Honoring the Dads in My Life

Hi Friends, With Father’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to share some stories and encourage you to honor those special men in your life. I was blessed to grow up in a home where my dad, Bob Swain, showed me a lot of love. And when I married, I added another dad in my life, my father-in-law, John Turansky. Both of these men have had a profound impact on me, and I have been blessed to be their daughter.

Carrie and her dad Bob Swain at the lake

Carrie and her dad Bob Swain at the lake

Bob Swain was just about the sweetest guy you could ever meet. He was soft-spoken and kind, yet also strong and determined, and best of all, he was a man of his word. Born in 1920, Bob grew up durring the depression and had his first job, selling apples from a wagon, when he was eight. As a teenager he ran track, did the pole vault, and became interested in airplanes and skiing. When he was 21 Pearl Harbor was attacked, and he joined the Army Air Corp. He fought in the Pacific during WW2, and he told some very chilling stories of dangerous situation and close calls.

After the war her returned to Portland, Oregon, where he married my mother, Dorothy Brown, and started his life as a husband and father. He worked for the Union Pacific Railway and volunteered as an officer in Civil Air Patrol, teaching teens about aviation and search and rescue. He also enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing, and often took the family along on these adventures.

My dad never let a holiday pass without buying a card or small gift to show he cared. Ever watchful, he kept a good eye on me and my brother Mark and made sure we were safe and protected. Dad was an honorable man from the greatest generation. He went on to heaven in 1986, and I still miss him. I am looking forward to a great reunion with him and my mom one day.

John Turansky with his grandson Jonathan

John Turansky with his grandson Jonathan

My Father-in-law John Turansky is still with us, although a stroke a few years ago has slowed him down quite a bit. John was an energetic pastor who planted several churches and discipled believers for almost 50 years. He memorized hundreds of verses of Scripture and preached countless sermons. But even more than all those things, I remember the fun family times we shared with him. He loved to play games, especially backgammon and card games. He also enjoyed traveling and liked to take his kids and grandkids on adventures. He is wise and thrifty, often saying things like:  “Do your homework before you spend any money.” And, “Turn off the lights.” He also loved to share practical advice with young people: “You don’t fall in love – you fall down stairs. You plan your love life.” And, “You’ve got to marry someone who is going places.” His most famous saying was added to all his sermons, encouraging us to apply what we’d heard: “So what— How does this apply to me?”

John has always been a great encouragement and support to us as we raised our children. His impact on our children’s lives cannot be measured. He invested love, time, and attention on each one, often making cards and booklets by cutting out photos from magazines to create funny stories or to illustrate Bible verses or topics. Even though he lived in Hawaii for many years, he would make the long journey to New Jersey to see his grandkids on a regular basis. When I think of John, I think of faithfulness, devotion to God and family, humor and creativity.

Happy Father’s Day to Bob and John and all the dads who give so much to love, protect, and provide for their families. May God bless you all and give you His grace for your role as husband, father, and grandfather.

7 thoughts on “Honoring the Dads in My Life

  1. That is beautiful Carrie. What a wonderful tribute!
    I learned things about your dad I didn’t know. I thought it was fun to hear of his selling apples from his wagon and John sold cucumbers and chickens.

  2. I didn’t meet my father until I was 50 years old. The two visits I had with him, plus the few phone calls I was able to make to him, are all the memories I have, plus a few photos. I learned that my father worked hard all of his life as a contractor and that my mother once yelled up to him to pull his pants up while he was working on a roof. My father had 6 daughters and no sons. The event that most impacted his life, and ultimately mine, was the death of his first daughter soon after her birth. Although he and his first wife had another child they never got over losing their daughter and could not hold their marriage together. Their divorce allowed my father to meet my mother and fall in love. Although my parents were never married they both admit they were in love and would have married if other circumstances hadn’t prevented it. Meeting my father was like putting in the last piece of a 1000 piece puzzle. I prayed for a long time to meet my “real” father and meeting him proves that God really does give you the desires of your heart.

    • Hi Terri, thanks for sharing more about your dad. I’m so glad you were able to meet him and get to know him. That sounds very special.

  3. These are lovely tributes to such fine and honorable men, Carrie. I loved seeing the picture of you with your dad–so precious!

    Thank you for sharing these memories!

    We enjoyed a lovely Father’s Day with our daughter, Elisabeth, and son-in-law, Tim, who are expecting their first child. It was a happy and proud moment when the pastor this morning asked fathers to stand, and my husband and Tim stood side by side. The child God is knitting together in our daughter’s womb is so real and lively, we can’t wait to meet her on the outside! This unique Father’s Day in our family has been one to remember.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Cathy! It really made me smile to think of Dan and Tim standing side-by-side in church on Father’s Day. : )

  5. Hi Carrie: I just happened across this article today, after learning that Pastor T passed away this weekend. I loved the tribute to your dad as well as to your father-in-law. Pastor T was an amazing man, and I’m thankful that I knew him. He led me to the Lord, and baptized me. I will always hold a special place in my heart for him.

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