04 April 2023

De mortuis nil nisi bonum - of the dead, say nothing but good


My father was born in 1929 as the third and last child of Max and Sophie in a busy Franconian town in Northern Bavaria. His schooldays were interrupted by the war but he eventually got his high school diploma shortly after the end of WWII. He often remembered his mother's birthday in May 1945 as a special moment in his life and saw this day as great gift and moment of happiness, because both his siblings arrived back, on foot, from the war on that day and the whole family could be together again, unharmed, drinking coffee in the garden.


His big brother awakened his love for soccer and of course both boys were active in the local soccer club from an early age. As an adult, as long as he could drive his car, he attended almost all the games of this, his favourite club. He generously supported the club’s youth section financially throughout his life.


As a schoolboy, he took care of his grandmother's chickens, and he successfully, so the rumor goes, grew tobacco and raised barn rabbits in his home garden. Certainly the desire to study agriculture stems from this time. His path therefore led him to Munich university, where he successfully completed his studies with a doctorate in agriculture.


As a student, he had the opportunity to spend an extended period on an agricultural internship in southern Sweden. This experience and the contrasts between Germany and a pragmatic, open democracy like Sweden in the early post-war years sparked his lifelong love for Scandinavia.


After graduating, he first worked in animal research, got married and became the father of three children. In 1961, he left academic work when he was offered an exciting position in the newly developing dairy industry. With a lot of heart blood and energy, he took on the challenge and was soon known as a sought-after contact and problem solver. His work also meant that throughout Franconia and beyond, he knew every little street, every hamlet and farm, every shortcut and – importantly - the best ice cream parlors.


For many years, the family spent summer vacations in Denmark and when the children had grown up and left home, his way continued to take him regularly to Scandinavia. In later years, as a pensioner, there were extensive trips to various places all over Europe and the Middle East.


Planning and organizing was not only an important part of his professional life, he also planned and organized in great detail every excursion, hike and vacation with his family and later with friends. From fuel stops to sightseeing, whether historical or scientific, to visits to restaurants or hotels, everything was thought out and scheduled long before the event.


After retiring from professional life, he moved back to his parents' house. For decades he tended the garden and especially the fruit trees planted by his mother and regularly distributed plums and freshly squeezed apple juice to family and friends.

Now he also found time to learn languages, especially Swedish, which he mastered to the point of translating in later years, and he greatly enjoyed French.

He was always broadening his horizons, went on opera and concert tours, and up to a very old age, he planned and enjoyed historical or natural history excursions in the near and far surroundings.


His camera accompanied him everywhere. He documented every event and trip, often to discover and photograph specific rare plants. The family and friends were then presented every year with a self-designed calendar of his pictures.


He was very fortunate that he was able to live independently in his beloved home with the active and loving support of family and friends until his fall in 2020. Accordingly, it was a huge change when he had to move to a nursing home due to a tibia and fibula fracture. But after a period of acclimatization he appreciated the good care he received there.


My father was an intelligent, open-minded person, always interested and ready to talk, he hugely enjoyed debating and discussing any subject we would bring up. He was often surprisingly generous and above all, he was always on time. He will be remembered for his great willingness to help family, friends, acquaintances, and victims of crises worldwide. This was due not least to the fact that he was very content with his life.


He died in his sleep this morning.


am said...

Sending love to you and your family, Sabine. Remembering when you held his face in your hands. Remembering the love.

NewRobin13 said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Sabine. Your remembrance of him here is full of very sweet memories and heartfelt love.

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing "the good". He sounds like a fascinating gent. Peace to him on this next adventure, whatever it may be.

Ms. Moon said...

And so he should be remembered.

Barbara Rogers said...

Thank you for sharing the life of your father, ever so briefly, with us today. His was a good life, and your words carry the love you felt.

ellen abbott said...

my condolences. it's good to remember the good. I hope you are at peace with his passing.

Jim Davis said...

A lovely moving tribute to your father. So sorry for your loss.

http://mollybawnchronicles.blogspot.com said...

Oh, Sabine. May he rest, finally, in peace.

Linda Sue said...

To be content with life and to leave while sleeping in the morning is all we can hope for, Well done, lovely man!

Jackie M said...

What a wonderful life.
My condolences.

37paddington said...

Dear Sabine, I am so sorry for your loss. Your father lived a good life, and now he can rest. May your heart be at peace. Sending you love.

Colette said...

I'm just reading this, Sabine. I've been a bit out of touch lately. But my lateness by no means diminishes the heartfelt condolences I am sending you. Losing a parent is hard.