Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Tribute to William Fessler

A Tribute to William "Bill" Fessler
10/15/46 - 4/5/18

This is the tribute I wrote for my dad's Celebration of Life (funeral) Service on Saturday, April 14, 2018. It was read during the service by my good friend and music colleague, Nii "NiiBox" Mensah, as there was no way I was going to get through it.

I’ve only ever looked up to three men; my father, my cousin Dan, and Michael Jordan.
My father wore shoes I spent my life trying with fever to fill.
He was the model of a man I broke countless molds trying to replicate.
And my Dad was the bar I strategically placed each of my ladder rungs under, attempting to reach.
I never will.
But I came from him, I learned from him, and I inherited many of his greatest qualities and endearing traits…along with some of the bad and much of the “strange”.
So while I was scrambling to match his stride, my Dad was calmly just providing me with everything I needed to be a great man in my own right.
That’s who my Dad is.
The most incredible father and mentor I could ever have asked for.

My Dad was complex and calculated, brilliant and beautiful.
My Dad was simple values and humility, loyalty and love.
He was the serenity of a single drop in the ocean,
and the passionate dance of spinning galaxies.
He was special.

As a husband, father, grandfather, brother, father-in-law, uncle and friend, my Dad was happy and content. He deeply loved his family and friends, and accepted people for who and what they were. He had the uncanny ability to connect with anyone, on some level or another. Life was measured in moments and memories, stories and jokes, and smiles and laughs.
As an individual, my Dad was driven with an impassioned hunger for success and excellence. He quested perfection at every turn, and pushed himself to the limits of his abilities. Be it his career, collections, hobbies, or personal goals, my Dad raced the mirror’s reflection, undeterred by obstacles. He did this not for glory, but personal satisfaction.
I often marvel at how he mastered that balance. A symbiotic harmony of life; robust yet fragile, and not for the weak of mind and heart. My Dad was both sides of the coin, soaring free and unrestrained with each flip. But he didn’t leave things to chance. He knew every degree of the flight path of every coin flip. He was self-made, the sculptor and puppet master of his own destiny.

My Father took great pride in his career. His accomplishments and impact were monumental. And he absolutely loved to talk about his work. But when my Dad spoke about his career, it was never about his personal successes or accolades. It was stories of people, interactions, travels, new experiences, meals shared, and relationships formed.  That’s the character of a champion. And that’s how I will always remember my Dad. As a champion.  

My Dad was the singular spot in space and time where math met poetry, where science met art, where logic met compassion, and where life met love. He was the first and the last stitch in the intricate tapestry that hangs in all of our hearts. He was both sides of the coin, an invaluable coin we all inherited. And because of this, we are all rich with a wealth measured in moments and memories, smiles and laughs, and life-lessons and love.
That’s who my Dad is.

So thank you, Dad.
Thank you for your life.
And thank you for mine.
Thank you for being the man and father I look up to. For being an inspiration to live life to its fullest. To respect and cherish what truly matters, while never being afraid to chase dreams.

Thank you, Dad.
I miss you, and I love you.