My dad died on March 15. At 86 years, he finally found the rest he has longed for since my mom died two and a half years ago. He was married to, and madly in love with the same woman for 59 years before her passing. He never quite made the transition to single life, and could not bring himself to seek a new companion.
Dad lived in a wonderful assisted living facility in Morro Bay, CA. He made friends there, and had a good life. He was a musician—a singer—and one of that rarest commodity in such places: a male, with his wits about him, who could walk on his own two feet. But beyond that, he was a gentle man. He had ladies lurking around trying to catch his imagination.
He was one of those "greatest generation" guys. He was unassuming and a bit shy. He served in the Pacific in WWII on a sea plane tender, the USS Suisun. He was coxswain of the captain's motor launch, and one of his duties was to run smoke screens around the ship during kamikaze raids. He never made anything of how significant his role was in the survival of his ship and the logistics group it was part of. It brought tears to his eyes to talk about the guy who replaced him in that job, the only casualty on his ship—asphyxiated in his own smoke screen when the wind shifted to engulf his motor launch. The Suisun serviced the seaplanes that brought the American Brass to the USS Missouri for the signing of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. In this role, the Suisun was the closest ship to the Missouri, and standing at attention on deck, dad had a clear view of the proceedings.
Dad raised 3 kids, lead the church choir, taught school—the first male 3rd grade teacher in California, then retired to homestead 15 acres in the remote panhandle of Idaho north of Coeur d' Alene. He worked that place for over twenty years before a major heart attack and 4-way bypass surgery brought him out of the woods to settle in California near my sister. The move to Visalia was when we all became aware of Mom's Alzheimer's disease. We could see that there were more reasons than a heart attack that brought my folks back home to the kids.
Dad was by my Mom's side every minute until she finally died of an old cancer that had been dormant for 30 years, only to surface when her mind was wracked with dementia. Strangely, the cancer seemed like an angel of mercy to cut the suffering of my mother short. After 8 years of steady and utter loss, she was set free. But Dad was not. He never made the adjustment to life without his sweetheart, and even though his body was strong, his heart was torn open.
So it is with sorrow, but more so with relief that I send my Dad to his rest. Godspeed, sailor. Your work is finally done.
I spent 10 years in the metal trades in Seattle, and 13 years as a technical writer in the Silicon Valley prior to making the leap to the full time pursuit of art.
Throughout that time I was raising 3 kids and hanging around the margins of the art
world, knowing all the while that art was where I belonged. In 2001 I began working with my wife on development of an artists’ retreat in San Luis Obispo county that we call Windhook. That work is ongoing, and consumes most of the time that I am
not in the studio.
In 2002, I left technical writing and the world of salaries and trading-life-for-money to entirely devote my time to the pursuit of my artistic vision and the Windhook
project. At times since then, my efforts have been consumed by Windhook planning
and construction tasks, and at times I have focused more exclusively on sculpture.
But since October of 2011 I have added another wrinkle to the mix. I write a weekly email journal about pioneering a creative life, called "Outside the Lines". With my wife, Peggy Sonoda, I interview people who are doing just that, and write articles about the many facets of coloring outside the lines.
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, pop up show in downtown Paso Robles
Exhibit organizer and Curator
May 5 -June 2, 2012
Allied Arts of Cambria February show
Allied Arts Gallery, Cambria School District offices
February 16 - March 12, 2012
First Place award
the Phantom Project Inaugural Show
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, pop up show in downtown San Luis Obispo
Exhibit organizer and Curator
February 2 - March 3, 2012
Just Between Us
McMeen Gallery, SLO Art Center, San Luis Obispo
May 6-29, 2011
Pecha Kucha SLO
Steynberg Gallery, San Luis Obispo
December 10, 2010
Allied Arts 2010 Sculpture Exhibit
The Old Grammar School, Cambria
September 10 - October 3, 2010
A Collaboration: The Dining Room McMeen Gallery, SLO Art Center, San Luis Obispo April 2-May 2, 2010 Divine Inspiration: 3rd Annual Beacon Art Show San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church March 19-May 9, 2010 Jurors: Tim Anderson, Lee Sutter, Jane Voigts Third Annual Santa Barbara Sculptors' Guild Winter Show Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara March 1-27, 2010 Juror: Kerry Methner Hearts Obispo - This one's for you Artspace Obispo, San Luis Obispo January 19-February 12, 2010