15 June 2013

(Part 2 of our 3-part salute to dads for Father's Day comes from Carole Loftin, one of my sister's best friends since they shared a house their senior year in college. Carole, who works for an airline, has been tremendously kind to my family, including flying my sister and me to London for free when we went to scatter my mother's ashes — Melinda)

My father is a man of few words.  He’s not one for long conversations, whether in person or on the telephone, and he doesn’t like to talk about himself.  I could go on at length about what a good man he is, but in keeping with Dad’s communication style, I’ll try to keep this brief.
Dad was born in Wilmington, NC.  Immediately after graduating from high school in 1944, Dad served in the Army Air Corps from 1944 to 1946 and then again 1951-52 during the Korean War.  In between his military service, he attended Davidson College, a small, (then) all-male private liberal arts college outside Charlotte, on the GI Bill.  Even with tuition covered, cash was tight, so he devised a barter system to minimize his cash outlay:  he waited tables at his boarding house (free meals), he served as Treasurer of his fraternity (fraternity dues), and he acted as a barber’s “PR man” (free haircuts). He met my mother in 1954 on a blind date, they were married in 1955, and my sister was born the following year.  I followed in 1958, and my brother was born in 1961.

My mother likes to tell the story that when my sister and I were toddlers, she told my father that she didn't see how they'd ever manage to put us through college.  He
responded "We just need a plan," and he proceeded to come up with that plan.  Mom gives him full credit for putting the three of us through college without any of us having to borrow money (despite my attending Davidson with its hefty private institution tuition) and for their financial security in retirement.   Mom certainly did her part - she went to work once all of us kids were in school, cut coupons and came up with a weekly meal plan, cooked dinner every night and in general pinched pennies - but Dad had the vision and, ultimately, the plan about how to achieve their financial goals.

My father is also extremely generous, although you’d never know it because he doesn’t broadcast it in any way.  He tells my Mom that he’d rather give money away than spend it.  She says that he’s going to drag her into heaven with him.

Dad turned 87 in March.  He remains a dedicated husband to his wife of almost 58 years as well as a loving father and a proud grandfather.  He continues to play golf every day.  He mows the grass and does the handiwork around the house and tends his many outdoor flowers and plants.  I got my love of gardening and nature from him along with my love for all of God's creatures.  Today's donation goes to The Nature Conservancy, which I’ve supported for many years, in my father’s honor.  The Nature Conservancy focuses on the conservation of important global habitats.   I am so blessed to be Sam Loftin's daughter.  Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I love you.

June 15: www.nature.org

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