Saying goodbye to my dad, my hero

Kent Kingsley's picture

Running for office is an all-consuming job. That was put into perspective for me recently when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. For me, family trumps everything; and reprioritizing my schedule to spend time with him during his last six weeks was a blessing I could not miss at any cost.

My dad lost his battle [June 16] and has gone on to be with my mom in heaven. I would like to take a brief break from politics and share some life lessons that I learned from my dad.

Dad was a career Navy fighter pilot. “Duty, Honor, Country,” those words capture my dad perfectly. It is no wonder that his generation is called the “Greatest Generation.”

He believed in service to your country, and he followed through when he signed up for the Navy in 1942 and served till 1963. He felt everyone should serve and give back some small measure of what the United States has given to us.

Dad’s word was his bond; his personal honor and the honor of the Navy were so deeply ingrained in him that they were inseparable. Dad loved our country; he faithfully flew our flag and always ensured that he retired the colors before dark.

Despite his grave concerns about the direction of our country today, he believed the country would right itself back to our historical constitutional conservative moral values of individual rights and freedom.

Dad was a wonderful, faithful family man. When my mother began to become very ill when I was small, Dad asked the Navy to take him off the “fast track” so he could be home more to look after Mom. Dad had his priorities straight. My mom’s long illness came to an end in 1982 with Dad at her side. What an example for his two sons.

Dad moved to Barnesville six years ago and my whole family was able to spend much more time with him. We loved spending several evenings a week with him, laughing, sharing memories and daily thoughts. Going with him on Friday night for suppers in Barnesville was a weekly treat and he relished our family dinners after church every Sunday. He loved the food and always saved room for ice cream, but his enjoyment was in being with his family. I’ll miss those times with him greatly.

Finally, Dad taught me that intelligence doesn’t equal wisdom or common sense. Wisdom comes with experience and reflection. Common sense on the other hand cannot be learned. He believed that if you applied common sense and a little wisdom, the answer to difficult decisions were generally fairly evident.

When I had an extremely important decision to make I would always talked it over with Dad. He never gave me his opinion, but he would always talk about all the things to consider in making that decision. Dad was my rock; he was my hero. He was always there when I needed him.

I’ll miss my dad. He was a true American patriot and my best friend. I could not have asked for a better father.

The lessons you taught me have shaped the man I have become; thank you, Dad.

[Kent Kingsley is a Republican candidate for Congress in the Third Congressional District which includes Fayette and Coweta counties. He is a retired U.S. Army Infantry lieutenant colonel, owns a small real estate company in Lamar County and lives in Milner, between Griffin and Barnesville. He is an advocate for the Fair Tax, balanced budgets and federal term limits. His website is kingsleyforcongress.com.]