Last Wednesday, Trisha and I had the opportunity to celebrate the life of a long time friend, Fred Timberman. At one point in the funeral ceremony, it was opened up for people to share anything they wanted to share about Fred’s life. The first person to speak was Fred’s adult daughter, Lisa. She read a letter she wrote to her father. The letter impacted me so much as a father, I wanted to share it with you.
For Fred Timberman
August 3, 2011
Thank you for a lifetime of laughter.
Thank you for being the dad for whom the neighborhood kid would come ask mom if you could come out and play.
Thank you for the image of when we were playing Pictionary and we laughed so hard at your drawing of a cheerleader that we fell off the bed; and another of you clutching your heart when Becky & Brian gave you and Mom a baby rattle for Christmas to announce their pregnancy with your first grandchild. And not so long ago when we went to the park and Eli talked you into going down the slide. Thanks for playing lead singer in our Wii Band—Wave to the Octopus. I will forever cherish the memory of you prank calling Shelley pretending you were from a fashion magazine to razz her about her hip shoes.
Thank you for always spilling your pretend tea at our tea parties, and for saying such things as ālmonds, sālmon, and “wiliefold.” For starting every morning with “good morning breakfast clubbers, to do, to do.”
Thank you for your tender heart that never met an animal you did not love, and for loving us so deeply… sometimes in that order.
Thank you for making family first—for the millions of decisions, day in and out, year in and year out— for fifty years—where you put family above all else. And for your unconditional love; we never doubted for a moment that you were there for us—even when I tested you with my vegetarian ways.
Thank you for being living proof that success in life is not measured in titles or dollars, but in the friends and family who pour out of the woodwork to comfort you in your most difficult hours, and in the souls whose hearts break at the thought of not spending more time with you.
Thank you for being everything we could have asked for in a husband, brother, uncle, father, and papaw.
What immediately stood out to me was what she thanked her father for…She didn’t thank him for barbie dolls; swing sets; bicycles; her first car or her college education. She thanked him, not for the gifts he gave, but for the life he invested. I want to be the kind of father that my kids write a letter like this to me at my funeral.