Each of us has people in our life that help shape us, help us be better people. I have plenty. And I am grateful for each and every one.
Lee Spiers came into my life back in 1970. He was part of a package deal for I was dating his oldest daughter. Our interactions have been many these last forty-three years. I know for a fact that an artist wasn't his first choice as a potential son-in-law. He was an accountant back then and stability and security were important attributes - both of which I was sadly lacking. He recently confessed it was decades before he stopped worrying about us.
Back when Janis & I were dating I had to have her home and in the door by 11:00 sharp. I did so without fail but I would stay a while inside the lower entry 'saying' goodnight. It wasn't long however until Lee's stern voice would call out from above... 'GOODNIGHT DAN!' I instantly knew I was about to overstay my welcome unless I quit saying goodbye to Janis and went home.
Lee was always the voice of reason, of being cautious, thinking things through. I tended to always move a lot faster than he might have liked. In forty-three years of knowing him I'm pretty sure he never really understood my unique way of doing things. But I do know without a doubt he was proud of everything I and Janis accomplished. Each time we met he was eager to know of what was new, what we were working on, where I might be off to and what great adventures were in store. He knew and cared for every employee we had through the years. He also helped out as he was able in those years as well.
My father-in-law taught me much about patience, about serving others and being a good listener. He also taught me the importance of family. He taught me through example. In all those years I only saw him upset once - when I snuck out to the cashier and paid for the extended family Christmas Eve dinner - his sole domain.
Every other time I can remember all through those many years was a time of happiness, and love.
Now, he's gone at age 83 after a long and brave fight with cancer. I, along with everyone who knew him will miss him greatly. Thanks for all you gave me and trusted me with. Especially your oldest daughter.