Reflections and Tributes from Jake's Four Boys...

Since Mom died 17 years ago, Dad and I talked on the telephone nearly every evening when he got back from dinner.

While the conversations usually centered on the day's activities, family news, the weather and the changing seasons, and what was going on at the farm sometimes they switched to matters of great importance.

Dad always managed to communicate his steadfast love and his deep interest in the lives of his boys and their families.

As his health and mobility declined in the past several years, these regular phone conversations with me and with my brothers increasingly became Dad's connection to the world outside Palm Village.

Initially, I though that these daily conversations were of greater benefit to Dad but have come to realize that they were really Dad's daily gift to us.

I am going to miss talking to my Dad every evening... - Bob

My Father, by the world’s standards, was a simple man: he was not well educated, he was not wealthy, he wasn’t connected to the internet, and didn’t have a cell phone. But he did possess qualities that set him head and shoulders above what the world calls successful. Many are the lessons I have learned from my Dad, most of them delivered not by way of a lecture or with words, but through the way he lived his life.

Perhaps the greatest lesson my Dad taught me was that my Christian faith was not something to just talk about, it was something that should have an impact on my life’s actions. Many are my memories of my Dad giving tirelessly of himself to help a friend in need, to sit on a tractor long into the evening because he paused during the day to lend a hand to someone in need. Dad taught me that “faith without works is dead”. I will never forget those lessons, and I pray that I too can lend a hand whenever and wherever it is most needed, not for my own glory but to the glory of God.

Dad also taught me how to grow old. When Mom died, Dad grieved deeply, but he did not give up. He carried on, holding his family as his highest priority. I remember Dad sitting at his breakfast table, praying for each child and grandchild daily. When it came time to forego his independence, Dad graciously accepted what came his way. He never really liked the food, but he never really complained either. He was so very thankful for the wonderful and compassionate care extended to him by the staff at Palm Village.

Last week as Dad lay in his bed, I was able to tell him I love him and to thank him for being my Dad. He responded to me by saying he loved me, and that “he had done the best he could”. That is the memory of my Dad I will always cherish. He may not have been very verbal, nor was he well educated, but he certainly did give his best efforts at being the best Dad he could have been. I will miss his frequent phone calls, and the strong silent times we shared together. I will miss his steady example for me. - Norm

Aside from losing my dad I lost one of my best friends. We worked together for twenty years as business partners and still enjoyed each other's company. I will always cherish times like foggy days out pruning young trees together and hearing stories from his younger days. Dad taught me his great respect for his workers. He never forgot working in the fields when he came to California as a young man. He had a special regard for the Sanchez family, especially Angel, who worked for us for so many years. 

Dad was a simple man of integrity, honor and dignity. I am proud of the way he carried on after mom's death which was a devastating blow for him. He was always ready to see the humor in life. He faced his own death with strong faith and openness leaving me with a tremendous example not only of how to live but how to die as well. I sincerely hope that people will be able to say I followed dad's example when my time comes to an end. - Larry

During my grade school years, Mom and Dad had a routine. When Dad was out working in the fields, when I got home from school, she would send me out to Dad with a jug of iced tea and some cookies. Even on the hottest days, there was always one more cookie than Dad could eat and just enough left over tea for me to always have some too. As I grew older, I realized that this was his way of thanking me.

Another memory I have of Dad is his strong work ethic. I remember several occasions where needs came up in the church. One time a man fell and broke his hip right at Raisin harvest time. While others talked about how bad the timing of this was, Dad called a couple of friends to make sure this farmers crop got in. He hauled the raisins in and I remember vividly the fact that when the man recovered and tried to pay Dad, he refused any payments. He did it out of Christian love and care for his fellow man. - Ed