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Old 08-15-2012, 10:34 PM
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sirstopher sirstopher is offline
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Location: Ok.
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“1979 my father was losing the use of his legs and was complaining about how the bottoms of his feet were feeling. I remember him going to Dallas for treatments. He would come home from Dallas and Houston and would spend weeks in the bed trying to recover from the doctors” exploratory treatments. Despite the medical problems, 1979 was again another great year of sailing for my dad. He won the 1979 Mini Ton North American in Marina Del Ray, and again in 1980 in Annapolis. At this point the Mini-Ton association was becoming very strong and my father was invited to the World Championships in Scotland.

By this time my dad had taken a turn for the worse and was now walking with a cane. I remember him taking us all to Hawaii for Christmas in 1979. By the time we all got back he now had to use crutches, and he decided to let the crew of the boat take her to Scotland.

In 1980 the crew had won the World Championship. Dad seemed like he was on top of the world, but he was stricken with the MS. At this point in our lives things started to change. The expensive cars and houses were being sold to pay for medical bills. The boats were all sold, and the cabin at the lake was also sold. I have fond memories of Grand Lake; I also remember my oldest brother taking my father over his shoulder and having to carry him down the catwalk to the dock with Max, our English bulldog, sitting on the beach eating rocks.

My father was a fighter and wouldn’t let the Multiple Sclerosis keep him down. He was a fine arts major from the University of Tulsa and had learned to use a head mouse so he could paint on the computer. He had a showing at Philbrook Museum in Tulsa. It seemed that he was keeping his mind off of the MS and back on the sport he loved, sailing.

In 2003 my wife and I bought a 1975 San Juan 24 sailboat from the local MS Society. My father had remembered the boat from his sailing days, and my wife and I loved going over to my parents home and telling my father what we had learned on the boat. In 2004 we bought a Capri 25, which needed some work done to it, and I would love going over to the house and telling dad again what I was up to. I was repairing the boat for our annual MS Close Regatta that was to be held on September 10, 2005. It was June of 2005 when I received the news that my father had only about a month to live. I spent every day at his bedside or at the lake trying to get the boat into the water.

July 1, 2005, my dad passed away at 59 years old with us all at his side. His last request was for him to be set out to sea. He wanted his ashes spread into the Gulf of Mexico off of Corpus Christi. “Not in the bay,” he said “but in the ocean” where he used to sail. On my father’s birthday my mother felt it was her time to let my father go. A friend of my father lived down in Corpus along with a great friend of my parents. They had set us up with a great place to stay, and we set out to sea on dad’s birthday, spreading his ashes into the Gulf. We had a relaxing day back at Corpus.

I sail our boat because of my father. He never really had the chance to teach me how to sail. But I would sit by his bedside and listen to him tell me what I needed to do. Without him in my life I would have never had the sensation of the wind blowing across my face. When I walk outside and I feel the winds picking up, I think of him. I know that he would have given anything to be sitting by my side on the weather rail.

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Last edited by sirstopher; 08-15-2012 at 10:56 PM. Reason: Added Photo
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