Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Tribute to My Father

It was ten years ago (July 26, 2007) when my father died at the age of 92 years, four months, and five days.
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
Hollis Clark Seat was born in Worth County, Missouri, on March 21, 1915. His Seat ancestors had lived in the same county since 1844, and he lived his whole life there except for a few years in the early 1940s. He was the fourth, and last, child of George and Laura (Neiger) Seat.
Hollis Clark Seat (1990)
Hollis entered the world as a small, sickly child. A neighbor woman remarked to his mother, “Laura, I don’t think you’re gonna to be able to raise this baby.” But he survived and had a normal childhood, graduating from high school in 1933. Then in 1935 he married his H.S. sweetheart, Helen (Cousins).
The year of 1937 was a terrible year for Hollis & Helen: he cut off the end of a finger at the lumberyard where he worked, and he also had to have an appendectomy. But worst of all, not only did they lose their five-day-old baby, Hollis’s mother died the same day.
But the young couple persevered. They bought a house (for $100!)  and fixed it up. I was born there in August 1938. After working as head of a small-town Kansas lumberyard then at the Sunflower Ordnance Works in the early 1940s, they bought a farm back in Worth County in 1945. They lived and worked there until he died. 
THINGS I ADMIRED ABOUT MY FATHER
There were many things I admired about my father. Let me list a few.
My father (HCS) was an honest man. From him I learned what it means to be a person of integrity. I never had to worry about, or question, him saying one thing and doing something else. As the old saying goes, his word was his bond.
HCS was a gentleman. I never had to be embarrassed by what he might say or do in public. He was never one to run down other people. It was clear that there were some people who did and said things he did not agree with, but he did not badmouth them or say hateful things about them—in public or in private.
HCS was a learner. He never went a day to college, but he was a lifelong learner—especially from reading the Bible and materials in preparation for the Sunday School classes he taught through the years. He also learned through travel: he and my mother made three trips to Japan and had traveled to all 50 states by the 1980s.
HCS was a good conversationalist. He likely never read How to Win Friends and Influence People, but he intuitively knew things that Dale Carnegie included in his bestselling book. Maybe that is a trait of rural northwest Missourians: Carnegie was born in Nodaway County, which borders Worth County on the west. I have often said that I admired how my father could talk with anyone about anything. That is partly because he knew how to listen and had a genuine interest in what other people were saying.
HSC was a dedicated churchman. He was a good and industrious farmer, but attending church services and serving Christ was of highest importance to him. Attending church and serving in and through the church always seemed to be a joy to him, never a burden or just an obligation.
A WORD OF APPRECIATION
Perhaps not many will be interested in this article about a northwest Missouri farmer who had no claim to fame. But I am happy to share these inadequate words about him and my appreciation for him.
Thank you, Lord, for my father!
*****
For those few of you who might be interested in reading some of my father’s short (ten-page) autobiography, here is the link to it.

20 comments:

  1. Leroy, a very touching tribute to your father, well said. I appreciate stories about families that had values such as you father. Looks like you inherited all of them also! Thank you. George M.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a firm believer heaven will be filled with the deeds of those who received little recognition here on earth. Your father will be honored for what he contributed directly and for those who followed in his steps. As one who is also the son of a farmer, this is a great tribute.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I commend you Leroy for your lovely article about your Kind&Wonderful father who I was privileged to know. I remember,as a young person, to visit your farm in the summer and help you strip Blue Grass-do you remember.
    You have carried some of your Father`s Good traits on into your effective&impressive life.
    You were born just 16 days before I was in the same little farm town in Northwest Missouri.
    I have been so Blessed to know both your Father&Mother and attending the same church in Grant City, where me and my family.
    I am confident that your parents are looking down from Heaven and seeing a son in whom they are extremely proud, as I am too!
    Bless you Leroy for `Honoring your Parents`,
    John(Tim) Carr

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, John Tim, for your kind words!

      Delete
  4. I appreciate Thinking Friend Ron Hornecker giving me permission to post his comments about my father.

    "Thanks for sharing about your father. Hollis and Helen were on the pastor search committee when we came to Grant City. Because the church was building the new parsonage and I was finishing my last semester at seminary, Loretta and I stayed with your parents every other weekend. Don and Pauline Masters were the other couple we stayed with. So, that created something of a special bond with your parents.

    Your dad was a true friend for a young preacher in his first full-time pastorate. You may remember that I generated some conflict because of my use of the RSV rather than the King James. As I recall, your father used the RSV himself. He was very supportive of me during my time as pastor and was one to whom I would go from time to time for advice.

    "One of the things I remember about him was his ability to ask questions. They were insightful and generally had a point to them that contributed in a positive way to whatever was being considered or discussed. He served on the building committee when we added the sanctuary to education building. That was a good experience working with him.

    "You may recall that Loretta and I went back to visit them 2-3 years before his death. They were still in their house out on the farm. They both had failed and were showing their age, which was hard to see. They had always been so full of life. I am glad we made the trip, although, I think it probably was more important for us than them.

    "Please know of my great appreciation for your father and how helpful and supportive he was of me in my first full-time pastorate, which was also a difficult pastorate because of my immaturity and inexperience. I have many fond memories of him."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Ron, for sharing these comments.

      Delete
  5. Here are comments by Thinking Friend Truett Baker, who was also one my parents' former pastors. His father was the pastor who performed my parents' wedding ceremony in May 1935.

    "I enjoyed your blog about your father. I can affirm everything you said about him in your tribute. When I think of character, I think of Hollis Seat. He was a great friend!

    "I had forgotten that my dad married them. I remember when my dad came to Grant City when I was pastor to help us with the church relocation and fund raising, that your parents and dad had a great time talking about 'old times.' What a heritage we both have!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since I have been away from home, I am slow in responding, Truett, but I much appreciate your comments also.

      Delete
  6. June's sister Joyce, shares these comments:

    "Wow, Hollis' autobiography amazed me, to be in his own words.

    "I always liked, admired and loved Hollis. I met him sometime prob in 1955-56 when you and June were dating. I remember Mom and me visiting Hollis and Helen at their home on your farm near Grant City, MO. I remember Helen made sun tea which I thot was amazing and oh my goodness, the delicious food she cooked! I enjoyed it.

    "When my Father Louis Andrew Tinsley died in Nov 1957 at age 47 yrs Hollis and Helen came all the way to S MO for Daddy's funeral. I was very touched. Hollis became a father figure to me in my mind and I admired him very much.
    "Thanks for sharing this and his excellent picture."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Joyce, for sharing these comments.

      Delete
  7. Leroy.. I never met either of your parents.. but I have been to that farm you grew up on .. I went to a Mueller fam reunion there and I suspect Ann is your sis.... I should have walked up to your dad's house and introduced myself... but I will just be satisfied knowing you .. sort of a vicarious relationship to all your fam. Yup .. been to the farm and Grant City twice.. so peaceful my soul begs to go back... I will... your friend.. Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gary, for writing and telling about being to the Seat home place, where Ann and I grew up and where my folks lived from 1945 until they died in 2007/2008. I wish we could meet in person sometime.

      Delete
  8. Leroy,
    Thanks for your personal and affectionate story of your father. It helps me to think about and thank my father.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ed,for reading and commenting.

      Delete
  9. As he often does, Thinking Friend Eric Dollard has shared significant comments:

    Thanks, Leroy, for the touching tribute to your father.

    "Your remarks remind me of my own father, who died in 1973, just two days before my 25th birthday. He was a smoker and his smoking eventually killed him. When he was in the hospital dying of emphysema, he told me, 'Eric, never take up smoking.' I never did.

    "My father had only a high school diploma and he did not read extensively, but as with your father, he was a kind, compassionate, and generous man, and that is how I wish to remember him.

    "So we have both been fortunate to have had kind, loving fathers. You were fortunate to be with your father for almost seventy years. I was with my father for only twenty-five years and I still miss him.

    "I am blessed to have been with my own son for almost forty years, and hopefully for many more."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Here are comments from my cousin, Linda Barber, whose mother was my father's sister-in-law.

    "Your dad, Hollis was a very special man. I had a lot of respect for him. Especially when your mom's health was declining, and he would do the things she used to do. I miss them, and always thought of them as a substitute for my folks that died so early.

    "Mom's comment about your folks Hollis and Helen was the way she always referred to them. It wasn't Helen and Hollis. The family has been spread out, and don't seem to get together much."

    ReplyDelete
  11. Grandpa was one of those who must be classified as "a good man". He always made me feel welcome and part of the family. And he always wore a smile, even when there was a lively discussion.

    My last vivid was his 90th birthday. All of his great-grandchildren gathered to help blow out 90 candles (which took 6 people to light). A gentleman in Iowa had passed that week at 115, so I said Grandpa, you have have another 25 years ahead to enjoy. He replied that he had no desire for another quarter century.

    ReplyDelete