Dad: 1945-2010 (A Letter Of Reference)

Dad passed away peacefully this morning. There will be a gathering of some sort and New Zealand is simply too far to go to make it in time. As such I planned ahead and wrote this farewell piece several weeks back for when it was needed. He was still able to read it then and understand.
Everything I wrote about my father is true. Only after I finished the piece did I realize that everything I had written was also about me. Or at least what I would like to be true about me. Much of the content of our lives is different, but the style is so much the same.
To Whom It May Concern.
Please allow me to introduce Warwick Kay. Warwick has been working in his chosen field for some 65 years, spending the last 40 of them in my employment. As he is undecided on his next career move, this letter of reference will have to remain general in tone. Suffice to say I firmly believe that in whatever capacity he is employed in the future, he will remain as well liked, productive and diligent as he has been with us these many years.
Warwick is a man of remarkable intelligence and thought. Despite a lack of formal higher education he has a way of finding a new approach to old problems that often solves them. Likewise while he is grounded in what is possible and is free of magical thinking, he is not afraid to dream up something big. Simply put, if Warwick says something can be done, despite the appearance of his idea being impossible to outsiders, he can actually follow through and do it.
Warwick is fiercely competitive. He will with dogged determination do whatever it takes to find a way to win, whether that takes a single try or the better part of a decade to breakthrough to the pinnacle, he will keep hammering at it. Though he is competitive that zest for victory comes with a keen sense of fair play and what is right. Not only will he beat you within the rules, he sticks to the spirit of the rules’ intention too.
Warwick has an excellent sense of humor and fun. His personal hygiene is adequate.
Warwick is also generous with his willingness to offer help when asked. He offers advice without seeking manipulation of the asker into somehow benefiting himself.
Warwick is a builder. Whether that be; a terraced garden where there was just a wicked sloping backyard, an International level Go-Kart track where there was a swamp, a top quality bed and breakfast where there was just a house, or a friendship where there were strangers, he always leaves where he has been placed better off for his passing through.
As minor counterpoints to this glowing report; occasionally boisterousness has resulted in uncalled for wear and tear to company vehicles, also his sick day use recently has been somewhat excessive.
Athol Kay
Mum and Dad met on a blind date and were married 45 years. Dad tried his best to overcome the cancer and played a good defense for over two years. Mum nursed him at home until the end.


  1. You were lucky to have him, Athol.

  2. My condolences to you, Athol. Your father sounds like a remarkable man. You were certainly fortunate to have had such a good father.

  3. Keoni Galt says:

    My Condolences Athol. This was a touching tribute. RIP Warwick.

  4. I am very sorry for your loss. You had a wonderful father and clearly a fabulous role model.

  5. over from the nmmng site, sorry to hear of your loss, you father and I are the same age.

    I remember the moment my father passed away, nothing prepares you for this really. time is a good bit of medicine.

    you should post this on nmmng.

  6. I'm sorry for your loss Athol.

  7. Thank you for all the kind comments.

  8. Lickety Split says:

    I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my father two years ago and the last two years have been quite "strange" for me. I hope that you find peace and comfort in the great admiration you have for the man that your father was.

  9. My sincere condolences, Athol. This is a lovely tribute, and it pleases me to know that he had the chance to read it before he passed on. I'm sure it pleased him, too.

  10. Antigone Amplified says:

    My best wishes and condolences to you and yours at this sad time, Athol.

    (Saw this and it reminded me of the work you do on this blog>>>>>>"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother")

  11. I'm sorry to read about your loss, Athol. It sounds like he was a great guy, and I'm sure I would have liked him

  12. Beau Nertaun says:

    It sounds like a good man raised a good man.

  13. I had thought that too Antigone, but it is kind of you to say it.

  14. My condolences also. My dad passed away this year too, and I know very well what you mean when you say you want the things you can write about him to be true about you. The highest aspiration I can think of is to be worthy of carrying my dad's name.

    I think they would've gotten along pretty well.

    Best wishes, Athol.

  15. My sincere condolences, Athol. I never knew my father. I think he died somewhere, but I'm not really sure. All he left me were his genes. Pretty good ones, I'm thankful, but still… Far from me to want to try to cheer you up in such a moment, but it is better to have and have lost, than to not have had at all.

    Olivier L.

  16. Meg at Demanding Joy says:

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I've been there – you'll be in my thoughts. ~Meg

  17. thinking about you…. I share your pain

  18. Susan Walsh says:

    I'm sorry to hear of your dad's passing, Athol. My thoughts are with you. He lives in your remarkable intelligence and thought, and of course your sense of humor and fun.

  19. Thanks

  20. Ironchefoklahoma says:

    Athol, I'm sorry to hear of your loss. You'd written bravely of your preparations for his passing. No words are adequate, are they? I'll be sure to pray for your family.

  21. Sorry, Athol. I know how tough it can be to lose a loved one during holiday season. Don't feel guilty as you continue along as normal, but don't forget to let yourself grieve too.

  22. R. Stanton Scott says:

    Condolences, Mr. Kay. Your father sounds like quite a man.

  23. So sorry to hear of your loss. Hang in there.

  24. vincentignatius says:

    My condolences. I lost my father last year.

  25. My condolences, Athol.

    I wish I was closer with my father, but he's not that kind of man. I love him but I'm not sure how much I'll miss him after he's gone. Divorce truly can have long term results.

  26. Hey Athol…No words I say will take away your pain but I certainly want to give you my condolences on the loss of your father. You have a great support network that will help you through this difficult time.

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