My uncle died this week, September 14th. His name was Bob. He was in the middle. He was the 4th oldest of seven, three above and three below. He was my dad’s brother. My dad was the baby. They were 15 years apart.
Uncle Bob had that cool calm demeanor. Even if things were stressful or chaotic you would never know it. I can hear his voice, the way he said my name. The way he delivered anything he said. He had kind of drawl to his voice. The words were formed slowly and were delivered with precision and velvet smoothness.
At the visitation on Tuesday (September 18th) there was a slide show of many, many pictures of him and family. He had a great family. Brenda and Susan (the city cousins) were his daughters. Every single picture of him with those girls absolutely oozed love. You could see it. You could almost feel it. He and his wife, Sandy (passed away in 2015), absolutely adored those girls. They could not have kids of their own and they opened their hearts and home to these girls. You never would have known they were not born to them. There was one particular picture where he and Susan were sitting at a table and the way they were looking at each other brought tears to my eyes. It’s a dad and daughter love for sure. I see it with John and Tayler all the time.
There were pictures of him with dad and his other brothers and sisters. There were some pictures of dad I had never seen before. The memory of his funeral came flooding back and I felt so bad for Brenda and Susan because I knew what it felt like. I had lived it. I think the hardest part was watching Brenda’s daughter, and Susan’s two boys. Losing their grandpa was hitting them hard. Grandparents are the best and it is so hard to lose them. It was hard to witness. I wish them strength and peace.
Uncle Bob beat the genes. He beat the Friman genes. They weren’t good. There was a family history of heart disease and high blood pressure. My grandpa, Roy, died at the age of 62. World War I Veteran. I believe the cause of death was hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Dad was 18 at the time. That would have been hard, losing your dad when you were only 18. Uncle Bob would have been about a month shy of his 33rd birthday. That is still very young to lose a parent. Grandma died about 20 years later.
There were two girls and five boys. Muriel was the oldest. They called her Sis. I remember her from when I was little. I can only remember a few times though. She lived in Oregon and we didn’t see her that often. Dad died on June 3, 2000. When Muriel found out he died, she said she could go now. She died on June 15, 2000. She was 79 years old.
Everett was the next oldest. I remember being around him only a handful of times as well. He lived in Iowa. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Corie, I received a phone call, telling me that he had died. He was 64 years old. Heart attack. Veteran, United States Navy.
Next in the lineup was Duane. Duane lived in Sioux Falls. We didn’t see him often either. I can remember being around him when I was young. They all had that wicked sense of humor and a common look about them. Duane died in 1981. He was 58 years old. Heart attack.
Uncle Bob is up next. Right smack in the middle of them all. Maybe that was his ticket to better health. Just kidding. I know Uncle Bob’s lifestyle contributed to his long life. He ate well and he exercised. He jogged all the time and he was an avid golfer. In fact he golfed in early August of this year with Susan. Very impressive. Uncle Bob was 93 years old at the time of his death. He hit the jackpot. He lived a very good life. He was a good guy and he was a great uncle to us. He was done. His body was tired. He went to be with Aunt Sandy and the rest of his family. Veteran, United States Navy.
Uncle Don came next. I think next to Uncle Bob, we saw Uncle Don the most. I believe he and Dad were the closest of friends. He was at our house a lot and we visited a few times when he lived in Kansas. Uncle Don always reminded me of the actor, Ed Harris. He looked like him. The wicked sense of humor was strong with this guy. He was so funny and loved life. He lived it. Uncle Don died on July 1, 2000. He was 66 years old. Heart attack. Veteran, United States Navy.
Aunt Shirley was next. She lived in California, Santa Barbara. When I was in high school I thought about moving out and living with her and establishing residency and then going to school out there. I wonder how different my life would have been if I had. Decisions made are so interesting. Life decisions are so interesting. Shirley died January 3, 1992. Cancer of the bronchial tubes.
Next up, the baby of the bunch. My dad, Gary. The crazy, funny, life loving dad. I miss him every single day. He couldn’t escape the Friman genes. He had quadruple bypass surgery when he was 48 years old. That bought him 12 more years. He died June 3, 2000. He was 60 years old. Heart attack.
Here we have the birth order and the death order. 2000 was a very sad year.
Name Year of Birth Name Year of Death
Muriel 1920 Duane 1981
Everett 1921 Everett 1986
Duane 1923 Shirley 1992
Bob 1925 Gary (Dad) 2000
Don 1933 Muriel 2000
Shirley 1935 Don 2000
Gary 1940 Bob 2018
…and then there were none. May they all rest in peace.