My favorite uncle died during open-heart surgery early in my 7th-grade school year. I know my memories of him are rose-colored, and unrealistic, but it’s hard to imagine a cooler guy. He could do it all, or at least all of the things that a cool uncle would want to do. Although I briefly smoked after he died, the effects of smoking on his health are largely why I have the negative reaction I do to the smell of cigarette smoke.
My father was a degreed Mechanical Engineer, who later attended a Baptist Seminary, and served as pastor of a small mission church for the first 3 years of my life. He was powerfully dedicated to pursuing the truth, even if that meant discarding long-cherished ideas and beliefs. If the ideas were wrong, Dad wanted to be the first to discard them.
My sense of humor came straight from Mom. She was an absolute nut to live with, and to this day my siblings and I pass around a “cuckoo clock” pendant that Mom loved, just to keep the spirit of the cuckoo alive. At Mom’s funeral, we reminded everyone that she would want to be remembered as someone who “put ‘fun’ into the word ‘funeral’.”