Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Granddaddy

On Friday, March 12th, my Granddaddy celebrated his 94th birthday.  On Sunday, March 14th, he was called home to heaven.  My Granddaddy was a very formal man, a man of few words .   I talk incessantly, much to the frustration of my husband, and I wish I had inherited a little bit of Granddaddy's ability to stay quiet, listen more, and choose only the best time to speak and the best words to share.  Because of this, he had the unique ability to draw a deep desire out of me to please him, to make him proud.  He was a very accomplished man, although he would never say so.  At his funeral, based on the people that came to pay their respects, I learned what a tremendous influence he had on so many, always choosing to remain anonymous in the gifts of time and resources he shared.  He truly had a servant leader's heart and I am eternally grateful to have been in his arms as a young child, while my parents completed graduate school in Mobile.

Granddaddy would take me to my swimming lessons, always being more patient with me than my swim teacher, despite the fact that I never put my head under water until I was seven.  He took me to Whataburger or Krispy Kreme after swim lessons, and I remember watching him empty sugar packets into a teaspoon, wink and me and flash a big smile as he devoured his sweet treat.  I was not quite four years old then.  He never wanted us to go into the attic, despite the fact that inside that attic were treasures I still long to find now as an adult.  The second floor of my grandparents home has four sets of doors that lead to an attic that wrapped around the front of the house.  He told me he kept a live bear in the attic and for a while I believe him.  Granddaddy would secretly watch for my curiosity to be too much for me, hiding until I just barely turned that door knob and then growl the loudest bear growl you can imagine.  That is why my children (his only two great grandchildren), and the youngest of his twelve grand children who are still in college, call him Papa Bear. 

A funeral Mass was said for Granddaddy.  My cousin, Fred, and I read the two readings as the two oldest grandchildren.  Each of the remaining grandchildren read the Responsorial Psalms and the Prayers of the Faithful.  One of the prayers of the faithful in the Mass was this.  The true measure of greatness is not in worldly things but in the love and devotion of one's family.  We thank God for the example of this in our Papa Bear. 

Alfred Boyce Wettermark- longtime resident of Mobile, died at his home. He was 94 years old. He leaves behind his wife of 61 years, Helen McCown Wettermark; seven children, Alfred Boyce Wettermark (Urszula) of Fort Worth Texas, Irene Porter (Paul) of Mobile, Lawrence McCown Wettermark (Nancy) of Mobile, James Hart Wettermark (Joan) of Birmingham, Michael Daly Wettermark (Tina) of Fairhope, Mary Helen Espinosa (Carlos) of Managua, Nicaragua, and John Francis Wettermark of New Orleans; twelve grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Born in 1916 in Alexandria, Louisiana, he was the son of Alfred Wettermark of Nacodoches, Texas and Alexandria, Louisiana and Irene Boyce Wettermark of Boyce, Louisiana. He was a graduate of Spring Hill College and Harvard Business School. He served in the Navy during WW II aboard the USS Altair. Following the War his Navy service included coordinating supplies for the construction of Thula Air Base , the northern-most U.S. Military base in the world. He was the Supply Officer aboard the USS Wasp Aircraft Carrier and for Naval Air Station Pensacola. He retired from the Navy in 1962 at the rank of Commander. Following his Navy service he worked independently in real estate acquisitions, sales and land management as well as in financial investing. In Alexandria, he was a founding member of the Alexandria Aquatic Club and was active in civic and church affairs. He was partnered in numerous businesses including Hemenway Furniture Company and Guaranty Bank and Trust Company. In Mobile he was active in Kiwanis, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, Catholic Charities and his Parish of St. Ignatius, as well as his alma mater of Spring Hill College. He will be remembered for his intellect, wit, gentle nature, and humility. Most of all he will be remembered for his love and devotion to his wife and family.  He was a true Southern gentleman.


Steph said...

That's a very nice tribute. :) It is my grandaddy's birthday today, and this makes me think of him (he'd have been 86 today). Thanks for that.

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful tribute to your granddaddy!