Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tribute To Richard Fink

Good morning.  I have a heavy heart for some extended family today.  I'd like to share some of those feelings with all of you.

Growing up in a somewhat rural area meant not having a whole lot of other kids living close to me.  However, I was blessed beyond words to have the Fink family a short distance away.  All of the kids were older than me, some significantly so, but for some reason they took me in anyway.  In many ways I became the kid brother, kind of like the ones that would suddenly show up in a sitcom once the main kids weren't as young and cute anymore.  I hung around the house for weekends and summers on end, always feeling welcome and loved.

When speaking about people, we often overuse words like "larger than life" or "one of a kind", but Richard (the Dad of the family) was truly those things.  But he was not a boisterous person, in fact he was quite the opposite.  He was genuine, honest, and quiet to some degree.  What he said had purpose.  Once you got to know him you could find a gentle side that liked to laugh and tell the tales of his experiences.  His stories would be captivating in their unbelievable nature and yet you knew they actually happened.  Once he would finish the story he would shrug and give an almost boyish giggle as though to say "I'm amazed by it too!".  Despite the simplicity he showed on the outside, there was a terrific mechanical genius on the inside.  He told me once that he would get a job at the machine shop he owned that he didn't even have a machine capable of doing.  So he would lay awake at night and picture the process needed to make this certain part and he could design a new machine in his head, and go build it. 

I was incredibly lucky to have been part of Richard's life, and the entire Fink family's life for that matter.  He was so patient and gracious having this young twerp hanging around all the time, yet I never felt he looked at it that way.  He taught me to ride dirt bikes, took me for motorcycle rides, and let me hang with him at the mountain cabin.  We bowled together for a number for a few years and he got to know my wife and son.  As the years went on, the family moved from state to state, but we still kept loosely in touch.  I last saw Richard at his 80th birthday party.  He should have been ashamed of how good he looked for that age!  We wrote a few letters.  The last we spoke was a phone call 5 years ago when we had our 25th Anniversary party.

The last few communications with him I made it a point to tell him that his friendship and willingness to essentially adopt me as one of his own was one of the most important things in my life growing up.  I hope he understood that.  I hope he understood that as I got older I looked back on that relationship with him and the entire family as a true gift that is beyond any earthly value. deserve a very special place in heaven and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for every story, and laugh, and adventure that you provided me.  God speed.  Love, Tommy.

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