I have met Governors and Presidents but no man has been as important to me as him. I have worked with diplomats and Ambassadors but none have taught me more about tact and class.
When others discouraged, he encouraged. When others said no, he said yes.
I watched this lifelong Democrat denounce high taxes, city hall regulations and municipal red tape that first made me skeptical of government. And learned to be a Republican.
I watched him attend church on Sundays at Augusta Street United Methodist Church in Staunton, loyally never missing a Sunday. And I learned about faith.
I watched him work, hard, long days into his eighties – doing work that men in their 40’s, 30’s, even 20’s would shun. And learned about having a work ethic.
I watched him devote hours upon hours to his VFW Post, Thomas Field 7814, and country. And
I learned about duty, honor and love for country.
I watched him save his money, spend wisely, and faithfully give to the Church. And I learned the value of a dollar.
I watched him face trials and tribulations from outside forces with a smile. And learned compassion and forgiveness.
I watched him get sick and persevere for two years. And learned about courage.
I watched him stay married to the same woman for sixty years and raise seven children but haven’t seen my own father in twenty years. And I learned how to be a man.
I watched people’s eyes light up when they discovered I was his grandson. And I learned the value of a good name.
On July 30, 2009 – Oliver J. Tate, my grandfather died. And I learned that there was so much more I needed and wanted to learn from him. We miss you, Pop-Pop. R.I.P.