On January 13th, the world lost a great poker player. Not necessarily “great” in the sense of being an internationally famous card shark—sipping martinis and playing alongside James Bond at Monte Carlo, although maybe in spirit—but teaching his kids and grandkids the fine art of winning or losing at poker was part of his being an overall great father.
Poker was just one of Dad’s many joys in life, along with drumming, drawing and painting, flying (both piloting jets in the service and private planes as a flight instructor), designing buildings, building things with his power tools, collecting and selling antique tools, puttering at the family cabin and playing the occasional game of football.
I’ll always remember what he told me about going that extra yard to receive a long bomb: “If you can touch it, you can catch it.” Dad always went the extra distance to be kind and social. Parties and family get-togethers were high points for him, and he was always up for a friendly poker game.
In his last weeks, though he’d been in the process of withdrawing, Dad suddenly perked up when he realized he’d been dealt a winning poker hand. He won nearly every round that night, talking, laughing and smiling more than he had in weeks.
That’s how I’ll always remember him—a martini in one hand and a full house in the other.