Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dad and Gabby

Tonight, I received this amazing e-mail from a student that dad taught and befriended at Hughen School in Port Arthur:

Dear Laurie,

I just learned from a friend of mine about the passing of your dad a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to express my condolences and sympathy for you and your family. I know that a great man like him is being greatly missed.

My name is Gabriel.....aka...your dad knew me as Gabby.

I am a former student of The Hughen School where I had the pleasure of knowing your dad from 1974 - 1983 when I graduated from High School and moved away to college. I was the first student to take swimming lessons from your dad when he first started the classes there, and kept attending the weekly two-hour swimming time every time he'd show up even after I had already learned to swim just because I really enjoyed "hanging out" with him.

Looking back on those years I can recollect the times when he always would do tricks and jokes to keep us laughing, while at the same time he would be teaching us not to be afraid of the water and swim...but most importantly he also taught us not to be afraid of trying new things, and to never give up even though we had the odds stacked against us just because we were supposed to be "handicapped".

And so I wanted to share with you the fact that I give a lot of credit to the success in my life to some of the lessons I learned from your dad during the times that I had the pleasure of being with him.

At the Hughen School we used to have a Drama Club where we would put on a full production play twice a year. It was in one of those plays that one time I had the honor of acting the role of a clown....and I remember your dad showing up for our two performances (Friday after noon & Saturday night) one hour before curtain time just to help me put on my clown make-up....and such is the memory I hold of your dad as the picture I am attaching with this e-mail to share with you and his days at the Hughen School.

That was the Mr. Red I honor in this message.

My sincere love to you and your family.

Gabby..... :-D

If you would like to find out more about Gabby you can visit:
Click here (online version of Gabby's book)
Click here (
Click here (
Click here (


Anonymous said...

Baby sis:
I remember Gabby very well. I went with Dad a couple of times to Hughen. I also remember seeing Gabby in the hallways at TJ when they began to main stream some of the kids. He's a great guy. Always smiling. So glad he's doing well

God Bless

Barbara said...

How wonderful to have this kind of surprise come to your mailbox! You knew your dad was special, of course, but it is always so welcome and wonderful to see the way our loved ones impacted others.

Susan in St. Paul said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad!

Anonymous said...

When someone leaves an indelible impression like that, you KNOW they've lived a life that made a difference. How proud you must be. And you should. I'm sure he's reaping his rewards as I type this.

Queen of the Universe said...

That was so nice. It made me cry.

Lorna said...

lovely tribute to your dad

Leslie said...

Oh, Laurie! What an incredible letter.