by Mayor Tammy
Fall is in the air – having grown up with a dad who had been a football coach that always meant football season. There is a lot that is learned on the football field – but there are many learned in the bleachers as well. I watched my dad from the bleachers but also standing on the field beside him; he taught me many life lessons during that time.
My dad unexpectedly passed away this month. As my family gathered last week to plan, reminisce, laugh, cry, and honor this giant of a man it was easy to remember this man of faith who so loved The Lord - the family patriarch – husband, father, grandpa, ggPa, brother, uncle, and friend. After cleaning out closets, organizing the garage, and digging through files, helping mom put things in order - we learned more about our dad as a veteran, coach, entrepreneur. We sure wish we would have cleaned the garage with dad by our side, to gain greater insight to the treasures these files held. There were letters of application and reference letters; education documents (bachelors from Idaho State University and masters from the College of Idaho), Air Force military records and pictures; his 1961 Borah High School football play book; and photos of the years as a coach of football, basketball, wrestling, golf, and track.
My dad, Dick ‘Coach’ Bartlett, was a confident and proud man. He had a booming voice – I lovingly tell people that I don’t need a microphone because my football coach dad taught me how to project my voice. His voice was distinct. In fact, during my first term as Mayor I held a get together at my house. As it turned out, one of our Directors attended school at Borah High and had my dad as his Government teacher. He heard dad’s voice before seeing him and stopped in his tracks and said, ‘Mr. Bartlett?!’ Guess my dad was memorable. At Borah, he was known as ‘Boom Boom’ Bartlett.
Coach loved his students and his student athletes – he believed in them, sometimes more than they believed in themselves. I had one of his former basketball players, that went on to play professionally, meet with me a number of years ago to tell me what a positive impact my dad had on his life – lessons he had passed on to his sons. He was always a teacher, but also a mentor. My first job, was working with dad as I did bookkeeping for a logging company in Bovill, Idaho. He also roped my sisters and I into many of his entrepreneurial ventures – what an experience!
My dad loved family. He loved my mom. The traditions that my parents held as we grew up are still being practiced today. It was easier when we were a family of five, then we added son-in-laws, kids and grandkids and our family gatherings became more complicated to accommodate. But we wouldn’t change it! My sisters and I have no doubt our dad was proud of us – everyone has told us this. He was also proud of our husbands. He passed on his love for Christ, his passion for gardening…but maybe not his love for flipping through sports channels watching 3, 4, or 5 games at a time!
What I have learned through this time of loss, is the love of community. I have realized the first hand impact of the generosity of friends and colleagues dropping off food, the healing nature of flowers, the sweet impact of the sharing of memories and words of comfort, hearing stories of the loss of parents from others – and learning through them. As we consider the quickly approaching holidays – make plans to visit your loved ones – no matter how long the drive. You will be glad you did.
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