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A Wonderful Life

February 20, 2011

My grandfather passed away at the end of January at the ripe old age of 89. He lived a full life, with plenty of action, adventure and family. Knowing this softens the blow of his death. Still, with his passing, and my dad’s death last year, I’m feeling a sense of vulnerability as the last in the line of male Williamsons, along with my brother. I know it may sound odd to think that way in this day and age (as if we were some kind of fading ancient race of noble lineage), but I feel it nonetheless.

Or, as my mom bluntly put it: “He was the last solid guy left in the family. Who can I depend on now?”

Anyway, rather than dwelling on the twilight of the Williamson clan, I’d rather say a few words to celebrate the life of the man I called Grandpa. Here are some highlights:

Born and raised in South Dakota. If you take a look at the boyhood picture, note the flatness of the land. That’s South Dakota. Incidentally, I was curious as to what YCL stood for, and Google spat up Youth Communist League. So there’s my grandfather as a young communist. (I’m actually quite curious to find out if that’s what the YCL really stands for.) UPDATE: My Aunt Kristin did a little research and found out that YCL likely stands for Young Citizens League.

Served as an Infantry Captain in WWII in Europe.

Married my grandmother, just the loveliest woman ever. They were a dynamic duo. Had one son (my dad) and two daughters.

Traveled to Jordan in 1955 to provide consultation to their government on irrigation practices. The middle photo, as you might have guessed, is from that period. I have his passport from that period, with stamps indicating travel to Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Italy. The handwriting in the passport looks amazingly similar to that of my father’s.

Lived in Alexandria, VA while working for the federal government as a soil scientist. This was fortuitous because it was in an Alexandria high school that my mother and father met.

Keen outdoorsman for most of his life. Hunter, fisherman, and gardener.

Artist and craftsman. In later years he turned his attention to woodworking, making children’s toys and carving iconic Christmas decorations that all of us have stockpiled over the years.

Card shark, coffee drinker and prankster. His approach to life was full of merriment and (small) mischief.

And, as my cousin Brooke reminded us, he was always whistling.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. jo w permalink
    February 20, 2011 8:43 am

    also a great harmonica player.

  2. Kristin O'Meara permalink
    February 20, 2011 5:28 pm

    Well Patrick, you and Daniel may be the male Williamsons left, but I know that Grandpa couldn’t have chosen finer men than you and Daniel to carry on the name and lineage. And now you have two beautiful sons to keep it going. Thank you for the tribute. Yes, he lived a full life—-what more can one ask for? Love you, Kristin

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