Yesterday, my family laid my grandfather to rest. He was 88 years old and a fantastic man. Pop was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago and with Alzheimer’s a few months ago. He finally passed away from a case of pneumonia, and while we will all miss him, we’re glad he isn’t suffering anymore.
William Henry Lohman, Sr. was simultaneously one of the most loving people and the crotchetiest old man I’ve ever met. As you can see in the main image for this post, Pop has always been a part of my life. That photo was taken very shortly after I got out of the hospital as a newborn. When I was little and we lived out of state, they came and did Christmas with us fairly regularly. When we moved to North Carolina, there wasn’t anything that we needed that he and my grandmother wouldn’t have done for us, including houses all of us at one point. I think both of them attended all of my band concerts, all of my brothers plays, and every concert or art showing any of my (many) cousins had. Up until he passed, there still was nothing that we could have asked for that, were he capable of doing it, he wouldn’t have done. The part of Pop’s life that was most important to him was his family – every single one of us.
He loved to dance – real dances, square dances and actual dances. He square danced for years with my grandmother, and was a square dance caller for one of the groups they were a part of. He tried to teach me to dance once when I was younger, but I was so unbalanced that I knocked both of us over several times, and that was the end of that. He loved to tease me and laugh about it. I also knocked myself over multiple times trying to learn golf from him. That says more about my clumsiness than his teaching, but both of those attempts ended with him saying “To hell with this” and grabbing a beer.
He really just loved to play pranks, tug hair and tease everyone about pretty much everything. Every time I wore shorts, with my pale, scrawny legs, he’d ask me in his most obnoxious voice, “Are those your legs, or are you riding a chicken?” There were other jokes and things, but I can’t remember any of them right now. He particularly loved kids toys that you pressed a button on to make them make sound. They were his favorite gift to get, every holiday. I think he probably collected 50 or 60 of them over the last ten years. He particularly loved to turn all of them on at once, turn off his hearing aids and then watch all of us scramble to try and turn them off, which of course was impossible without a screwdriver handy. He was impish and joyful with his pranks.
I’m so grateful for the chance to have gotten to grow up knowing Pop. I learned so much from him and grew up reading the newspaper at his table. He always made sure to tell me how proud he was of me, and I’m sorry that my future family won’t get to know him the way I did. We love you, Pop. Rest in peace.