I'm told this combination is pretty common, but I was always amazed by my Dad, the engineer/artist. He loved to paint. I hesitated just a little as I pulled in Nancy and Paul's Florida condo driveway for the first time (was I at the right place?), until I caught sight of the huge Van Gogh sunflower painting on the wall in their living room. Yes, I was in the right place. Awhile back, Dad started gifting his children with his art; I was so pleased to receive Van Gogh's Armond, the Postman's Son, which has a place of honor on my desk at the office.
At the visitation last Friday afternoon one of Dad's colleagues on the DDSO board was telling my sister Fran about how much he cherishes the art card Dad sent him. Many of us love our collections of cards from "Nancy & Dad's Card Shoppe." Dad became quite a Photoshop expert, but still preferred real canvas over an electronic one. However, one electronic canvas he absolutely mastered was Excel. Dad tracked his weight meticulously (his doctors always had more data than they knew what to do with); he tracked the current age of his many family members; he tracked his car lease and gas mileage; he developed a huge spread sheet that could solve any Sudoku puzzle ("A Swift Computer Way to Solve Sudoku Puzzles"). He loved it when I gave him problems to solve. When the ELCA was formed we had certain numbers we could use for our toll-free 800 line. I asked Dad to calculate what words the digits spelled out, so we could come up with a memorable number. If kidney problems could be cured with a spreadsheet, Dad would have discovered it. Driving home from Pittsford to Chicago last night, the sunset was absolutely amazing, with brilliant, intense colors that I'm sure Dad had a hand in. Love, Paul David
Paul David <email@example.com>
Park Ridge, IL USA - Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 21:49:03 (EDT)
Annie's right on the money about Grandpa Swift's charm... I only got the chance to hang out with him on a handful of occassions; our most recent visit was right before we left for Slovakia. We got to the house about 10pm, expecting to just turn in for the night, but instead spent the better part of two hours having a great conversation with Paul and Nancy on every subject you could imagine. I'm very glad to have known such a Renaissance man.
Bratislava, Slovakia - Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 09:34:09 (EDT)
Many blessings and prayers for all the Swifties and friends gathering today for Grandpa's funeral. May all those who are wishing they could be there feel connected and supported in their grief. Thanks to my friends, students, parishioners and colleagues in Bratislava, Slovakia for all their compassion and caring--and especially for coming together for a short service to remember Grandpa today.
Hard to pick one favorite Grandpa memory. In elementary school Grandpa came to some event--I think it might have been a play?--wearing his trademark beret. I introduced him to the guy I had a huge crush on. As we walked away, my crush said, "That's your grandpa? But ... he's so COOL!" Grandpa's sense of style, his knowledge of subjects from art to literature to mathematics, and his distinguished-but-charming manner were always winning over my friends, even during the difficult-to-win-over teen years. I've always been quite proud of that!
I may have to post more later, but for now, it's your turn. What memory of Paul Swift would you like to share? What message do you have for his family and friends? Thank you for writing, sharing and remembering with us.
Bratislava, Slovakia - Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 02:54:09 (EDT)