Knoxville, Tennessee, December 29, 1929—
Manlius, New York, June 21, 2014
Delivered in Syracuse, New York, June 23, 2014
Dad taught me to respect.
The way Dad treated—and Mom treats—others was and is a lesson in respect. The way Dad treated Mom, my sister, Sue, and me was a lesson in respect. Dad and Mom didn’t try to teach me to respect by telling me: they did it by showing me, by living it every day. The way Dad treated others was all the lesson anyone who could observe and absorb would ever need. Dad taught respect of more than people, too: the way Dad treated machines and tools taught me to respect and to appreciate fine machines, to care for them.
Dad taught me to give.
Dad was not an outdoorsman, despite his father’s love of hiking in the Smoky Mountains in Dad’s home state of Tennessee. Nonetheless, Dad volunteered as a Scout leader, joining Troop 21 on a number of memorable hikes, camping trips, and backpacking trips. More than his making monetary donations, what he did with his time taught me about giving. Mom’s the one who’s know for being active in the community here, but Dad was active in his own community, the antique car hobby, a community that stretched around the country and beyond. Everyone, everywhere in that hobby came to know Stan Marcum as the expert on ’33 Chryslers. Everyone, everywhere in the hobby could ask Dad for help, for advice, for ideas, and he helped, advised, and brainstormed with them, often finding parts through the Internet that no one else could find, frequently scrounging or adapting something from his vast collection of spares and scrap and making what he found or fashioned available to the person looking for that part.
Dad taught me to conserve.
Dad was a consummate barnyard mechanic. He learned his craft at the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station—the research farm—where he worked as a teenager. My Grandpa Sherm’s colleague Mr. Stanley ran that farm and, according to Dad, taught him how to fix just about anything with whatever you had. This was during the War, and on a farm, and, well, you just made do. Dad was a packrat, saving old printers and computers for their wire, assorted metal and plastic rods, and sheet metal, saving worn-out shoes for their leather—just in case he needed a make-shift gasket—saving the rubber o-rings from old oil filters—because you just don’t know when you might need that part or piece. More than this, though, Dad taught me to conserve money—not to be stingy, but to save and invest—and also to care for our planet through conservation.
Dad taught me to decide for myself.
Whenever I had an important decision to make while I was growing up, Dad—and Mom—let me make it myself. Certainly, they cared about the decisions I made, and they had their opinions, and they offered advice—when I sought it. They were not dictatorial, didn’t try to influence me unduly. They let me learn how to make decisions.
Dad taught me to live.
Dad was his own man, doing things his own way, giving life everything he had, getting from life all it had to offer that he wanted. His focus was very sharp, narrow, limited, but within that focus, he grabbed it all, and gave it his all.
Dad taught me to love, simply through the way he loved Mom, Sue, my wife, Barbara, my children, Joshua and Rayden, and me.