A car guy to the end…

A car guy to the end…

I won’t lie- It’s been a pretty hard week me, and I’m still digging myself out of the blues. To make a sad story short, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and he passed away on Tuesday this week. In four very short months he had to get his affairs in order, finish up his last car project, and close up business at the shop. Day by day he was getting weaker and the pain increased, but he kept going to the shop trying to get the 62 Plymouth all buttoned up for the big Mecum auction at Indy happening next week. Dad was a car guy till the day he died, and he didn’t have time to sit around and complain, or get depressed. He was too busy assembling, detailing, and cleaning cars like he had almost every day for the past 50+ years.

His memorial service was on Saturday, and each of us three kids were presented a suprise box with our name on it. Inside was a metal, flexible spout oil can filled with some of dad’s ashes for us to each spread as we see fit (I’m thinking Bonneville for starters, cause he never made it there with me) and a goodbye note he wrote a few weeks before he passed away. The rest of dad was placed in his favorite old hand-painted gas can that we kept in the garage. Dad didn’t like unnessisary flash, or doing things that screamed “look at me”. He was low-key, and he preferred that the quality of his incredibly finished cars speak on his behalf.

I lost my car show buddy, a killer mechanic, my best friend, and my dad. What I will never lose is learning how to be a real car guy till the day I die.

……………

Editor’s Note: In the last two weeks, I’ve seen my good friend lose his best pal and father, I’ve welcomed a new baby girl into the world, and I’ve dealt with my own mortality on a very small scale. It’s been a strange ride. It’s been a roller coaster. It’s just life… and death.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been watching Jay from afar as he deals with what will probably be the hardest thing he will ever have to do. He’s done it with such grace and such pride that I found myself in tears a number of times. I guess I’m just in awe of his strength and love and… Somehow, I just know his dad is so proud of him right now. And as sad as the whole deal is, it also makes me smile a bit. As a father, I know Jay’s old man died knowing he did one hell of a job raising his son to be one hell of a man.

Keep your chin up Jay. We love ya.

- Ryan

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