From his daughter, Christina

My Dad taught me not how to survive, but how to live.

When I was just six years old, and we’d take the boat out onto the Long Island Sound, my Dad would hoist me onto his lap and give me the wheel. I remember looking at the lobster pots in the water and imagining the propellers getting tangled in their nets. But my Dad would point far out in the distance. “See that building?” He guided my eyes to a dot on the horizon. “Steer towards that. Make little corrections to the wheel as you go, but always stay in line with that point.”

In many ways, that was how my Dad taught me to live life. “Don’t worry about the little things.” He’d say. “It’ll all work out, just focus on what you want to accomplish. You’ll get there.”

In high school we took a road trip to Florida to see his new house. My three sisters, two dogs, parents and I crammed into the “posa mobile” - as some of you might remember - and set out for the thousand miles ahead of us. But instead of punching an address into the GPS, my Dad pulled out a map, and looked for every place we could stop along the way. And the 24-hour road trip turned into a week long exploration through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Looking back now I don’t remember what we did in Florida, but I do remember the incredible scenery from Skyline Drive, the laughter of my sisters popping double bubble over their faces in the back seat, and the smile behind my Dad’s eyes in the rearview mirror. He was always teaching us to enjoy the journey, and live every day as if it were an adventure.

When I was planning for college, I called my Dad to talk about which schools were within our budget. “Don’t worry about the money.” He told me. “Money you can always make back, but you only get some opportunities once. Just do what makes you happy,” he said.

I ended up choosing the University of Maryland and could not have found a program more perfect for my passion in both art and business.

For Christmas that year my Dad handed me a heavy card. Inside it was a brass key.

“You are truly a special and unique kid.” The card read. “You have always demonstrated such a larger than life love, and someday you can hang this on your Christmas tree and think of me the way I think of you. The key is a symbol of the home I sold, and the home you’ll have to begin a life full of love and gratitude for all you have and all you can be. I love you so much - Dad.”

I closed the card and blinked tears from my eyes as I realized that my Dad had given the home beneath his feet to help me achieve what I wanted in life.

My Dad always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. He encouraged me to follow my heart, and to enjoy life’s journey along the way. 

I will miss him a million times more than I probably even know right now, but he will always be the guide in my heart. I love you Dad.