Dad

He was born on August 15, 1915, the youngest son in your typical large Irish Catholic family.  Kevin had four brothers and four sisters.  Their dear mother, Fanny Susannah, offered many a heartfelt prayer that her children would be talented. They were.

This is the entry under Dad's name for his senior year at Chaminade High School:  

'Kev:  musician, singer, student, football player — and can he wield a wicked pen!  The beautiful artwork on the theme pages (of the yearbook) speaks for itself.  Did you ever travel the 'Lonesome Road' with Kev and his guitar?  If not, you have never been anywhere.The fact that he made the All—City Eleven for '29 demonstrates the football ability of this versatile young genius.' 

He was a handsome young man, a strapping 6'2' 190 lbs. 

Dad made extra money singing at weddings.  He sang to his beautiful wife—to—be, Mary Lou, on summer evenings on the porch.  And  I can still hear his light baritone voice rising above all others at Sunday mass thinking secretly and proudly to myself, 'That's my dad.'

Years later, Dad performed an updated version of the 'Lonesome Road,' entertaining his sons and their dates, playing a new guitar and singing folk songs.

After starting as an artist in the advertising department of Rike's, the major retail store here in Dayton for many years, Dad went on to become department head.  It was a stressful job, and as I wrote in Saturdays On The River, Dad found relief and relaxation in his favorite pastime, fishing.  On our way to whatever spot he'd selected, he sang for the sheer joy of it.  

Dad was an athlete, artist, musician, singer, sculptor, fisherman, executive, the man who drew up the plans for our house on Nottingham; the man who was my father, a classic strict Irish Catholic father who loved his wife, his four sons and two daughters.  

This is what I wrote when he died:

When my father died,
A voice died with him.

Wisdom under the stars,
Evenings on the patio,
He told me about life,
Describing thoughts with his cigarette,
Fluid red arcs in the night.

When my father died,
The tales ended.

A voice in the night,
That sounded like home,
Words never wrong,
Hard lessons to grasp.

When my father died,
A world died with him.

One cemented by his strength,
The firm grasp of his voice,
Carved like the wood,
He loved to shape,
Into ideas about love.
In a world malleable to moral equivalence,
He was a rock of integrity,
A light of direction,
On dark paths.

When my father died,
So did part of me.

The bitterness still rankles.
How could such a foundation
Be moved so finally?
How could such a voice be silenced?

When my father died,
The stars gave way to morning.

Those talks in the night,
With that man who was my father,
That voice in which I heard home,
That place no longer there,
A memory of stars.

John B. Dwyer is a military historian

He was born on August 15, 1915, the youngest son in your typical large Irish Catholic family.  Kevin had four brothers and four sisters.  Their dear mother, Fanny Susannah, offered many a heartfelt prayer that her children would be talented. They were.

This is the entry under Dad's name for his senior year at Chaminade High School:  

'Kev:  musician, singer, student, football player — and can he wield a wicked pen!  The beautiful artwork on the theme pages (of the yearbook) speaks for itself.  Did you ever travel the 'Lonesome Road' with Kev and his guitar?  If not, you have never been anywhere.The fact that he made the All—City Eleven for '29 demonstrates the football ability of this versatile young genius.' 

He was a handsome young man, a strapping 6'2' 190 lbs. 

Dad made extra money singing at weddings.  He sang to his beautiful wife—to—be, Mary Lou, on summer evenings on the porch.  And  I can still hear his light baritone voice rising above all others at Sunday mass thinking secretly and proudly to myself, 'That's my dad.'

Years later, Dad performed an updated version of the 'Lonesome Road,' entertaining his sons and their dates, playing a new guitar and singing folk songs.

After starting as an artist in the advertising department of Rike's, the major retail store here in Dayton for many years, Dad went on to become department head.  It was a stressful job, and as I wrote in Saturdays On The River, Dad found relief and relaxation in his favorite pastime, fishing.  On our way to whatever spot he'd selected, he sang for the sheer joy of it.  

Dad was an athlete, artist, musician, singer, sculptor, fisherman, executive, the man who drew up the plans for our house on Nottingham; the man who was my father, a classic strict Irish Catholic father who loved his wife, his four sons and two daughters.  

This is what I wrote when he died:

When my father died,
A voice died with him.

Wisdom under the stars,
Evenings on the patio,
He told me about life,
Describing thoughts with his cigarette,
Fluid red arcs in the night.

When my father died,
The tales ended.

A voice in the night,
That sounded like home,
Words never wrong,
Hard lessons to grasp.

When my father died,
A world died with him.

One cemented by his strength,
The firm grasp of his voice,
Carved like the wood,
He loved to shape,
Into ideas about love.
In a world malleable to moral equivalence,
He was a rock of integrity,
A light of direction,
On dark paths.

When my father died,
So did part of me.

The bitterness still rankles.
How could such a foundation
Be moved so finally?
How could such a voice be silenced?

When my father died,
The stars gave way to morning.

Those talks in the night,
With that man who was my father,
That voice in which I heard home,
That place no longer there,
A memory of stars.

John B. Dwyer is a military historian