11/10/2019-R.I.P. – My Dad (Robert W. Johnson)

-For years I absolutely dreaded this day, as well as two more (at least) like it to go. Of course, I know that, at some point, both my Mom and Dad-as well as my baby boy cat Scruffy-will pass but that always seemed to be off in the distance, that there would be enough time to do so many things…That is now but one of many beliefs that have been strained, if not shattered, with the passing of my Dad…

-I’m not going to mention much of his background here. Dad was pretty private and didn’t even want an obituary but I made that decision because it was for me. I didn’t want him to just fade away without something out there. The same is with my Mom (even more so) but I will also do the same when that time comes. I guess this means that “WAYNE-THE BOOK” (probably not the name) might actually happen… It would probably be a memoir-unless I somehow become famous enough and/or have a large enough audience willing to buy a WWJ biography…or maybe it will all just end up here on my personal site. I don’t know but I digress…

-As seen in his obituary, my Dad was a member of The United States Navy in the 1950s and served when the Korean War was happening. He was on several ships and was on a tour in the Far East when he met, and eventually married, my Mom-who is from Taiwan. It may seem alien today, but back then a marriage between a Caucasian and an Asian wasn’t looked upon too favorably by many. They loved each other so much though, and while my parents had it hard, they got through it all and eventually had me-although there were times when I almost didn’t make it. Several times…

-My Dad was an engineer after the Navy with General Electric. Sometime before he retired the branch here (Syracuse, NY) was taken over by Lockheed Martin. His job had him traveling to many places including The Marshall Islands, where we lived for a number of years. While I have some memories of times before Kwaj (the main island was called Kwajalein-basically a 3 by 5-mile island), my strongest earliest memories were from my time here. The Marshall Islands are 2,100 miles southeast of the Hawaiian Islands. One of my favorite childhood memories was getting hooked on Star Wars at this time. In order to go to The United States (as well as back to Kwaj), you had to stop at Hawaii (usually Oahu) and sometimes we’d stay for a week or two. There was a theater there that played Star Wars for years and every time we were on that island I’d beg my Dad to see it and he would do so every time-so I got to see the original Star Wars movie multiple times on the big screen.

-Eventually, we settled in Central New York. My Dad was a proud member of the NRA Golden Eagles and The American Legion-as well as several other organizations. He loved his country and was very patriotic but even more so, he loved me and Mom. His main priority-right to the end-was to protect us and make sure we were taken care of. Growing up, he never forced me to do things-letting me make my own choices (mostly 🙂 ) and helping me to correct course (and sometimes totally overhaul things) when needed. He was always so supportive of me in what I wanted to do-even when, perhaps, at times when he shouldn’t have been…

-He was also a man of few words, for the most part. Anyone who knows me knows how driven I can be and how, at times, I can’t see the forest for the trees so to speak. Just ask my exes 🙂 But I did begin to finally recognize this a couple of years ago and we talked more and more as time went on. In addition, we also watch movies together, whether at home or in the theater. The last movie we watched together was “Avengers Endgame.” I’m so glad for all of that-although, of course, I wish there was so much more…

-I won’t be saying so much here at this time but I will recall a few great memories. Dad loved to read and he has a book collection that makes mine look sparse. I was so glad I got him into reading books by David Baldacci. Great stuff and highly recommended. Another one was that my Dad was a big fan of Johnny Carson and many years ago I bought him, for Christmas, a multi DVD set of Johnny Carson shows. He would play that over and over. One that I specifically remember was an interview with a musician who sang his favorite song “I Remember You” by Slim Whitman. I actually brought a small boom box to his room and a CD of Slim’s that he’d just ordered. Ironically, it wasn’t until the last week when I realized the song before “I Remember You”, which was the second song, was a song called “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine” which hit me really hard. I searched YouTube for it, but they have an older version up that isn’t the same. Perhaps I’ll upload it myself one day and share it here in the future… You can check out the lyrics HERE. Below is that clip from the Johnny Carson Show, complete with Slim singing “I Remember You.”

-Dad was from the generation where you don’t go to the doctor unless you really have to-and maybe not even then. Even as far back as around June/July when he was starting to have issues (at least that I started noticing-maybe a little earlier than that), he still insisted that he be the one who drives me to the airport so I could get the rental car for filming on JOHNNY Z– even though it was obvious something was off. Dad is very strong so whatever was happening, he’d just grin and bear it; saying he’d be fine-and I’d believe him. Even when things got worse, he would say not to worry. I’ll never know if he knew how serious things were and didn’t want me and Mom to worry-especially my Mother. By the time I basically forced him to go to the emergency room via an ambulance (he chose St. Joesph’s), he looked a little defeated. Maybe he knew what was to come…

-Dad was at St. Joesph’s for a little over a month, with one overnight stay at a nursing home which was a disaster… Lots of ups and downs throughout all of this. I missed one day (I can’t even remember why) but otherwise I was there to visit him all the other days-many times twice per day. The majority of the people I encountered there were wonderful, caring people. Having said that, there were some people/events/situations that still don’t sit well with me. There were even times when I felt like I was in a bad drama movie… I was able to talk to Dad a lot and consider each day that I could a blessing. I was able to say goodbye, that I loved him, say what he meant to me and more-all numerous times. All of which (as stated before) I consider a blessing cause some don’t get to do that… There was still so, so much more though… One of my core beliefs is “where there’s life, there’s hope.” With all that has happened during this time, this is now one of those beliefs that I mentioned earlier that is strained if not shattered. Everything has now changed. Everything…

-One of the reasons I wanted to be there so much and would’ve been there all day every day if I could was that if the worst happened, I’d be there and he wouldn’t pass alone. I didn’t believe it would happen (I still had faith-no matter what anyone said), but Dad always taught me to do my best in being prepared for the worst-and it came… On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at 8:15 PM, my Dad passed away and I was there at his side, holding his hand and feeling totally crushed. The anguish inside…

-There’s a lyric line from the Butch Walker song “Father’s Day” that’s been running in my head for weeks…

“You don’t become a man, until you lose your Dad…”

-I guess it’s time for me to (finally) grow up now…You’ve done so much for me and Mom… Goodbye, my Silver-Haired Daddy…You are forever with us in our hearts and I now hope there is an afterlife so that we can all meet once again. I love you & miss you so much Dad. So very, very much…

RWJ OBITUARY-KRUEGER FUNERAL HOME

RWJ OBITUARY-THE GRAND HAVEN TRIBUNE

RWJ OBITUARY-THE POST STANDARD

As per his obituaries, if you’d like, in lieu of flowers please make a donation in his name to The US Navy Memorial…

THE UNITED STATES NAVY MEMORIAL

About Wayne W. Johnson

Hiya-this is WWJ & thanks for dropping by to my site! I hope you enjoy your visit to my home away from home online. If you have any questions, comments and /or concerns about this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thanks & best wishes to you & yours!
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4 Responses to 11/10/2019-R.I.P. – My Dad (Robert W. Johnson)

  1. Al Gates says:

    Beautiful my friend…I was by dads side when he passed also…and I was also crushed,seeing a man who was the picture of strength fade through the years. He could still outrun me at 60 years old and at 69 got cancer…a brain tumor …it took 11 months to kill him..and 11 days in the end without any food or water , his body was in such good health it would not shut down…been there….love you my brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul kimiak says:

    Very well spoken wayne,I’m shure your dad would be proud.

    Liked by 1 person

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