Today I have the privilege of introducing you to a very
Last Saturday, he reached the notable milestone of 90 years on Earth!!
90 years of Living!!
He is the second of six siblings to make it to 90.
(His sister preceded him by a two years!)
My favorite name for him is “Dad”!!
He has other titles; Mr. Stough, Dr. Stough, Mr. Ken, Ken, Kenneth, Doc, Dad, Pappy, Great G-Pappy, Friend, Neighbor, Christ-Follower, Teacher, Professor, Fixer (if Pappy can’t fix it, no one can!), Gardner, Mathematician, Fisherman, Deacon, Short-term Missionary, Bible teacher, Story-Teller, Family-man, Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, etc. etc.
Dad would be the first to say he’s not perfect (humble is one of his titles too.) He would even share with you mistakes he sees in retrospect or misguided decisions. But, being perfect is not human. Yet, we can be wise enough to learn from them and even inform others to not make the same one.
Dad grew up as a Pennsylvania Dutchman on a farm. His roots are German and Lutheran. His family spoke Pa Dutch in their home and community; a dialect of German. Dad’s great grandfather was the first generation to settle in America. There were a lot of German settlers in the area, which is likely why he came to PA.
Dad’s parents worked hard to raise five of their six children. (Their first child, Rosalee, died shortly after birth.) They worked farms and farmed for other people. They were hardworking, sturdy stock! Horses were a necessity. Cows, pigs, and chickens were raised to feed them. Gardens were a given! Salted meats in crocks and canned foods sustained them through long months.
Dad’s father (my Pappy) recognized early on that Dad was a “gifted child.” Those are my words, I’m not exactly sure how he defined it. But, Dad recalls as a school boy helping fix things around the farm and before the age of ten, his father purchased him a small engine (which I’m sure was not in the budget) to take apart and put back together! Dad did it!! And much more!! Pappy knew his son and gave him the opportunity he could to encourage him intellectually. He also told my Dad he would finish high school. Most farm boys stopped at eighth grade to help on the farm. And then, my Pappy insisted Dad attend college.
Dad was the first person he knows of in his family to attend or graduate college! He didn’t just graduate. He graduated with a double major, finishing with honors. He taught High School Industrial Arts and got his Master’s Degree. After that, he took eleven summers to finish his Doctorate Degree. Then accepted a position as a Professor at the University of Maryland, leaving PA and spending the rest of his career in the Washington DC suburbs.
I could share many accolades Dad has accomplished, but by far the most prominent to me is how he loves! His love for God has never been questioned. It has prioritized his life! Even though he could have easily lived for the accolades of men and intellectual pursuits: his love for God is preeminent. He loves God first and those around him next. Career and accomplishments were way down the list: never the ultimate.
I have always felt loved by him!
Watching Dad love Mom the last few years has been an amazing gift for us. He slowly became the primary caregiver, chief chef and bottle washer. He took over the household chores when Mom’s mobility became difficult. He gave all and his best in caring for her. He never complained and quietly resigned himself to the new seasons they entered together. He “loved” out his wedding vows in living color. Mom knew he loved her, always!!
This could go on and on with stories (we have some stories!) and humor and ice cream and so much more!
Let me just say to all of us: if we had a great Dad, or if we didn’t:
HOW WE LOVE IS WHAT MATTERS!
It is the imprint we’ll leave on those around us! It is what Jesus commanded us to do! If actions are not from love, it will be noticed and lacking.
I’d like to thank my Special Guest for teaching me what love looks like and
for willingly loving me my whole life!
Happy 90th Dad!!!
Feel free to share with a friend(s).
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