In Remembrance of Ronal Scites…
Today, May 4th, was my grandfather’s birthday.
On this day, every year since I started this blog, I have been re-posting this remembrance. Thank you for indulging me as I take time out to remember the man who profoundly shaped who I am today.
(Two Bald Dudes – circa 1998)
Ronal Willard Scites was born in West Virginia in 1921. A true “hillbilly”, he went barefoot in the mountains. He would tell us story after story that ended with him getting a switch across the backside, whether from a teacher or his parents. Grandpa liked to get in trouble a little.
He served in the Philippines during World War Two and found his way to Detroit when he returned home. He married Betty DeRush and stayed together until her death in 1987. They raised two daughters, Gail and Renee and lost one son at birth.
Grandpa went to work for the U.S. Postal Service and was a mailman for over 25 years. Eventually his back, injured during the war, would not allow him to continue doing the job he loved and he retired early. That didn’t stop him though…he finally found medical relief for his back and would end up working for yet another 25 years in some respect or another.
He didn’t travel outside of the U.S. after the war, but saw plenty of this country from the driver’s seat of his Chevy Impala. I remember many trips in the back end of his power blue boat!
When I was a child, I started calling him G.P. and that remains my name for him. He loved that nickname and would tell all the neighborhood kids to call him that.
He bought me my first baseball glove and many summer nights were spent in his lush, green backyard playing catch! I’d always try to throw the ball as hard as I could to make his glove snap and see him shake his hand as he did a little “ouch” dance.
Grandpa was very involved in the local Masonic organizations. He was a Mason, Eastern Star, a member of Scottish Rite and a Shriner. Through him, his daughters were introduced to the Masonic fraternity through Jobs Daughters and his grandchildren through Jobs and DeMolay.
He was the first person I wanted to tell everything too…I lived to make him proud! To see his smile meant the world to me.
To this day I have NEVER had pancakes as good as those he made!
He passed away (NOW) four and a half years ago, but the hole in my heart still hasn’t closed. I will always miss him.
He wasn’t a great man nor a perfect man, but he was an incredible role model and I can only hope that I’m even half the man, son, brother, father, grandfather he was!
Looking through some items the other day, I found this interview I did with him for a class I had at MSU. Hearing his voice again, even with us discussing something like WWII, brought a smile across my face. I have attached it below. Please ignore my rudimentary interviewing skills…
I love you G.P.