Inspirational People

Posted on 01/21/11 22 Comments

Following up on my last post, Angela asked me how I would answer the question; who was the most inspiring person I knew or a most inspring moment of my life. I started just responding to Angela’s question in the comments section, but then got carried away and it turned into a post!

Whether any this is of interest to anyone other than my relatives (which btw takes into account a great number of people:)) here goes.

The answer to that question Angela would have been my father. Both of my parents were an inspiration to me but my father is who I thought of first. He was a simple man with no higher education but his decisions were innately wise.

Looking back at who he was still has me in awe. Right up to the day he was killed in a car accident at the age of 80 years old he worked out 5 or 6 days a week by lifting weights & riding a stationary bike (he actually turned over the 10,000 mile mark on that bike more than once!)

He rarely watched TV and if he did it would never be anything violent — only happy shows — Disney was his favorite but he also liked the Chevy Chase Christmas movies.

In spite of his sweet tooth, he ate very healthy without trying to be healthy — it was just his preferences. He started every morning with a whole grain cereal (slow cooked Red River cereal), he preferred to eat only a salad for one meal of his day and always ate whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and drank tons of water every day. He was an early riser, rarely sleeping in past 5:30 am (I take after him with that one:)).

My dad with 2 of my nieces at his 80th birthday party.

My dad at his 80th birthday party with 2 of my nieces (Becky & Joy).

He never “read up” on being healthy — he just innately make good choices in his life. I honestly never heard him raise his voice in my entire life — not once and the coursest language that I ever heard come out of his mouth when he angered was “. . .so help me Hannah!” and that was usually directed at the frustration of something he was trying to fix or build. He loved music of all varieties (another trait I share) including modern Rock and Hip Hop and Rap and had the greatest most infectious belly laugh you ever heard.

If he wasn’t doing something for his family he was lending a hand helping to someone else who needed it. As a hobby he built things — a house and 2 cottages — all alone (except for the extra hands of my brothers) — the wiring, the plumbing everything. He read his Bible every day and never missed any opportunity to tell us how how much he loved us. His family and his faith were, by far, the most important things in his life.

When we were kids any time my sister and I would argue he would say “girls, girls love one another now . . . boys never fought like that.” It was his way of interupting our pattern and invariably we ended up laughing at him and stopped arguing. It pretty much worked every time.

His most common phrase to me later in life was; “Susan I hope you are taking time to smell the roses on your way to all of your successes” — he would say that to me over and over. It took a while . . . but I think I am finally beginning listen :).

The most inspiring moment of my life would be a tie between the day I met John (we didn’t start dating for almost 10 years after that) and the afternoon I got to spent talking to Coach John Wooden’s at his home.

John, Coach Wooden, myself and Greg Louganis . . . a memorable afternoon!

The most inspiring “famous” person I have ever known would also be a tie between; Coach Wooden and Olympic Diver Greg Louganis. Both wonderful, human beings with an obvious caring for others that makes them stand out as inspiringly unique.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts about my father with all of you . . . thanks for asking Angela!


  1. Penny Mead says:
    Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 10:27pm

    I was introduced to Recipe For Joy from a friend of mine, Peta Clarke. I truly believe that Peta lives every word of this recipe every day … I am sure many of you know her and have been uplifted by her.


  2. Alison says:
    Monday, January 24, 2011 at 10:11pm

    Susan, your post reminded me of a great song called ‘The Man in the Picture’. Not sure if you have heard it before, but here’s a link on Youtube for it:

    One of the ABC radio commentators (in Oz) plays it every Fathers day.


  3. brittsdeux says:
    Monday, January 24, 2011 at 4:45pm

    Oops, so sorry. Posted too soon. I see the original post on youtube was not accurate. I’m sad to say Ginger Rogers died at age 92. I’m not sure who the dancer is. Sorry to post without checking. But she is older and still is fantastic for her age and still inspires me!


  4. brittsdeux says:
    Monday, January 24, 2011 at 4:42pm

    I am inspired almost daily by the folks I encounter. But this video was sent to me today and it truly raised the bar. Here is Ginger Rogers dancing her heart out (and her legs off) at age 92! I only hope to live such a long, fulfilling life! Watch past the first minute (its a tease) to get to the grooviest stuff! She will surprise you! ENJOY!


  5. Cherie and Dogs says:
    Monday, January 24, 2011 at 1:10pm

    Hi, great post and very well told. If only everyone could have an insparational dad like yours. Sounds like a great guy.


  6. Debbie Middlemiss says:
    Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 3:37pm

    Great story and wonderful memories of your Dad, Susan.
    I guess I have some things to thank my Dad for. I was 12 when he died, he was 47. He would often threaten to belt me and my brother with his belt! if we didn’t behave, children were seen and not heard!- he never did hit us, but the threat was enough for both of us to be terrified of him. We were never allowed a pet, when he died both my brother and I pestered our Mum to get a dog. We got one within 2 months of his death. Pepe was so much fun and she fastly became the source of so much pleasure and inspiration within the family.

    I have owned/trained 6 dogs since. They certainly have taught me so much about myself.

    This isn’t meant to be a post for people to feel sad, I’ve only just realized when reading other posts what we have to thank our fathers for. For me, I thank my father for the introduction of dogs! lol


  7. Helen KIng says:
    Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 11:50pm

    Great story and wonderful photo Susan! Our dads were very similar. I never heard my dad raise his voice either or swear. He did love the boob tube though 😉 AND he also was careful about what he ate and was naturally slim. He too was an early riser and hard worker.
    My mother, well, not so much.


  8. Becky Golatzki says:
    Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:48pm

    Your post also reminded me of my dad. He never trained a dog in his life (well, actually, now that I think of it he did take his old springer to obedience class) but much of what I know about dog training I learned from him, and I suspect the same is true of you and your dad. He and my mother were both very good at getting the behavior they wanted from my sister and I, and isn’t that what dog training is about too?

    I also have seen Ron run his golden and he was truly inspirational. It’s been a while (we would see them at the Crown Classic at Christmastime and haven’t been the last several years) and I hope they are still doing well. Did the clip ever air on TV? I would love to see it.


  9. Penny Mead says:
    Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 5:17am

    Rob and Susan …. brilliant stories so vividly told, it shows what a mark your dad made on you, and now many other people.


  10. Lise Pratt says:
    Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 2:17am

    Your stories about your father remind me so much of my dad.
    Marcy and I cut a month of our senior year of high school. When we finally got caught – by my mother who came to the barn to see if that is where we were – she said “wait till your father gets home.” We got home minutes before curfew and when we walked in he looked up and said “I am very disappointed in you.” then closed his book and went to bed.

    We both did everything in our power to never disappoint him again! I am thankful every day for having the most wonderful parents in the world! Thanks for sharing personal stories of inspiration with us.


  11. Mary-Lynn says:
    Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 1:51am

    Hi, I’m Mary-Lynn, Susan’s younger sister. I have countless wonderful memories of my Dad. There is barely a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. I remember my evening ritual as a kid, which lasted pretty much until I went to university, as soon dinner was finished, I’d quietly slip over to Dad and sit on his lap. Sometimes I’d dunk my cookie into his tea. Susan and I were always doing that, leaving crumbs in the bottom of his cup. But he didn’t care. I also remember countless times he would drive me to or pick me up from places, at any hour or distance. He was a committed father who was always there for his children – or anyone who needed him. But what inspired me most about my Dad was how he was a living example of the faith he professed. He firmly believed that his role on earth was to use his God-given talents to serve the Lord and to serve others. He was a remarkable man who left a remarkable legacy.


  12. lynne brubaker says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:07pm

    I count my blessings every day, of which there are many. My most cherished is having and inspirational and loving father. I enjoyed reading about yours.


  13. Rob says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 5:56pm

    I am Susan’s older brother, second in line of nine children. One of the most vivid memories I have of Dad was when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I was playing by the front door vestibule with my younger brother Keith. There was an empty wooden box there that we were taking turns hiding in it. Dad stuck his head in and said “I hope you are not playing in that box”. I lied to him and said we were not, however my brother was in the box at the time. Dad closed the door, Keith came out of the box then Dad opened the door – busted. Dad did not say a word he simply looked me in the eye with a very sad look on his face and closed the door. I never lied to him again.
    Dad died in a car accident while on the way to visit two of my daughters Rachel and Becky as well as their cousin Samantha (Vicki’s daughter) who were attending university in St Stephen NB. That morning Dad called me on my cell phone as I was going to work and asked for directions to were the kids were staying. The last thing I said to him in this life was that I loved him. I still miss him dearly.


    • Susan says:
      Friday, January 21, 2011 at 8:01pm

      @Rob, that is just like when he found out I was smoking. I was in univeristy at the time, Mary-Lynn (our younger sister) warned me that my parents found out and I was going to be confronted. I was ready, loaded for bear, ready to let them know I was old enough to make my old decisions.

      Well when I got home Dad called me upstairs into the study and said he wanted to talk to me. He sat beside me on the couch looked me in the eye and said “your mother and I heard you have taken up smoking, which surprised us because you have always been such an athlete.” Before I could respond he added “I just wanted you to know that I am a bit disappointed.” With that he got up and left . . . and of course I quit smoking:).


  14. Brigitte says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 1:30pm

    I don’t know if you have posted this wonderful TED talk by Coach Wooden before:
    It is well worth listening to this great and wise man!


    • Karen M says:
      Monday, January 24, 2011 at 5:36am

      A truly inspirational person indeed.


  15. Bonnie says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 11:09am

    Susan, I have a story about a person who attends our local agility trials. His name is Ron Heller, and he has Cerebral Palsey. Therefore, his motor skills make it even more difficult for him to run a course. His golden retriever, KD, was a marvelous dog to watch. They were truly in synch. You could always tell when Ron and KD came to the line; the ringside went very quiet. We’d watch his run and when they finished, we roared.
    One year KD was honored by the American Kennel Club with an ACE award for exemplary companion dog ( In preparation for giving the award, Animal Planet came to our little, local trial to film Ron and KD run a standard course. Walt Disney could not have written a more perfect script. It had been raining that morning, but when Ron came in the ring, the clouds parted and the sun came through. He and KD had a perfect run–a Q!–and we were all clapping, laughing, and crying at the same time. We were so happy to have him have his spotlight and do so well.
    The thing that is so inspirational about Ron is that he doesn’t want any special treatment. He runs his dog differently–with a lot of distance handling since he can’t run–but all the rules apply to him just like everyone else. Now when I hear people whine about a tough course, bad conditions, or “unfair” treatment, I smile. Ron has taught me how wonderful it is to just be here, to play, to compete.


  16. Cathy says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 9:37am

    Susan, thanks for these two posts. When I read your post yesterday,I thought about who had inspired me and I was surprised at my first thoughts. I wasn’t going to share this until I read your post today. My Dad and yours sound alot alike, strong, quiet, hardworking outdoors men.But, my Dad’s biggest inspiration to me was in his death.Dad loved the outdoors, was a farmer and could work on anything mechanical.He was hardly ever sick until he was diagonsed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer that had spread to his bones.When the MD gave him 2-3 weeks to live,he went into a skilled nursing facility close to me.Instead of weeks, he lived 8 months,totally bedridden and dealing with constant pain.But the true inspiration that he left me with was the grace and ability to make the most of each day. He always had a smile on his face, enjoyed every day and especially the many friends that came by to be with him. He always had a thank you for his care givers after they changed or bathed him. For such an independent, outdoorsman,this had to be very difficult. His last days were enjoying his friends, and watching the squirrels and birds play in the feeder outside his window. I had the privilege of being with him when he quietly took his last breath. Daddy inspired me to enjoy every day and celebrate the little things. When I returned to agility, it was with a whole new outlook. Enjoy the journey and the destination will take care of its self.With tears in my eyes, I say thanks DAD and thanks Susan for encouraging me think about this.


  17. Shelley says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7:25am

    I wish everyone in the world had a Dad like yours! What a wonderful man.


  18. Lynda Orton-Hill says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7:23am

    I only met Susan’s dad’s once – he came to the school and Susan was teaching outside to a large group of students – I asked him if he wanted me to tell her he was here… he said no – he settled into the back of the group – I asked if he had ever seen her teach…he said no. What I remember was the big smile on his face from in behind the group. Some things in life are priceless.


    • Susan says:
      Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7:57am

      @Lynda; thanks for reminding me of that. Our regular help called in unavailable for that camp (it was back when we served everyone lunch) and my dad came to my rescue at the last minute offering to help serve lunch and wash dishes.


  19. Angela says:
    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:34am

    Thanks for answering…made my day.


Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

slide one
slide two