Father’s Day: Dads make life special

Barbara Goralski and her father, Michael Behr bonded through their love of softball. CONTRIBUTED

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Barbara Goralski and her father, Michael Behr bonded through their love of softball. CONTRIBUTED

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Readers share memories of love, courage and joy.

Fathers do all kinds of things that make them special. Some provide inspiration for learning. Others show us what true courage is at home and at war. And some just show us how surprising a child can illustrate the beauty of pure joy.

On this Father’s Day, we asked our readers to share some of the memorable experiences they had with their dads. This is what they told us:

Father inspired love of knowledge

One story that I’ll always remember captures his love for his kids. When I was about 10 or 11, and we were living in New Jersey, he commuted to work via train and subway to midtown Manhattan. One night he came home with two boxes of a full set of encyclopedias, about 20 big books altogether! He had carried, dragged, and kicked those two heavy boxes along the sidewalks of Manhattan, up and down the stairs to the subway, and in and out of the train. Those encyclopedias were a tremendous resource for a houseful of budding scholars (I am the oldest of the four; the youngest at this time was about 2 or 3) and I remember using them many, many times for school papers. All four of us have graduate degrees, as did he....ya think there’s a connection?

Bob Stoughton, Xenia, on his father, Lincoln (Linc) Stoughton

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Bob Stoughton's father, Lincoln (Linc) Stoughton lugged home a box of encyclopedias one night. They helped fuel his children's desire for knowledge. CONTRIBUTED

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Bob Stoughton's father, Lincoln (Linc) Stoughton lugged home a box of encyclopedias one night. They helped fuel his children's desire for knowledge. CONTRIBUTED

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Bob Stoughton's father, Lincoln (Linc) Stoughton lugged home a box of encyclopedias one night. They helped fuel his children's desire for knowledge. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

A courageous father sets a precedent

I always knew my dad was special when I was young. Sure, he did dad things like playing in the snow and taking us camping but he went above and beyond in dad duties. As an example, he used to bring my swing set into the basement during the winter every year so I could swing inside.

In 1972, my mother passed away when I was 8 and my brother was 10. In that era, female children were not typically raised by a single male adult. Our little family was summoned to court. I had to tell the judge I wanted to stay with my dad and be raised by him. What a memory for an 8-year-old to sit in the judge’s chambers, sitting in a large leather chair, swinging my legs as they did not reach to the floor. For the next five years, he was a mother and a father for me and my brother. Oh, how we challenged him. It was not perfect, but we were perfect together and loved.

At the same time, my dad took the state of Ohio to court to ensure that fathers who were widowers received the same benefits as mothers who were widows. He won and set precedence for many other men.

The story does not stop here. He placed all the monies he received into bonds. Many years later after my marriage failed and I needed to return to college, he explained he kept the money aside and I could use it for college. I graduated nursing school in 1995 without student debt. What an incredible gift from the man who never let me down.

Elaine J. Raptosh, Dayton, on her father, Conrad Skarha Jr.

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Elaine Raptosh and her father Conrad Skarha Jr. He raised her and her brother alone after their mother passed away when they were children. CONTRIBUTED

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Elaine Raptosh and her father Conrad Skarha Jr. He raised her and her brother alone after their mother passed away when they were children. CONTRIBUTED

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Elaine Raptosh and her father Conrad Skarha Jr. He raised her and her brother alone after their mother passed away when they were children. CONTRIBUTED

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A father’s support means everything

My father, Harmon A. Kerns, passed away in 2005 and was the best father ever to his eight children. He married my mother (who also passed away in 2005) in October 1941 and was sent overseas following Pearl Harbor. During the three and a half years of the war he was in Australia, New Guinea, Biak, and other Pacific regions. We also found out following his death that he had received two Bronze Star medals, but he never talked about it; and his military records had been destroyed in a fire. His discharge was in August 1945.

After returning home, I was born in October 1945. My mother told me he had wanted a boy, but I won his heart by sitting in the doorway in my highchair kicking my feet as he walked home from work. There are 11 years between me and my youngest brother. My dad loved each of us unconditionally, and I know my brothers and sisters have their own special memories of Dad.

As a kid (maybe 6 years old), he took me squirrel hunting. He encouraged me to be quiet not to scare away the squirrel, but what was I doing? Rustling through the leaves gathering buckeyes. When very young, he took my twobrothers and I fishing. He always spent time with his kids, and we’ve all grown up to be good citizens and helpful neighbors thanks to the examples he set for us.

One major occurrence affected my entire adult life. When I was a junior in high school, he knew that I wanted to go to college, but with seven other children to take care of on down to the youngest who was in the first grade, money was tight.

Unbeknownst to me, he withdrew his last $125 in his savings account, took my transcript to the University of Dayton, told them he had a daughter who wanted to go to college, but she would need some help. I worked my way through college with the help of a federal student loan available to teachers and a job in the admissions office. I have been retired for 25 years now following 31 years of teaching.

Beverly J. Neubauer, Englewood, on her father, Harmon A. Kerns

She loves her father’s surprises

It was March of 2019 my last year of being a senior in high school. It was March 29, my birthday to be exact, and I was having a birthday dinner at Roosters eating what I think is the best chicken in the city and enjoying my day celebrating with family and friends. Just enjoying myself all day and appreciating that I’m 18 and so excited for life. I noticed when I was opening my gifts that my dad was talking to my mom and was staring at me and smiling.

My dad passed his phone down to me and wrote on a cardboard cutout picture of Justin Timberlake that “I’ll see you on Sunday.” I thought to myself, yay! I’m getting a cardboard of Justin! But no, he said “Nooo girl, we seeing Justin Timberlake on Sunday !!!” I screamed! I was so excited because my dad knows I’ve been a fan of his music for so long. When we went to Columbus for the concert we had the best time. The concert was phenomenal and unforgettable! I really appreciate my dad coming out with me to celebrate my birthday and showing how much he loves me and the things I care about. I really love my dad, to infinity and beyond!

Jasmine Jennnings, Miamisburg, on her father, Andta’Juan L. Jennings Sr.

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Jasmine Jennings' father Andta'Juan L. Jennings Sr. surprised her on her 18th birthday with tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert. CONTRIBUTED

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Jasmine Jennings' father Andta'Juan L. Jennings Sr. surprised her on her 18th birthday with tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert. CONTRIBUTED

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Jasmine Jennings' father Andta'Juan L. Jennings Sr. surprised her on her 18th birthday with tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert. CONTRIBUTED

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ExploreDads get in free to Cincinnati Zoo for Father’s Day

Softball bonds father, daughter

Like many daughters, I grew up idolizing my dad. When I was a small child, I would run to the back door to meet my dad whenever I heard a car door. As I grew, my dad and I were always close. He coached my softball team and I started playing on his coed team at age 16. We played together for over 32 years. His last couple of seasons he was battling pancreatic cancer and each time we took the field I was thankful for him fighting to stay with his family. He passed away in May of 2015.

Barbara Goralski, Miamisburg, on her father, Michael Behr

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Barbara Goralski and her father, Michael Behr shared a love for softball. CONTRIBUTED

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Barbara Goralski and her father, Michael Behr shared a love for softball. CONTRIBUTED

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Barbara Goralski and her father, Michael Behr shared a love for softball. CONTRIBUTED

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Her father was loved just as much by his community

He was a father of nine, grandfather and great-grandfather of 45, at his death. Loved by so many, not just family, but friends, neighbors and just people walking down the street or driving down the street. Even kids on the school bus that stopped at the corner where he lived, waived and said “Hi Papa” every day. He loved sitting on the porch waiving and talking to anyone who came by. We all miss him dearly. Over 200 people showed up for his funeral. It was standing room only. He was a Korean War Vet and very proud of his service. I’m sure he was very proud and humbled by the service he received. We loved him so and miss him every day.

Robyn Heeter, West Carrollton, on her father, James Gengler

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Robyn Heeter's father, James Gengler, was father to his children and his community. CONTRIBUTED

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Robyn Heeter's father, James Gengler, was father to his children and his community. CONTRIBUTED

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Robyn Heeter's father, James Gengler, was father to his children and his community. CONTRIBUTED

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Father’s life was a history lesson

My memory of my father was that he was a much older man when he married my mother. He was a combat veteran from World War II and a former United States Congressman (1949-51). As he got older, he wanted to take his family to the places where he had been in life and that meant something to him. So he took us to Washington and showed us his seat in Congress. He had us eat in the congressional dinning room and order their famous bean soup. Then he took us to meet his friend the famous Door Keeper of the House William “Fishbait” Miller. He later flew us to Casablanca in North Africa and showed us the beach where he landed with the Western Task force. He pointed out buildings that he remembered being there.

He then took us to Gibraltar where he met up with his sister during the war. (She was a spy working for Army Intelligence). Next, he took us to Italy and showed us Salerno Bay where he was on the Italian landings and brought us to Naples, Italy and described the port city to us as it was during the war right after the German army pulled out. The town had been virtually destroyed. He searched for a Baron he once knew to only find out he was deceased. It was a walk down memory lane for him. A real life history lesson for us.

Edward F. Breen, Kettering, on his father Edward G. Breen

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Edward F. Breen sitting in his mother, Constance's lap with his brother Bob and father Edward G. Breen. CONTRIBUTED

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Edward F. Breen sitting in his mother, Constance's lap with his brother Bob and father Edward G. Breen. CONTRIBUTED

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Edward F. Breen sitting in his mother, Constance's lap with his brother Bob and father Edward G. Breen. CONTRIBUTED

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