“How fortunate are those who mourn for they shall receive the comfort of God.” – Jesus
I am writing this as I fly to Orange County for a very quick trip to join my family for my uncle John’s memorial service. My first thought when I hard that he had past away is the same thought I just had; “He was so young.” John was the youngest of four brothers. My dad is the oldest.
I have good memories of my uncle John. I remember him being at Optometry school in Chicago. He would come and visit us when we lived in Michigan, and I remember how exciting it was when he finally graduated. I remember the time when he and I drove in his VW Beatle across the states. We stayed at Motel 6’s and ate lots of burgers along the way. That triggers the memory of John flipping burgers at Fosters Freeze that was located a block away from where my great grandpa and grandma Murphy lived. I remember when John taught me how to play a couple chords on his ukulele. I have been playing music ever since. Soon after he introduced me to the ukulele he got one for me along with a “Mel Bay Teach Yourself Ukulele” book. I still can hear him sing, “My dog has fleas,” as a way to teach me to tune it. I remember many optometry appointments with him through the years. I’m sure I remained one his most challenging cases being such an extreme myope. I remember him telling me when I was in 5th or 6th grade that one day there would be an operation available that could improve my vision…an operation that I just recently had. I remember spending every weekend with John and Gayle for months in 1976 as I prepared for the Musical Americans’ tour in the Orient, and then I lived with them for the entire month before we left. While there John taught me about photography and even how to develop film. I well remember how John set up his optometry practice to be optimal for helping children with eye therapy. I remember how he loved his family and was so excited about the cabin on Whidbey Island where he and Gayle planned to retire. But most of all I remember and will always miss my uncle’s laugh. I really loved my uncle John and will be forever grateful for his imprint on my life.