Requiem for Charles K. Oliver Jr. September 23, 2007

(This journal entry was my eulogy to my father last September. A few months ago, 20-20 did a Special about Randy Pausch. By the way, as of June 10, 2008, Randy Pausch is still alive, although obituaries abound for him on the Internet.)

This weekend I received information from a good friend of mine who knew my father had passed. It seems a Professor at Carnegie-Mellon, Dr. Randy Pausch, was presenting a program called “How to Achieve Your Childhood Dreams” as part of “The Last Lecture Ever” series. Last Lecture is a program that asks professors what would they teach if they knew they could give only one more talk ever.

Now, my father has never even been to college much less become a professor, so I was amazed to hear that he and Professor Pausch had basically the same philosophies of life. Here are four of them.

Pointer #1: “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.”

My dad had numerous upsets and tragedies in his 73+ years on this planet. They never stopped him or caused him to give up or lose hope. Even his oncologist was amazed by his tenacity. My uncle, Rocky, always referred to my dad, his only brother, as “Timex, ” because he took a lickin’ and kept on tickin.’ He chalked it all up to life lessons. He would say, “That what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

Pointer #2: “Brick walls are there not to hold you back, but to see how badly you really want something.”

From the time I was a little girl, my father told me, “You can be anything you set your mind to.” I still believe that is the best gift you can give a child. The way I have chosen to live my life is a tribute to my father.

Pointer #3: “Encourage your child’s creativity. If they want to paint their bedroom walls, let them.”

All my siblings could tell you stories of painting parties we had growing up. My dad also took us on wonderful adventures, to explore Texas and the glory of nature throughout the U.S. And, even up until the very end, he never lost his sense of humor. He was constantly making up silly sayings to make us laugh.

Pointer #4: If you lead your life the right way, your dreams WILL COME TO YOU.”

This last one, my father taught more by the example of his life than by any words he said. Everyone who knew my dad knew that his life was a life well lived. One of the neighbors told me just the other day, “You meet very few good people in life. Your dad was one of the good ones.” I know everyone here has benefited from knowing him. Now it’s time to celebrate his life and PAY IT FORWARD.

I miss you, Dad. Love, Kathy

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