We have a lost a member of my extended family. Exactly one week ago, while my girls and I were having fun at a 4-H event, a member of my family lost her husband. Members of my family lost their father. Members of my family lost their grandfather. The community of Salem also lost a great man. He was an educator. He was a man who believed every child could make something of themselves. He was a man who was known to pay graduation fees for seniors who couldn't afford too. He was a man who loved to go to his beach house and watch the ocean rise and fall. He was a man of strong faith. This man was a teacher, a vice-principal and a principal. He helped start a new high school and acted as their principal for the first few years of its existence. He was also a man who believed in fighting what some call the impossible fight against the ravages of methamphetamine. He worked with state legislators to create the Methamphetamine Strike Force. He was a man who came out of retirement to act as an interim principal at not one but two different schools. Finally 15 years after his first retirement he tried it again. This time it mostly stuck. He was a man who believed in the betterment of humanity. He sat on the board of the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley. A man who a man who loved to cook and was known to cook authentic Italian for 8 for fundraisers. He was a man with a strong sense of right and wrong. Anything that might harm a child was definitely WRONG. He was a man that based his work decisions on what was best for the children under his supervision. He was a family man. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a grandfather. He parented with strength and compassion. He raised two wonderful children who are now great parents themselves. He was someone his grandchildren looked up to and respected. He was a man who will be sorely missed by many, many people.
While he was a relative by marriage only and a "shirt sleeve" relative at that, I really respected this man. He had several token sayings. A couple of his favorites were "Pressure makes Diamonds" and "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way". This man, the husband of my mother's cousin, was a man that the world is poorer for losing. He was relatively young at only 68 and there was so much more he might have done. I learned more from talking to him a few minutes at a time over the years about parenting, kids and life, than I have from spending hours and hours with many others. I wish I had gotten to benefit more from his knowledge as my children would be the better for it.
Guido Caldarazzo, you were one of a kind and you will be sorely missed.