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I’m thinking of my father today, as I do most days.  He would have been 92 today.  steelers worlds best dad

I was blessed with a father who always told me I was beautiful, smart, and could do whatever I set my mind to.

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This is an excerpt from a letter I received from my father in which he encourages me to enjoy my life and everything I do.

A girl’s first love is her father.

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He was a loving, kind, generous, and supportive father.  I remember going to his office with him as a little girl, and playing with the keypunch machine and mixing myself up a glass of Tang.

He was patient and hard-working.  He always had my back.

Arthur Milton Barnes, Jr. was born on May 12, 1925 to Helen Hulvey Barnes and Arthur Milton Barnes, Sr.

From a young age, he excelled in sports, and in high school was on the football, baseball, and basketball teams.

Soft spoken and shy, he had a friend call my mom to ask her if she would go out with him.

His love was baseball, and he played shortstop.  I never got to see him play, as he was 34 when I was born, but if baseball players were as well paid back then as they are now, we would have been rich, I’m told.

We were rich – in love.

Dad's Oakmont Team

He joined the Navy and was, at the time of his graduation from flight school in Pensacola, the youngest to graduate.

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Once, during a trip to the Florida Keys, he decided to skip shaving, and for the first time ever, my dad had facial hair.  He wore a beard the rest of his life.

While in Key West, multiple tourists asked him to pose for a picture next to Sloppy Joe’s – Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar – because they thought he resembled Hemingway.

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My dad taught me to love football (Go Steelers!) and baseball (Go Pirates!)  I remember attending many many games with him.

He taught me accounting skills that I use to this day.  At the age of 14, I was doing the bookkeeping and payroll for local businesses.

At his funeral (we lost him at the age of 71 – far too young) the people who spoke shared stories spoke of a loving brother and father, of a boss who treated his employees with respect and made them want to do their best, and a friend who you could always count on.

The other day when I was missing him, I cooked some franks and beans (one of his favorite meals).

He never swore (well maybe later on in life – but not when we were kids).  He would say “oh my aching back” or some other equally endearing expression instead.  I wish my kids had gotten to know him better.

He didn’t drink.

He was never ever mean.

He was a great man.  A man of value.

A man of integrity.

A man who truly cared for others.

An inspiration.

Field of Dreams was his favorite movie.

Lemon Meringue Pie his favorite dessert.

Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood” one of his favorite dance songs – did I mention he was a great dancer?

 

My dad taught me many lessons.

The most important one – he showed me who I want to be.

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Dad.

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