Julia's Blogfest » For what it's worth....DC Metro area portrait and event photographer, including studio shoots - corporate and theatrical headshot

Honoring my dad’s memory

Exactly 12 years ago today, February 22nd, my father passed away after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.  He was 72.  It’s an awful disease b/c it’s long and drawn out and one’s body slowly loses muscle control and memory.  He was a fighter all his life and even fought the medications prescribed to him — going on and off them throughout his battle and ultimately giving up.  Didn’t make it easy for my mom and me to help him along the way but I guess in retrospect, I can’t imagine him doing it any other way.  I say that b/c I am clearly a product of him.  I wish I had more of my mom in me (she is easy going, laid back, non-confrontational and mellow) but I’m hard wired like he was — stubborn, a perfectionist, a stickler for being on-time, all the time, and always moving….with a little bit of my mom thrown in there for good measure.  Right, mom?

Dad was born in Glassport, PA (outside of Pittsburgh) in 1924….spent time there before going to Mercersburg Academy (a boarding school and also my alma mater) for high school, graduated in 1943, then to Duke for undergrad and some summer studies at Columbia.  He served a couple years in WWII and then following that worked overseas, ultimately meeting my mom in Manila in 1956 when he was in his early 30s doing geophysics.

So I just wanted to post some fun photos I have of him which I scanned in last month.  My mom and I have been scanning very old images to preserve them.  My dad was a photo hobbyist with moving film as well as stills so there are A LOT of images of us growing up, my mom, and even himself.  This is what spurred my own interest when I was a kid.   I shot on 110, 126, disk and eventually 35mm.  How crazy is that?!

Anyway, he was a hottie.  Really great hollywood-good-looks and he and my mom made quiet a pair so I don’t know what happened to me.

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yeah, he seemed to like the pretty ladies.

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This must have been his passport photo.  He had awesome, hazel eyes.

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In the outer banks of NC EVERY summer.  Note he is wearing MY hat.

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I took this photo of him when I was studying photography and printing my own work in 1996 — about one year before he passed away.  I love this photo of him.  He has a TINY smirk on his face.  He was a very serious and stern man but had a very understated and witty side and this smirk popped thru every so often.  You really had to be listening to ‘get’ his humor.

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He and my mom when she was prego with my brother in 1957.

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Ingrid - What a handsome man he was. I am sorry for your loss, but what a treasure all these old photographs are. It just reiterates the importance of photography in our lives. Priceless.

Stephanie - I love these Julia, what a handsome man and a lovely tribute. I love the picture you took in ’96, I can see that sparkle in his eye! Hugs to you on this day.

Kelly Holder - Oh, I love this, Julia. I think you look a lot like your mom! This is a lovely tribute to your handsome father.

Rashmi - What wonderful photos and memories Julia. Thinking of you and your family today. Hugs and more hugs.

Erin - He seems like a charmer! And I can totally see him in you. Thanks for sharing.

Jen - This is really touching. You have such a way of telling stories through photographs.

Sally - Your portrait of your dad is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your memories and images.

peter bang - Thanks for sharing. Thank God for photographs and good memories…

Christy - It blows my mind how when an image is taken you never think it will be looked at later the way we are looking at them. In that moment life is as it is. Alive! And now we look back at them and can almost feel that life. You can see it in there eyes and expression. Remember how you felt in those moments? I will never take another moment for granted. Thank you for sharing that with me. You are so great to have as a friend. Not so thankful that I am a mess now thatnks to you. But that ok… I still love you.

maria r. lewan - Love the photos & the memories! My father-in-law also suffered with Parkinson’s – a horrible disease – the body betrays you but the mind is still sharp.
I see bits of Harry in your Dad’s eyes!

Sarah Hodzic - Julia,
Thank you for sharing these fantastic photos of your father!
It makes me want to know more… keep posting if you can. 🙂

I too am so sorry for your loss. Your dad seems like quite and extraordinary man and father. I imagine 12 years some days probably feels just like yesterdays and others it may feel like a life time ago… this is such a beautiful way to share his spirit with all of us.

Thank you!

And I too LOVE the photo of him taken in 96. It reminds me of the photo Annie Leibovitz took of her mother, which became her favorite image thus far.

Paul de Gastyne - Thank you for sharing this story and your life. So much of my life was shaped by the absence of a father so his passing, though horrid, was unknown to me at the time. You do great honor to your father; as I’m guessing he was worthy of such honor. My hope is for those who come next, and what a beautiful family I see in these pictures. Then again the boys mother I remember as a jewel – I’m guessing their father is likewise;o) Who knows what they will be- musicians playing beautiful music like dad (my dad was a composer/conductor for the Air Force Symphony), photographers helping grieving parents like mom (or male stick hockey players;o), or possibly curing illnesses that have plagued mankind for ages. My own son Joshua won the VA Junior Academy of Sciences last year for his project: An Assessment of Neurological/Neuromuscular Effects of Mirapex (a Parkinson’s medication as you likely know) in Rats using the Functional Observational Battery. Who knows what he will discover at school, or when I’m gone? I do know I’ve invested myself in him, and though I really never did get to know my father, I have educated myself and shared that knowledge with my son to help as he discovers himself. I’m sure you are likewise investing in your boys, part of that being the essence of who you knew your father to be and they will be the better for it. I hope this effort brings you peace and healing now, but I’m guessing you will one day find your effort paying off even more in young men who are launching out confidently, knowing their source, and giving honor where honor is due.

Janene Corrado - Wow!! What a beautiful couple! Totally amazing pictures, Julia! Awesome tribute!

Cheryl - Julia, Thank you for sharing the photos and memories of your dad. May today be filled with love, laughter, tears, and joy over a father who was well-loved by his daughter and wife.

Hugs,
Cheryl

Armin - I love this post, brings back history & some story to you & your blog!

Amber - what a beautiful post Julia! I’m sorry for your loss, these photos are amazing, he was so handsome!

Christy Walika - The photos are amazing. You have not changed a bit!

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