My father’s obituary was crafted the night and early morning of February 17-18, 2020 beginning at 9:00pm and ending at 2:00am. At the time, I was the primary caregiver for my mother who was suffering from dementia, which cemented her toxic personality into a mental prison of paranoia, rage, and mood lability. After I finished the obituary in tears, trying always to be perfect, never to miss a detail, my mother awoke me at 3:30am, banging on my locked bedroom door with a broom she held from the first floor, demanding her medications, demanding to call her friend, demanding I be as miserable and terrified as her. She then moved a metal cart across the ceramic tile for the next two hours in some bizarre attempt to do laundry. I never went back to sleep that night. I also never served as primary caregiver again. That was the beginning of the end of my role of thinking I could do it all. I am forever grateful for the private caregiver company Comfort Keepers https://www.comfortkeepers.com that was able to come in and provide 24 hour personalized loving care and supervision for my mother. They taught me about dementia, listened to my pain, and made the home a safe place for my mother for as long as she could maintain in the home. They saved this situation from imploding and I remain in awe of the care and attention they provided to this most unfortunate and challenging situation.
The obituary follows (names and personal details have been changed to protect our family’s privacy).
Harrison Steves, 82, of Middletown, USA – February 10, 2020
The family and friends of Harrison Steves are mourning the great loss of their hero, protector, provider, brother, father and husband. Harrison was born June 21, 1937 in Brentwood, Missouri to Wallace Steves and Nellie (Lumierere) Steves, the firstborn son of what would be a family of four siblings. Dad was the embodiment of service, duty and life long learning. He was an Eagle Scout, and served his country with two tours of duty in the Army. Having three younger sisters, he made being a big brother a priority. He attended Gold High School and graduated in 1955. Dad was a firefighter for Poducka, Midtown, and Airplane Corporation. He earned a BS from a prestigious University and an MBA from another prestigious parochial University and became Airplane Corporation’s first fire protection engineer. In addition to working full time, dad was also an associate professor of fire protection engineering at Local Community College teaching night classes for area fireman for 25 years. He retired from Airplane Corporation after 34 years. Upon retirement, Harrison did not slow down – instead he built a house on two acres in Middletown; their dream home and a source of great pride, with multiple beautification nominations, and Certificates of Merit for Best Park Like Setting and Best Rose Garden in the City. A lover of nature and animals, he arranged their property to meet the qualifications for a Certified Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, as well as supporting the State’s Conservation’s Arbor Program by planting over 400 cherry trees. Dad was a life long learner, obtaining his certificate in Spanish in 1999 and his EMT certification in 2012. He served as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) neighborhood volunteer for many years. Dad loved his dogs, finding joy in their sweetness, loyalty and trust; first Lucee, then Mollie, and current rescue pup Gypsy. He gave to his kids, his family, his community; he went out of his way for others, from rehabbing his daughter’s kitchen in New England to helping a neighbor obtain a college scholarship, to inviting his Spanish teacher to dinner for a home-cooked meal. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lois (Folle) Steves; son and grandson; two daughters; grandson and granddaughter; three beautiful baby sisters; and many beloved nieces and nephews. Most of all, Harrison loved Lois and did everything he could to give her everything she wanted, taking excellent care of her even with his own health decline. Dad never did ‘just enough to get by’. He went big. Every. Single. Time.
Thanks, Dad. I love you. I was lucky to be your daughter. May you rest in God’s peace.