Bob Stoughton, Xenia, about her father, Lincoln (Linc) Stoughton
A brave father sets a precedent
I always knew my dad was special when I was young. Sure, he did daddy things like play in the snow and take us camping, but he went above and beyond in his daddy duties. As an example, he used to take my swing set to the basement for the winter every year so he could swing me inside.
In 1972, my mother passed away when I was 8 years old and my brother was 10. At that time, girls were not usually raised by a single adult male. Our little family was summoned to trial. I had to tell the judge that I wanted to stay with my dad and be raised by him. What a memory for an 8-year-old boy sitting in the judge’s chamber, sitting in a big leather chair, swinging his legs that didn’t reach the ground. For the next five years, he was a mother and father to me and my brother. Oh how we defy it. It wasn’t perfect, but we were perfect together and loved.
At the same time, my father took the state of Ohio to court to ensure that widowed fathers received the same benefits as widowed mothers. He won and set precedence for many other men.
The story does not stop here. She put all the money he received into bonds. Many years later, after my marriage failed and I had to go back to college, he explained to me that he kept the money aside and that I could use it for college. I graduated from nursing school in 1995 with no student debt. What an amazing gift from the man who never let me down.
Elaine J. Raptosh, Dayton, about her father, Conrad Skarha Jr.
A father’s support means everything
My father, Harmon A. Kerns, passed away in 2005 and was the best father to his eight children. He married my mother (who also passed away in 2005) in October 1941 and was sent abroad after Pearl Harbor. During the three and a half years of the war he was in Australia, New Guinea, Biak and other regions of the Pacific. We also learned after his death that he had received two Bronze Star medals, but he never talked about it; and his military records had been destroyed in a fire. His discharge was in August 1945.
After returning home, I was born in October 1945. My mother told me that he wanted a boy, but I won his heart by sitting on the doorstep in my high chair kicking my feet as I walked home from work. There are 11 years between my younger brother and me. My dad loved each of us unconditionally, and I know my brothers and sisters have their own special memories of dad.
When I was a kid (maybe 6), he took me squirrel hunting. He encouraged me to be quiet so as not to scare the squirrel away, but what was he doing? Whispering through the leaves picking horse chestnuts. When I was very young, he took my two brothers and me fishing. He always spent time with his children, and we have all grown to be good citizens and helpful neighbors because of the examples he set for us.
A major event affected my entire adult life. When I was a junior in high school, he knew he wanted to go to college, but with seven other kids to care for, even the youngest who was in first grade, money was tight.
Unbeknownst to me, he withdrew the last $125 from his savings account, took my transcript to the University of Dayton, and told them he had a daughter who wanted to go to college but would need help. I made my way through college with the help of a federal student loan available to teachers and a job in the admissions office. I have been retired for 25 years after 31 years of teaching.
Beverly J. Neubauer, Englewood, on her father, Harmon A. Kerns
He loves surprises from his father.
It was March 2019, my senior year in high school. It was March 29th, my birthday to be exact, and I was having a birthday dinner at Roosters eating what I think is the best chicken in town and enjoying my day celebrating with family and friends. Just enjoying it all day and being thankful that I am 18 years old and very excited about life. I noticed when I was opening my presents that my dad was talking to my mom and he was looking at me and smiling.
My dad handed me his phone and wrote on a cardboard cutout photo of Justin Timberlake that it said “I’ll see you Sunday.” I thought to myself, yes! I’m getting a cardboard from Justin! But no, he said “Nooo girl, see you on Sunday with Justin Timberlake!!!” I screamed! I was so excited because my dad knows that I’ve been a fan of his music for a long time. When we went to Columbus for the concert we had the best time. The concert was phenomenal and unforgettable! I really appreciate that my dad came with me to celebrate my birthday and show me how much he loves me and the things that matter to me. I really love my dad, to infinity and beyond!
Jasmine Jennings, Miamisburg, about her father, Andta’Juan L. Jennings Sr.
Softball unites father and daughter
Like many daughters, I grew up idolizing my dad. When I was a little kid, I would run out the back door to meet my dad every time he heard a car door. As he grew up, my dad and I were always close. He coached my softball team and I started playing on his co-ed team at 16 years old. We played together for more than 32 years. The last two seasons he was battling pancreatic cancer and every time we went out on the field he was thankful that he was fighting to stay with his family. He passed away in May 2015.
Barbara Goralski, Miamisburg, on her father, Michael Behr
His father was loved so much by his community
He was the father of nine, grandfather and great-grandfather of 45, at his death. He loved by so many, not only family members, but also friends, neighbors, and just people walking down the street or driving down the street. Even the kids on the school bus that stopped at the corner where he lived waved and said “Hi Dad” every day. He loved sitting on the porch waving and talking to anyone who passed by. We all miss him very much. More than 200 people attended his funeral. There was only room to stand. He was a veteran of the Korean War and was very proud of his service. I’m sure he was very proud and honored by the service he received. We loved him so much and miss him every day.
Robyn Heeter, West Carrollton, on her father, James Gengler
The father’s life was a history lesson.
My memory of my father is that he was a much older man when he married my mother. He was a World War II combat veteran and former United States Congressman (1949-51). As he grew up, he wanted to take his family to the places he had been in life and that meant something to him. So he took us to Washington and showed us his seat in Congress. He made us eat in the congress dining room and order his famous bean soup. He then took us to meet his friend the famous House Keeper William “Fishbait” Miller. He later took us to Casablanca in North Africa and showed us the beach where he landed with the western task force. He pointed out buildings that he remembered being there.
He then took us to Gibraltar where he was reunited with his sister during the war. (She was a spy working for Army Intelligence.) He then took us to Italy and showed us Salerno Bay where he was at the Italian landings and took us to Naples, Italy and described the port city as it was during the war just after the German army withdrew. The city had been virtually destroyed. She sought out a baron she once knew only to find that he had passed away. It was a walk down memory lane for him. A real life history lesson for us.
Edward F. Breen, Kettering, about his father Edward G. Breen