Remembering Great Dads
Whenever I see this photograph, it takes me back to a simpler time in life when I was in college at the University of Missouri (MIZZOU).
My dad, Dave Baue was President of the Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) funeral service organization. My Grandfather, Art Baue, the founder of our family firm, was there at the conference. They were both looking at me and being a little on the shy side (I know that’s hard to believe for those who know me now) I was probably embarrassed by something my dad was sharing at the table as he was a man who always made me laugh and told somewhat embarrassing or corny jokes. Pop, as I called my grandfather looked like Colonel Sanders to me from Kentucky Fried Chicken and seemed to be in search of a waiter for a fresh cup of coffee.
Both men were wonderful fathers, each in their own way. Pop Baue came from very humble beginnings and was a man of German heritage who came from strong stock and a family with 11 siblings. He grew up on a farm and went to school in a small building with a dirt floor. He grew up speaking German and English and was of conservative Lutheran faith. During the Great Depression, he and his family moved to St. Louis to find jobs. He first was a shoe salesman and then met a mortician whom he apprenticed with to learn this trade. By the time he and my grandmother were married and had one son, they moved to St. Charles, MO to begin their new funeral home. Dad was born the middle child and he and his siblings were raised above a funeral home all their lives. As a grandfather, he taught me the same skills he taught my brothers. To hunt, to fish, how to take care of a farm, animals, and best of all (for me) how to ride and care for horses. Many an early summer I would go with him to their family farm to help with planting gardens, and to break in the horses & ponies for the season. I learned hard work and resilience from Pop who taught me how to be strong when I was bucked off a horse (every year), get back on, and show no fear. During difficult personal and business times of self-doubt, hardship, and failure, the skills I Iearned from Pop; he supported me to regain my confidence in myself and realize that I could overcome these times and become successful. I will always be grateful for these life lessons.
Dad was raised with a strong work ethic, faith, and a giving heart. He worked around the funeral home most of his life in all capacities. They didn’t have much money in the early days as they were in debt and growing a business and a family. Dad gravitated to community service early on, growing up as a boy scout to eventually becoming an Eagle Scout and volunteering for several charities. As a dad, he taught my brothers and me the importance of “giving back” to our community and volunteering to help others. Dad had a heart of gold, a smile for everyone he met, and was one of the kindest, caring, and funniest guys to be around. He taught me how to laugh at myself, not be so serious all the time and most days had me in tears with his jokes and funny stories. He also gave from his heart and soul to those in our community who were mourning. He missed a few of my activities when I was growing up, but I always knew it was because he was helping people. Dad believed in my future and encouraged me to go away to college and figure life out. When I became disillusioned with a former career, he invited me into funeral service. From that day on, my dad and I shared a common goal, the importance of caring for our community. He believed in me and made sure that I had some wonderful female professional role models to lean on for the future. Dad died way too young when he was 53 and I was only 30. I am grateful for all the lessons that he and Pop taught me through the years, I survived those early years and used the many life lessons they both taught to help grow myself as a leader along with our family business.
This Father’s Day may all you dads out there know that you are remembered and loved. And to all the children of dads, be sure you show your dads and grandfathers gratefulness for the many life lessons they taught you.
Many blessings for a wonderful Father’s Day weekend.