songs. That’s amore!
Maria Piech-Cotter is a recent newlywed, but she will forever be “Daddy’s Little Girl.” She has different names for David Piech — Dad, Padre (when she is being funny) and Daddykins (when she wants something really badly).
“My dad is an intelligent, hardworking man who always puts others before himself,” she said.”
Piech-Cotter recalls that he was a “stay-at-home dad” while in law school and her mom worked. A special memory is the Wednesday nights they stayed up past her bedtime to watch Star Trek together.
“I know that it may sound dorky, but those laughs we shared were some of the best I’ve had,” she said.
Dan Taylor-Stypa’s dad was Andrew Stypa, who died in 1986 and was a medic in World War II. Stypa, like many of his peers, chose not to talk about his war experience. Taylor-Stypa describes him as a “quiet, gentle and reserved man — many understood him by the concept of ‘still waters run deeply.’”
He said that as a medic, his father did not carry a gun during the war but his medic bag also contained a camera.
“He took many photos to document the war experience. He was involved with the American liberation of concentration camps in Buchenwald and Dachau, of which he has left photos that speak beyond words,” Taylor-Stypa said.
Enza Piech’s father is Carlo D’Amico (affectionately called Nonno) who is “such a caring man and full of life. He is funny at times, serious when needed and an overall blessing!”
She further described him as a man “who is proud of his Italian heritage, struggled to come to America, leaving his family behind — not knowing the language or having money in his pocket — to make a better life for himself.”
D’Amico came to the U.S. as a stowaway on a ship. He served in the Korean War and became an American citizen and a successful businessman. Piech said she couldn’t be prouder of him and his legacy. She said he’s known to say, “Do your best and be proud of who you are and where we came from.”
I would like to wish all fathers and father figures a most happy Father’s Day. May you experience the pride and joy of knowing how much you have shaped and formed the character of those lucky enough to call you “Dad.”