Last Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 was not just another day on the calendar for me. It was the 100th anniversary of the birth of my late father, Robert (Bob) Wilson.
Like most folks, I learned many important life lessons from my father, some of which were spoken, but more which were by example. In honor of the memory of this very good man, I am going to share a few of these with you in this column.
First and foremost, Bob Wilson showed me the value of hard work, dedication and perseverance and that these qualities are often recognized and rewarded. 
He grew up during The Depression in Pomeroy in Meigs County in a family, which like many others in that era, were struggling to make ends meet. He graduated from high school, but then went out West to work with the Civilian Conservation Corps to earn needed money for his family. 
When he came to Pomeroy, married and began to raise a family, he was employed as a distributor for the Jackson-based 7 Up Bottling Co. He was later promoted to the position of sales counselor, which prompted our family’s move to Jackson. He was later promoted to assistant manager, then manager over a decent-sized plant, which today serves as the home of Iron City Pipe & Supply at 330 E. Broadway Street. He climbed the ladder in spite of having no college degree or personal connections.
Second, Bob Wilson was a selfless, loving and nurturing family man and father. Like many other boys, I loved, adored and looked up to my father. There was discipline meted out in our household and we children were made to feel accountable for our actions, but there was never emotional anger or screaming and paddling was more of a threat than a practice. 
Even though my father was a busy man who worked long hours, he often made time to throw a baseball or football with me in the side yard and to ask how things were at school. He was more excited about my first Minor League baseball hit at the old Mound Street diamond than I was. He was proud of my major (and even minor) boyhood accomplishments and made me feel like I was better than I really was. Consequently, this made me want to be even better because pleasing Dad was important to me.
Third, my parents brought me up as a very active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson. We seldom missed a Sunday School class or the Sunday worship service and I was expected to learn, not just attend and sit. I religiously (pun intended) studied my Sunday School lessons, read much of the Bible and came to know that Jesus Christ was the real superhero of all time. 
Although I’m not a church goer today, my Christianity and its important values were cemented in my being at an early age.
All of this brings me to a second memorable date in my life: July 28, 1965. Early that evening, Bob Wilson collapsed in our back yard where he was playing badminton with his three kids. As it turned out, he was the victim of a massive heart attack. In those days, there was no Jackson County EMS and its corps of trained paramedics. 
Indeed the ambulance service at the time was provided by the local funeral homes. One of those hearses rushed my dad to Oak Hill Hospital, but it was too late to save him. My mom came back home without my dad to three sobbing children who couldn’t understand how their father could be taken from them at the relatively young age of 46.
And that was the final lesson he taught -- in the most painful fashion possible. It’s important to cherish life and live it to the fullest while also loving our family members and friends. After all, we never know when it will all be taken from us.
Happy birthday, Dad. 
That’s About It… Be Seeing You.