I am sure the thud was heard near and far as a Giant died today. The deep chasm in our hearts has left an imprint so large that I am quite sure it will never be completely filled.
My Dad- strong, large and in charge, brilliant, generous, loving , tenderhearted, a man’s man, lover of God, his family and his country, left us today to be with his Creator, our great God.
He had one of the brightest minds I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I could list his accolades -too numerous to count-from his years serving our country in both the military and as a civil servant, but I won’t. Because his crowning achievement was the way he loved his family and the people around him.
He and my mother Phyllis shared a life together for over 62 years, married almost 59 of their journey together. And that is how they lived- together. Supporting one another’s careers, hobbies and interest. They were a smashing couple. Stepping out the door to go to a dance in tuxedo and ball gown, bowling strikes together at the bowling alley, waiting all over the country for the announcer to say, “Gentleman, start your engines”, laughing as they played card games with friends and family, shopping for Beanie Babies and glass slippers, traveling the world-they lived and loved having a full life together.
My sister Diane and I can attest to the fact that he was a Papa Bear. We, along with my mother, were the “darlings of his heart.” There was not a day in our lives, he would not have moved mountains for us. And honestly, there were many times, he did. He was strong and loving, teaching us the meaning of unconditional love. We certainly could illicit out of him a ” for crying out loud!” response sometimes, but a “you okay little girl?” far outweighed those moments. And being a father didn’t just extend to his girls. His heart was large enough to make his son-in-laws feel respected, admired and loved.
His twelve grandchildren and eight great grandchildren were “the apples of his eyes.” Whether taking them to a NASCAR race, playing “booger your neighbor” and other games, watching a favorite tv show together, calling one of the grandsons “Roy” when they were little, feeding them too much candy, tickling enormous giggles out of them, or listening to the latest events of their lives- he was active, present and there for them.
Friends- who were many, and family alike, could affirm the hospitable nature of my mom and dad. My mom may have made the dinner, but my dad served up the jokes. And he never disappointed. He could tell a story that left most grown men in the room crying tears of laughter and quite frankly, women running to the bathroom to see if they had peed their pants.
For everyone- he always had a listening ear, solid and loving advice, a shoulder to cry on, a dollar to spare, and a chair to sit beside you.
Many would describe him as tough as nails, but in the same breath they would speak of his kindness and fair approach. He was a lion and a lamb.
John Greene was a child of God, a Boy Scout leader, a military soldier, a WRM Logistical Manager, a lover of John Wayne and westerns, a devoted Steelers fan, a dancer, a bowler, a singer with a rich baritone, a fan of country music- old style the likes of Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash , a NASCAR fan, a deer hunter, a friend, a storyteller, a brother, a son, a beloved uncle, a true gem, a charmer, a lover to my mother, a husband, a father, and a Pap. He lived a life full of adventures and has left a legacy that will carry on in those who loved him and knew him.
He will be missed. His memory will be cherished. And most of all, he was greatly loved.
“A heart is not measured by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz