My Dad passed away on Labour Day, a fatal heart attack. I immediately started packing while Honey Bunny booked a flight for me for the following morning. It was such a shock. We all holed up in the mountains at the brother’s place, it was so nice to just be together and talk about Dad and be there for Mom.
I agreed to write the eulogy, so i started gathering up stories. There was a question of who would give it and as i was writing i realized that no one else was going to do my personal stories any justice, they were mostly meaningful to me and my bro’s so I’d have to give it myself. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it felt so good to do something for my Dad. I like to think it would have made him happy. Here’s what I read:
Thank you all for being here with my family today to remember, honor and celebrate my Dad.
I’m Al’s only daughter Corilee, although i prefer to say “favorite” daughter.
It’s been such a gift spending time with my Mom and my brothers, drinking a hundred pots of coffee and talking about Dad. Some stories make us think, and plenty of the stories make us laugh and lots make us dive for the kleenex box.
But it’s all good because for Dad, if there was emotion to be shared or tears to be shed he was ok with that. No shame.
Dad loved people and talked to everybody. My family and I were laughing about the *hours* we spent in the car when we were kids waiting for him to finish talking to someone. He had to hear every story, get an answer to every question. He was wide open and curious.
He had a great love of adventure. He rode an Indian motor bike in high school and he’s travelled around Canada, the US and the world with Mom. But his favorite adventures were going flying with his best friend Randy. He was also in his element in his beloved truck with the camper on the back, coffee in hand, driving through the mountains with the southern gospel tunes blaring.
My Dad always worked hard. I understand that when he was young he worked on the farm from the time he could get his feet on the tractor’s gas pedals. Even retirement didn’t slow him down, he just changed jobs, working nightshifts for the RCMP so that he could build up his travel fund.
Dad’s idea of fashion was red stripe jeans in the winter, and in the summer orange tshirts, shorts and sandals, even to weddings. He was proud to wear his Lions vest complete with pins to represent his local Pemberton Chapter at conferences. He was told he bore a striking resemblance to Sean Connery.
My Dad was a GM man who loved music, loved to laugh and never met a kid or grandkid he didn’t want to tickle until they begged for mercy. His love for God was simply part of who he was, it wasn’t a religion or something he needed to do.
My Dad had a quiet strength. He could capture in a few words exactly what was going on in a situation. But he also knew when to stay quiet.
Dad collected all the Louis L’Amor books, the old western novels. i think they appealed to him because the characters are self-created. Who they are isn’t about their background, where they were from or their education. They define their lives through their choices, their actions and their adventures and that’s just like my Dad.
He loved food – a favorite was ginger cookies with Nabob coffee while looking out at Mount Currie in the living room with Mom. He also loved licorice tea, a good steak, preferably with lobster, fig newtons and jalapeno cheese.
My Dad never held anyone back because he never wanted to be held back. He was never one of those overprotective fearful parents. When we told him there was something we wanted to do, he’d say “do it” and “have a ball”. When i was a kid and told him my hair brained idea about opening a store that sold rabbits at the end of our driveway he told me it was a great idea. When my Mom made the big scary move to go back to school as an adult, Dad was there with her at her first class. When i, as a brash 20 year old, asked what he’d do if Mom made more money than him he said, “i’d help her spend it!”.
My Dad had his own roofing business when we lived in Surrey and taught us by example how to be entrepreneurs. Thanks to him we know how to manage a business or run our own and all his kids know how to shingle a roof.
He taught us that there will always be people who try to make you feel small. Don’t let them.
It was such a shock when he passed earlier this week but you know, i think his body just couldn’t support the size of his spirit anymore. My Dad was larger than life.
Al Fox will be sorely missed, by his wife Marianne, us 4 kids, his 11 grandchildren, his extended family, his many friends and his community.