Barb Petsel's Story

PACE Class - 18 June 17

My dad was a New Yorker, and I hear all the time people putting down New Yorkers. I loved him because he was a New Yorker, and he broke that stereotype by not being a harsh person at all. He also was born in 1910, and his name was Adolph Beckman, and he looked German. Having the name Adolph was a tough roll for him.

My dad had passion and kindness and his dad died of cancer when my dad was 15. His dad was a smoker and at that time they didn't realize the correlation with it. His dad had the bottom of his jaw taken off.

My dad grew up with 1 sister and 1 brother and they moved from one school to another, depending on where they could live, so his sister skipped up a grade just to hurry up the process when they moved because they didn't have computerized records.

When he grew up, his mother said "You've got to go to the South, because they have a Southern gentle way down there." So he moved to Atlanta, and met my mother, who was a Southern Tennessee woman. She talked with a slow Southern drawl, and he rattled quickly like a New Yorker.

But I remember he taught Sunday School for years with the 5th grade, because he felt they needed some help and guidance, and he would practice, and this was in the Baptist church as well, and he had grown up Lutheran, but he told me "It doesn't matter what denomination you are because God's in every denomination and all over whether you go to church or not. It's how you live your life," and that's the example he gave me.

So he would practice his little 10-minute talks he would give every Sunday on me and I critiqued it for him as far as being a kid that would give it to him.

But he would make cards for people who were ill. He would speak and go visit people in the hospital, because he was comfortable and he had grown up with somebody who had the illness. He would make so many funny jokes but he loved to make people laugh. I mean he would write them letters and make home-made cards out of cardboard. They were 3-dimensional, or they were animated and you would open it up and it would be like a 3-dimensional thing. He was very creative.

He never did sports thing and wasn't a dad in sports because he never had that opportunity growing up. But he really loved God and his life exemplified that.

He was even president of the downtown Dallas Rotary, and I never knew that, until after he died, because I found this plaque given to him.

He was very, very humble but he said the most important thing was we treat everybody the same. At his funeral I had a man come up and he was the vice president of the company where he worked and he bragged about my dad and another man came up and bragged about my dad and he was a custodian and I thought John and George were the same status in the company and had no idea of the difference. Whenever we had furniture or something to get rid of, he would always call the custodians and have them pick it up and give them our past furniture or other things.

He lived his life although he was not preaching about God a lot. He didn't say a lot about religion but he lived it. And at his funeral so many people told me how much he had influenced their life about Christianity without saying a word about religion.