The Story of My First Eighty-Four Years
-- Epilogue --
How much we treasure the history my father left us of his life and of our ancestral background on the Tobiassen-Twito side. He died April 26, 1968 -- slightly less than a year and four months after he had finished writing his autobiography.
He had been recovering from a bout with the flu but on that morning he told mother he felt fine except he had no energy. About noon he called mother to come in and fix lunch. She was out cleaning up the flower beds and enjoying the early signs of spring. Dad had set the table and told mother he was going to lie down and rest until lunch was ready. When she called him about 20 minutes later and there was no answer, she went in to rouse him. He appeared to be asleep on his side with both hands tucked under his cheek but patting him on the cheek still didn't bring a response. In his sleep he had quietly slipped from us to be with his Maker, dying peacefully as he had lived his entire life. Mother had called their doctor immediately and then me. Dr. Chesley was already there comforting her when I arrived.
Can it be true that our spirit is sometimes sensitive to that of someone who is especially close to us? Dad was my Rock of Gibraltor and I couldn't have loved him more. The morning of April 26th those I worked with had called me to join them for cookies and coffee. When I said I'd pass on it, this was so unusual for me that several came in to see what was wrong. Nothing - except I had suddenly become terribly depressed and nervous and started weeping. I have never experienced anything like this before or since, and I can't help but think there had been some kind of communication between my father and me. It was shortly after this that mother's call came in to the office.
My father was a wonderful influence on my children's lives. He gave all of us a keen desire to read and learn, to strive to do our very best at whatever we tried. Above all, he taught us to be honest, have compassion for others, love God and be good citizens.
During World War II Patty lived in Draper several times. Grandpa's lap welcomed a little one to read to and tell stories to again. When my parents later moved to Bloomington, she spent much time with them.
Now in 1996, she is within 2,000 miles of completing a solo sailing voyage around the world. She credits some of her adventurous spirit to her grandmother who ventured out to western South Dakota to homestead in the early 1900's. Pat also recalls her fantasies of "exploring exotic and foreign places" as she scouted through the woods by Sugar Creek at her grandparents' in Bloomington.Editors note: Pat Henry finished her voyage in 1997, and became the first American Woman to sail solo around the world. This links to Pat Henry
Having moved to Bloomington when "Toby" was only one year old, dad provided an excellent role model for his grandson. He kindled his interest in wood carving, making something from spare parts, identifying rocks, getting acquainted with the National Geographic, an interest in South Dakota and in printing. Dad had published The Draper Tribune for a number of years. Now Stu owns a commercial printing business and often recalls stories his grandfather told him about early days in the field of printing. I see many characteristics in Stu that reflect my father.
Dad thoroughly enjoyed playing with his two great grandchildren, Tamara and Teresa. They too loved going to "Grandpa and Grandma T's" -- cookouts at the brick fireplace back by Sugar Creek, swinging in Grandpa T's hammock, playing games and being read to.
After my father's death, Stu and Karen provided three more great granddaughters -- Angela, Jennifer and Elizabeth Nicole "Nikki".
And now the family tree has leafed out with another generation, five great great grandchildren -- Tamara's Shawn (finally, a boy after five great granddaughters!) and Kira; Angela's Arika; Jennifer's Alexandria; and Teresa's Alissa (four great great granddaughters).
My parents left their family a rich heritage. The influence they had on me and my children and the good example and love they showed us all will hopefully continue to trickle down to the generations that follow.
This Epilogue was written by Aileen (Tobiassen) Stuber in 1996.
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