It is a very strange experience watching your role model and the man I have looked up to my whole life step back and retire.  I don’t know what to expect.  It is a rather dramatic change of life for our family.  Hard to believe things are slowly being handed off to my generation.  Of course my Dad deserves to retire and he has served with honor and integrity in his legal profession for 42 years.  I just see him as the best at what he does.  How does the best at what they do walk away?  When do you walk away?  I don’t know the answer to it and not sure if I will ever retire.  It is a privilege and a true opportunity to retire at your own choosing.  Dad has a previous law partner collapse and die at his desk.  It is certainly no way to die.  As Dad shifts gears, I know he will be honoring God in all he does.  He will be investing in areas he has not had the time for and spending quality time with my Mom.  I am sure he will use his gifts as a mediator in many ways, maybe even professionally in some part-time capacity.  It is for him to decide.  He has set the example for us all and now it is his time.  Here is my letter I wrote to him last week.

Dear Dad

Hard to believe you are retiring.  You are and have always been the one I look up to most in my life.  My role model and the greatest man I know.  Few have earned retirement like you have.

Like Jason, I too learned much about you working at the law firm and going to various law offices for many years.  Over and over again people kept telling me you were the real deal and best lawyer they knew.  Secretaries, clerks, lawyers kept telling me, the runner, what a great man my Dad is.  Not only what a great lawyer you are, they would say over and again what a kind and compassionate man you are to all.  At both the law firm and the court, I was amazed at how you cared for and knew EVERYBODY including janitors, clerks, runners, and maintenance people!  Even a couple months ago when Emma and I were riding the court elevator, a kind janitor recognized Emma from your office and said “hey Emma!”  He said everybody loves Bill!

I read a quote this week which reminded me of this.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. – Abraham Lincoln

You are truly the real thing Dad.  A man of integrity, an outstanding lawyer, and a true man of God.  You have set the bar very high as a father, as a husband, as a man of God, and as one at the top of their profession.  I pray one day to somehow get close.

Thank you so much Dad for the example you have set for us.  Thank you so much for “treating us like men” when we were just young boys.  You are the epitome of a real man who serves, loves, and takes care of his family.  You have truly shown us how to do it and we have learned from the best.

I pray retirement is all you hope and wish it to be.  You deserve it.  I pray for many healthy years for you and Mom.  Hope we will be able to spend a lot of time together.

Love you very, very much.  Could not be prouder of you.