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.