A Belated Father’s Day Tribute

I’ve started this blog six times and have gotten stumped each time. When I start writing a story, an attribute, or a lesson from my Dad, Bill McGill, I have trouble. I do not know where to stop. There is much more to my Dad than the places he has gone, the lives he has touched, the awards of recognition and appreciation that cover the back hall in my parents’ home. Some words that would describe him are…

Teacher– In the 1950’s, after college, Dad and Mom began their teaching career in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I was a few months old. They were civilians, teaching and coaching on the US naval base until they saw that Batista was having problems with another guy, named Castro. Back in the States, Dad went to graduate school. Afterwards, he became a teacher and coach in high school and college, high school principal, the Superintendent of Schools, and now volunteers a day each week at school with a special needs class. He is still the ultimate teacher and coach with whomever he has an audience. A grandchild that mentions a science or history phrase can be tutored for an hour to get the full story. If you want a winning person on your Trivia team, you pick Dad.

Student– My dad is always learning. He has traveled around the world. He certified in teaching a new sport like scuba diving. He has written a book and developed a historical museum for our community. He is always growing. In the summers growing up, all six in my family, would head out in a pop-up camper to all parts of the United States and Canada. Dad didn’t like sterile trailer parks but was a big fan of any National Park or Forest. Back to our roots and nature! My Bill laughs because if an obscure park in South Dakota or Montana is mentioned, I yell out, “I’ve been there!” Today, seeing a Golden Eagle card can bring back all kinds of memories.

Leader– “Stand up and be counted”, “Make the right, honest and courageous choice”, “Be a leader, not just a follower”, are all words that ring in my ears. It did not matter if it was popular or not. One example: in August of 1966, Dad was principal of the high school when the state of Florida implemented forced school integration. All over the country, emotions were high during this difficult time. In our county there were serious threats and the school board wanted to bring in police and security. Police on school property was unheard of at that time. Mr. McGill said, “If I cannot handle this without police, then I don’t need to be here.” And he did handle it. I feel that racial reconciliation took bigger leaps in that area and period than at anytime during our community’s history.

Fun– Dad has so many interests: coin and stamp collections; gardening; greenhouses; different types of fishing and hunting; woodworking; involvement in all kinds of civic and church activities. Since retiring, he wonders how he ever had time to make a living. When asked if he is having a good day he always answers, “Everyday is a good day.” He looks at each day as being good and sometimes makes them exciting. Until a few years ago he was doing double back flips off the diving board while the grandchildren and lifeguards would hold their breath until he resurfaced. I can see him now walking around the yard on his hands. He loves to dance with my Mom , his daughters, his daughters-in-law, and his granddaughters, even though in recent years he has been plagued by serious neuropathy. He says now he walks like a drunken sailor on deck, but he keeps on going. Watching him dance at a recent wedding to “Big, Bad Leroy Brown” with anyone who was kin, will always make me smile.

I didn’t publish this on Fathers Day because I wanted my Dad’s message to be more than just his role as Dad and his interesting life. The most important part of my Dad, is that he not only believed the Bible, he applied its principles in his life with Christ’s power. In the 1970’s at a church missions conference, he was profoundly touched by the message. During that week he said, “Lord if you cannot take me to the mission field right now, will you use my children?” He was putting his most treasured possessions before God. Years later this has played out with all of his children, whether as a full time “job” or through their professions, their church or para- church groups. Anytime Bill and I ask my parents for advice or guidance their reply is that the good Lord will show us what to do. They never waver. So with this post Father Days blog, I want to honor my Father. Not only for what he spoke, taught and lived, but for all the people he has touched including, his children, grandchildren and now to the next generation, his four great grandchildren. My Dad is a strong man deserving lots of accolades. Yet, beneath it all, these words ring most true.

“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of man; The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Psalm 147:10-11

Dad, I think you will like the part about the, “legs of man”, as you keep moving! Happy Father’s Day!


2 thoughts on “A Belated Father’s Day Tribute

  1. Lindy,
    A beautifully written tribute to a fine man.
    Thank u for putting into words the many attributes of Bill McGill.
    My grandchildren benefit directly from the life principles followed by
    your Daddy as they were passed on to their Daddy. .
    My daughter does also through her marriage to Tim.
    We have always benefitted by having such a fine son in law who learned life’s lessons from your Dad.
    To God be the glory.
    Brenda Tabb

  2. This was a great tribute to your Dad, Lindy. It was so loving and truthful. You did a wonderful job expressing your admiration and love. Mom l.

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