I started dating your daughter while you were living in New Mexico. All I heard from her was what a great guy you were. You were her protector. She told me how you would take her on dates when she was having a really challenging day.
Then, I met you. We decided to visit your family during a school break, and I had decided to ask for your permission to marry your beautiful Catie. When we arrived in New Mexico it was dark. You were waiting for us at a gas station. Then, you got out of the car. I wanted to turn around and go home. Catie had told me you were tall, but she never told me you were a giant. You could smash me with one hand. How could I ask you to take one of the most precious things to your heart? Catie asked me to ride in the front seat with you. I wanted to say, "Um, that's ok, I'll ride with Jesse." But, I didn't. As I clung to the door, you proceeded to describe the road to your house.
While I thought you were a giant in size, I soon learned that you were a giant of a man. You agreed to let me marry your daughter if she so desired even after I kicked over your soda, dumped chocolate milk down your piano, and spilled my glass of water all over the restaurant table as I was asking for permission. I could see the love you had for your children.
At our wedding, you gave us a toilet paper roller as a present because you were told the one in our apartment was too far away to reach. You also gave me a starter tool kit, which you expanded throughout the years. You cried during the reception as you danced with my beautiful wife, your sweet daughter.
After our wedding, our relationship was somewhat distance due to the physical distance of several hundred miles. However, you were always there for us despite the distance. When my brother died, you dropped everything to come for my wife and me. Shortly, after that you moved your family back to Utah so that you could be closer to family. Your children are always first in your life. In fact, now that I think about it, you always placed your family ahead of anything.
After you moved to Utah, you were a tremendous help to all of us. I was even a little jealous because if we ever needed something fixed around our house or apartment, Catie would call and ask you to help us fix it. But you were always there either to offer your advice or to try to fix the problem. I often got frustrated because I wanted to do it the quick, cheap way while you were concerned about doing it the correct, fixed way. After I tried my way, we ended up doing it your way anyway and it worked. You were always willing to give of yourself for us. You would rearrange your schedule so that you could help fix out house or give Catie a ride somewhere or help us move. If I ever wanted a new tool, I could always tell you something was broken that required that tool. Every time you came to fix something or I told you something needed to be fixed, you always bought the tool or set of tools that were required and they always remained when you left.
In addition to helping us, you were always there for your other children. Sometimes I think we asked so much of you. Every time we called you doing something for one your children or your spouse, such as giving them a ride or fixing a washer and dryer.
Even in the end, you were more worried about others. While you were in the hospital, you were concerned about those visiting you whether they had somewhere to sit or something to eat. You were so frustrated when you were the one who needed help. I could see your frustration and wished that I could help.
Although you started as a scary man who I was sure would hate me for taking away your daughter, I have grown to love you. You made our lives so much easier. As a father-in-law, you became my father. I'm going to miss you Pop. I'll try to take care of your daughter in a way that would please. I hope that we can all remember your example and give as much you gave.
Randy Holladay, my father-in-law, known as Pop, died yesterday, April 7 around 10:00 from pancreatic cancer.