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Setting the Bar

They and their contemporaries have set the bar very high

I wasn’t going to write about this. But then I came to work Monday and edited Jeff Kramer’s column.

Kramer writes a remembrance of his father. Kurt Kramer died recently, and Jeff was in Seattle the past week for his father’s memorial service.

And I was in Tonawanda the past week for a memorial service for my father, who died at the end of July.

Read Jeff’s column this week and you’ll learn about a remarkable life: flight from Nazi Germany, work during the occupation of Germany, building a new life in America. And all the while, keeping a sense of humor about life that, all evidence suggests, has been handed down to his son.

My dad didn’t have much of a sense of humor. But he served in the Navy in World War II after graduating near the top of his class in radioman school, where most of the students washed out long before graduation. It was an accomplishment to earn a rating, much less to be a top graduate.

In woodworking, he was an artist. He built Richardson cabin cruisers until fiberglass killed the wooden boat, and he built fine furniture for the Kittenger Furniture Co. When the State Department came to Kittenger for fine boxes to be given as state gifts, Kittenger execs looked over the cabinetmakers and gave the job to my dad.

After retirement, when my mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, he made it his new career to care for her. He didn’t cook. He didn’t do laundry. He didn’t vacuum, wash the dishes or clean the tub. But he figured all that out when he had to, when he was caring for my mother.

Read their stories, and you can’t help feeling that they and their contemporaries have set the bar very high for me, for Jeff and for the generations to follow.

Good for them.

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LarryLarry Dietrich is the Editor-in-Chief at the Syracuse New Times.

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