Calvin N. Steussy

Calvin and Chris, 1978

Cars. Going to the lab and kicking the machines. Horse races. Cigars. Newspapers. Miga (his dog, 1967 – 1984). Playing tennis. House at Lake Santee. New Glarus. Watching football. Grilling steaks. Reading books; typically spy novels, history and biographies. Using multi-syllabic words when they were completely unnecessary (“Don’t be so lugubrious there, Nic-head,” Dad said during a tennis game Nic was losing.)

Calvin becomes a grandfather with baby Andy.

We didn’t normally think of Dad as a family man, but the smile on his face with first grandson Andy is certainly genuine.

Miga, Dad, Santee

My great stories of Dad? He saved me at age 25, diagnosing me with malaria after a trip to Thailand. I’d been suffering for weeks and none of the US-based doctors I had seen had been able to determine what I had. With that diagnosis and only a couple of quinine pills, I was cured from an otherwise possibly fatal disease.

When I was a child, he must have read me other books but the one I remember is sitting on his lap reading Yertle the Turtle. And, in elementary school, we played the States Game, where I would read off some statistics about a state and he would unerringly guess it within three to four datapoints.

Looking to the future, I asked him six years ago why his children were all shorter than he or Mom were. “They didn’t drink enough milk,” he told me. I mentioned this to Mom recently, who replied, “Oh, I so hated being forced to drink milk when I was a child.” Yet another Mom-Camilla link. My kids now enjoy a diet including four glasses of milk a day, with rigorous enforcement. This is information I can use!

Christmas, with poinsettias and literally hundreds of presents under the tree (we counted 160+ one year when I could count that high). Playing bridge with Mom and friends. Playing Jeopardy in the living room or on the back porch. Ping pong.

Chris and the 300

My travels with him.

Our trip to Baltimore to secure his first Mercedes, shipped from Europe. Going to New York in 1970, when he braved the surly taxi drivers, surlier waiters/waitresses and other busy people for us. The Alaskan cruise, July 1976. Switzerland, 1980. The Canadian rail adventure, 1982. His visit to me in Prague in 1992, to revisit the site of his army bivouac during the battle of Cheb 1945.

Transiberian Railway

There was another visit the following year to me in Moscow. Numerous visits to the West Coast, first to a condo in San Diego and later to our homes at Christmas time. The Steussy reunion of 2008, a vast success. The Freitag reunion of 2009, even more people for this one. Mom’s October crash, 2009, when my 86 year old father would make every conceivable, irrational, irritating and heroic effort to foster his own independence.

My first visit to Indiana with my completed family was April 3 to April 10 this year. It was the first time that Dad got to see his 15th grandchild, Veronica. It was three weeks before he passed away May 3.

Goodbye, Dad.

April 10, 2010. My very last picture of Dad. He's happy.

2 Responses to “Calvin N. Steussy”

  1. Lynda Alberson says:

    i enjoied this very much to me you are tall would hate to think how tall you would be if you had drunk milk I’m not fond of milk i drink more now than when i was young odd i drink more now maybe because i am not made to i enjoy your blogs

  2. Beautiful blog Ed.

    Dad told me that it was the horrors of war that made him go into medicine. He had been an English Literature major at Yale, but after what he saw in Germany – his buddy next to him being blown up and other events – literature didn’t seem meaningful anymore.

    So glad you and the kids made it to Indiana to see the grandparents for Spring Break – and great kayaking!

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