In our Father's Day edition last year, John wrote about his dad, Kenneth Pantalone. It's my pleasure this year to share a few words about my dad, Robert Hammack. During our family Father's Day dinner yesterday, I asked my dad what he viewed as the foundations of his character and what he most wanted to pass on to his children and grandchildren. This started a long family discussion over how my father was raised, what he valued, and what we, his children, saw and appreciated in him.
As the oldest (and only girl in the family), my father made sure I knew how to fight. Growing up, he had experienced pretty difficult circumstances, so he wanted to make sure that I could look after myself and my two younger brothers. I remember vividly his directions on how to make a fist and where to land a stunning blow. This was particularly important to me as we moved all around the world - kids can be tough to the outsiders. Fortunately I only had to employ this once or twice (well, maybe more…).
Of course that’s not all Dad taught me (though perhaps the most impactful :-) He also stressed the importance of curiosity. He is always fluent on the latest global political happenings, always learning new skills, and always keeps up with the latest technology. I remember being the only kid on the block with an IBM PC Junior back in the early 80’s.
One thing that stood out from the conversation among my siblings was that my dad has an amazing work ethic. He started out doing chores as a child, took on jobs after his dad died when he was 16, and is still going strong at 77. In addition to repairing and renovating his home, he operates a small cattle farm. Our father worked hard and expected us to follow in his footsteps. His advice was to work hard, but to work smart and to try to find work that you enjoy.
In hindsight, I also chose my husband based on these criteria. John and my dad share many similarities, but none more so than their exceedingly high standards. Each of them works from sunrise to sunset, and they never compromise on their quality of work. They never quit when they're tired - only when the job is done.
Dad has accomplished a great deal in his 77 years. He's fought in wars, traveled the world, raced cars, built refineries, owned his own business, coached little league, led church groups, and raised a great family. I am tremendously proud of my dad and cannot wait to see what he accomplishes in the future.
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