Happy 70th Birthday Dad!

Dad in 1959In honor of my Dad’s 70th birthday, I thought I’d write a post about him. I’ve written about my Mom and Grandma before, but never my Dad so I thought I’d show him off a bit. He’s definitely worn some stylish duds over the years, although we always tease him about what he wears. But overall, he is considered by most to be well-dressed. He is also considered by most to be the last of the old school gentlemen, and a prince among men. He has indeed set the bar very high for any potential boyfriends.

Here’s a few things about him…

He loves the railroad, stemming from being born in Pocatello, ID and moving to Portland, OR. His original Lionel train set has gone the way of the Dodo, but today he has a set that can travel indoors and out. Someday there will be a garden designed especially for this train.

In Portland, his love of engineering started young, building homemade radios that would pick up the KJAZ station from San Francisco. This also began a life-long love of jazz.

In training at Williams A.F.B.With his Chevy Corvair at Williams A.F.B.

Dad mowed lawns and saved up $450 to buy his first car: a two-toned Chevrolet BelAir, which he wrecked ten days later by falling asleep at the wheel. He’s been trying to find that car again ever since.

One Tough Flyboy...After college at Oregon State, Dad entered the US Air Force. First, he went to France where he and his fellow officers would drive to Obergurgl each weekend to ski all day and eat fondue all night.

After France, he served two years in Vietnam based out of Okinawa, Japan. He flew a C130 Hercules and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his missions.

Braniff uniform by Pucci, 1973From the USAF, he entered the airline industry, flying for Braniff International Airlines for fifteen years. His uniforms were designed by Pucci and Halston, and proudly flew some of the famous Flying Colors planes painted by Alexander Calder.

In 1972, my parents met on a blind date at Capp’s Corner in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. They married exactly one year later and have been together ever since.

In the early 1980s, Braniff went bankrupt, so Dad put his entrepreneurial gene to work and started a real estate company that he still works on today. Of course, if he had his druthers, he’d still be flying planes.

Chic Young WilsonsMy parents at their engagement party, 1973

Dad reads me (left) and my sister (right) Madeline's Rescue.After years of being the only man in the family, among sisters, daughters, and in-laws, he was a little bit relieved when my sister got married and he got another man to be on his team. Now he can talk about cars, watches, bespoke suits, and single-malts with someone.

Today, he and my Mom travel, entertain friends, and spoil their dog Bonnie, who has designated Dad as her most favorite human on earth.

Dad & Mom in South Africa, 2006Some things about Dad…

He knows every make model and year of ever car made before 1970 or so.

He has an innate sense of direction and geography, stemming from his Air Force days which always makes him the winner of the “Half-way to Hawaii” game or something…

He is always planning for safety. He checks fire escapes, hotel room maps, and airline seat-back safety guides. He could definitely get you out of there in a hurry.

He has a pocket-full of weird expressions, like “you’re busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest…” and the hits go on from there. Where do they come from? No one knows.

He always has black licorice in his desk drawer.

He has a classic Eames chair, but immediately falls asleep the moment he sits in it longer than ten minutes.

He can play one song on the piano by ear – “The Man I Love”.

He buys really good wine and is not stingy about sharing it. Sometimes though, he asks me to pick the wine and respects my choice.

He knows how to rock a pocket square.

He tells corny, silly jokes that aren’t really funny, except for when he tells them. Then, they’re hilarious.

Here's to 70 great years Dad! Wishing you many many more...I love you!