A Tribute To John

John Ostermeyer 22nd May 1925 - 16th November 2010

Andy has spoken about the man most of you knew as John but, of course, he was known to Jane, Sara and myself simply as Dad.

 

I am not giving any family secrets away when I say we were not a materially wealthy family when we were growing up.

 

But that did not matter one iota, as we were raised in a loving, caring environment and wanted for nothing apart, perhaps, for a pair of football boots.

 

Dad wasn’t the stereotypical “hands on” Father - but that was because he was invariably working long hours, more often than not having a part time job in addition to his main job.

 

However, this meant Mum was able to be at home to look after us.

 

I think it’s from this, the three of us learned the importance of hard work and the family.

 

Now this may be hard to believe but I was a very stroppy, bolshie teenager. Yet despite my being an absolute pain, throwing many tantrums, Dad was invariably tolerant and patient.

 

Indeed, looking back over my childhood and teenage years I can only once recall Dad smacking me and, if memory serves me correct, that was only because Mum told him to.

 

One of the traits I am most grateful for was him being a lightning conductor on the many occasions I was in trouble with Mum.

 

He did not need to - but he frequently put himself in the firing line in order to take the flak away from me.

 

Earlier this year I was researching our family tree and, to cut a long story short, managed to track down Dad’s sister Daphne, with whom he had lost contact and not seen for almost 50 years.

 

This led to an emotional reunion last August.

 

In the past weeks, my cousin Pat and I have both said how pleased we are that we managed to get them together that one last time.

 

Anyone who saw them sitting together that day, holding hands, smiling and chatting could not have failed to have been moved.

 

For me, it was just a very small way of thanking Dad for all he had done over the years.

 

Dad’s decline in the past few months has been difficult for us to watch. It must also have been immensely frustrating for him, yet I never once heard him complain – that’s the sort of person he was.

 

We are so grateful he was pain free until the last week of his life and even then the pain was very quickly managed.

 

On behalf of the family I would like to thank all the staff at Jubilee House. Without exception, they did all they could to make his final days as comfortable as possible.

 

I would also like to thank his GP, Dr Bella Caiger, for the way she has looked after both Dad and Mum over the past years, she is what I call a proper, dare I say, old fashioned GP who treats her patients as individuals not just a number.

 

Although he rarely said it to our faces, I know Dad told others he was immensely proud of all Jane, Sara and I have achieved …… we cannot ask for more than that.

 

He loved our respective spouses …. Kevin, Dave and Ann . . . who, in turn, also loved him.

 

As well as being our father he was a proud Grandfather to Megan, Laura, Sian, Josh and Elliot.

 

Last but by no means least, he was husband to our dear Mother – Viv, or as he called her Vivie.

 

Granted nobody could say they were lovey-dovey, touchy-feely couple. That does not mean there was not something special there.

 

As the country celebrates 50 years of Coronation Street, it could be argued Dad and Mum are Portsmouth’s own Jack and Vera.

 

As Mum said to me last week, “people think we were always arguing, that wasn’t the case and we did love each other.”

 

Just six weeks ago they celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary – I think that tells you a lot.

 

And we have all witnessed some very tender moments between them in last few months.

 

I am going to conclude with something of a rarity …… and let Dad have the final word.

 

The last words he said to Mum, which had those of us present in tears, leaves no doubt as to their feelings for one another when he looked at her and said … “you have always been beautiful.”

 

 

© Paul Ostermeyer 2006 - 2017