When I was 10 years old, a man named Bill Blackshaw came into my life and transformed my world from black-and-white to bright rainbow Technicolor. From the moment we met, I adored my Dad. He stepped into the role of being a father quite easily – with his combination of playful humor, gentle guidance and unbreakable loyalty and love.
Over the years, Dad and I grew to be friends. We met for coffee, shooting the breeze for hours – about politics, current events, music, history, travel – you name it. Dad always had something interesting to say.
During the hard times, Dad was available at a moment’s notice – to help with the kids, or to do an errand, or simply to listen. I will miss his friendship beyond words.
Truly, Dad was a consummate learner, never without a book or magazine in his hand, on his nightstand, or in his lap. When I finished college, I left my textbooks on the shelves in my bedroom and Dad read through just about every one of them – really read them, with underlining and notes in the margin.
But Dad was equally a teacher – eager to impart interesting tidbits of information,
or read his favorite poems,
or teach his kids to develop a black and white photo,
or to ski,
or make scrambled eggs,
or clean a toilet like they did in the army,
or saw planks of wood for a backyard clubhouse.
A yearning for knowledge, coupled with an enthusiasm for sharing all that he loved – that was the hallmark of my Dad.
But the most precious gift Dad gave to me, and all of us today in this church, was his open and generous heart. His was a heart that never ran out of love, and one that was always ready to forgive. Dad never wasted time on grudges. He could erase anger or hurt feelings seamlessly with a gently-placed joke or reassurance. And he always had room for one more friend. His loyalty and love for his family was fierce. It defined who he was, and guided every decision he made. It will be an inspiration and comfort for me for the rest of my life.
Dad, thanks for gracing our lives with your wit, your spirit and your love. We will miss you dearly.
Julie Blackshaw, November 3, 2007