My father passed away yesterday. He was 89 years old.

This was the end of a long journey of illness which began with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease almost 20 years ago; congestive heart failure and finally dementia also took their toll. Of course, these are all diseases of attrition, so it truly was a long, slow goodbye. But he maintained a positive, optimistic spirit pretty much through it all, and was truly loved by the nurses and CNAs who cared for “Mr. John” at the nursing home where he resided the last few years.

I’ll post a more proper obituary once my brother and I get it written. For today, I thought I’d celebrate his life by posting a few pictures (Update, 1/17/13: you can read the obituary and my reminiscences about Dad by clicking here).

John and Sylvia McColman on their wedding day, December 14, 1945.

John and Sylvia McColman on their wedding day, December 14, 1945.

John and Sylvia McColman, December 29, 2003 — after 58 years of marriage. She would suffer a stroke 18 months after this picture was made, and would pass way 18 months after that.

John and Sylvia McColman, December 29, 2003 — after 58 years of marriage. She would suffer a stroke 18 months after this picture was taken, and would pass away 18 months after that. He would survive another six years after her passing.

One of my favorite pictures of Dad, an unusual shot of him without glasses, taken by my brother Don at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, mid-1970s (Dad would have been about the same age I am now).

One of my favorite pictures of Dad, an unusual shot of him without glasses, taken by my brother Don at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, mid-1970s (Dad would have been about the same age I am now).

Summer, 1981. I'm 20 years old, home from college, and pose with Mom and Dad for this church directory photo. They could not stand my hair, but managed to smile for the camera anyway.

Summer, 1981. I’m 20 years old, home from college, and pose with Mom and Dad for this church directory photo. They could not stand my hair, but managed to smile for the camera anyway.

On my wedding day, June 26, 1993: the groom and his father, still dashing at age 70.

On my wedding day, June 26, 1993: the groom and his father, still dashing at age 70.

June 15, 2008: Dad's 85th Birthday. He had recently moved to Georgia, and was still in assisted living at this point.

June 15, 2008: Dad’s 85th Birthday. He had recently moved to Georgia, and was still in assisted living at this point.

He’s being cremated today so we are going to plan the funeral for a time when his brother (my uncle from Michigan) and the other out-of-town family members can plan for a trip to Hampton, VA, where the service will be held. His ashes will be interred alongside my mother’s at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hampton.

Bon Voyage, Dad. Give Mom a kiss for me (incidentally, newcomers to this blog might enjoy reading about A Kiss from Mom and a Lesson About Suffering, concerning a dream I had concerning my Mom and Dad several years ago: after Mom had died, but Dad was beginning his long final journey of lingering in a body ravaged by Parkinson’s and dementia).