Tri-Citians share stories of great dads

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJune 17, 2012 

KariAnne Deines Clark has a simple philosophy as to why her dad is extraordinary.

"I am certain it has a lot to do with his dad," said the Pasco woman. "One great man, who raised another great man, who raised me."

Clark, 36, credits her dad, Mike Deines, 63, with teaching her the value of integrity, responsibility and honesty. She also admits she spent so much time with him as a kid she couldn't help being a tomboy.

She cherishes those childhood memories.

"He taught me how to ride a bike, drive a stick shift and 3-wheeler, swim, fish, camp, shoot, build things and work on cars," she said. "He built me stilts and a playhouse, but he also showed me how to be a good person and work hard. Most of all, he taught me how to love."

Clark recalled the 1967 Chevy Camaro her dad bought for her in high school then helped her fix it up.

"I still have that first car," she said. "I can't bear to part with it because so much of that car is time I spent with him learning to drive it and work on it. His consistency and patience by showing me, and not just telling me, is part of what I do today as a designer/drafter. It's also part of who I am every day of my life. I thank God for blessing me with such an extraordinary man for a father, and I am further blessed he was raised by an extraordinary father of his own.

"My dad is simply the greatest, and so is my Grampie."

In honor of Father's Day, the Herald asked grown-up Tri-City kids to share some memories of their fathers and why they think their dads are the greatest. Here are a few from our readers:

Time to get a job

Clifford Brown, 62, says his dad's expectations were extremely high growing up, but they helped build his character.

The Richland man was 14 when his dad decided it was time for him to get a summer job.

"He took me out into the blocks, which are those farms (north of) Pasco irrigated by runoff from Grand Coulee Dam, and stopped when he saw a farmer in his field driving a tractor," Brown said.

Ben Brown, now 92, of Kennewick, then told his son to go ask for a job.

"I cried and protested but eventually stomped out into the field and made the poor farmer stop his tractor to talk to me," Clifford Brown said.

He didn't get that job, but he did find one later that day.

"My dad kept saying, you're not asking them for a favor, you're offering them one," Clifford Brown said. "Several years later when I dropped out of college at the height of a U.S. recession I got something like three or four good job offers in less than six months. All because I wasn't too shy to ask. I look back and think that was one of the biggest favors Dad ever did for me."

Gone but not forgotten

Athena Schepmoes, 29, lost her dad, Sylvester Macasieb Jr., last year. He was only 50.

"He showed me a tremendous amount of love," she said. "As I watch my two daughters grow up, I'm reminded about some of the important lessons he taught me, especially during my teen years."

Schepmoes, of Kennewick, fondly recalled how he always treated her like a lady so she would be savvy about how a gentleman should behave.

She also remembered driving on an Atlanta highway and getting a flat tire, and how her dad slowly drove the car to the off ramp to a gas station, telling her to never try to change a tire on the side of a highway.

"I heard once that most ladies have a hole in their heart in the shape of their dad," she said. "It was only after he was gone that I fully understood what it's like to have that part missing from my life."

One of a kind

"My father was 21 when I was born," said Angie Rada, 36, of Pasco. "When I was 9 months old my parents separated. A custody battle ensued and back then mothers were always the choice for custody. My dad had to fight a tough battle to prove he had my best interest in mind and that he could provide the best home and stable environment for me."

Ron Rada, now 58, of Burbank, won that custody battle, and his daughter, despite the fact he was missing his right hand and half of his left foot.

"He lost (those limbs) when he was electrocuted from a high-voltage power line (before she was born)," Rada said. "As far back as I can remember, my dad worked hard to provide for me and spent so much of his time focused on me and my happiness. When his friends were out at the bars chasing ladies, my dad was at home raising one.

"He is truly one of a kind. My hero and the greatest father a girl could ever ask for."

Gone fish'n

Some of Cheyanne Schneider's fondest memories of her dad are the early morning fishing trips they'd take on the weekends.

"Just remembering waking up so early and getting the sandwiches made and watching the sunrise while riding in the car is something every child should have with their dad," said the 21-year-old from Kennewick. "I hope that my daughter will think of my husband the way I think of my dad because there's no higher appreciation, love and admiration I feel for him."

"My father is the kind of man who would be there for you in a second, and the type of person you would always want on your side," she said of her dad, Patrick Fair, 44, of Kennewick.

"While I was growing up I never wondered if he would be there for me. I never worried that he would not make it to a field trip, and I never wondered if he would help me if I needed it. Many people would think their father is the best or the most wonderful but they would be wrong because my dad could top any of them."

Unconditional love

Brad Hasty, 50, remembers his dad as the guy who taught him that unconditional love of a child does not have to be biological.

He was 5 when his mother married Wayne Hasty, now 73, of Oklahoma.

"The main reason my dad is special is that he showed me unconditional love and treated me as his very own flesh and blood," said Brad Hasty of Richland, who carried that lesson into his adult life when he married a woman with four children from a previous marriage.

"Because of how my dad accepted me, I was able to accept my own step-children as if they were my own," he said. "And the great relationship I have with my stepchildren is in large part due to the example my dad set in my life. I have the utmost respect for him and how he raised me."

Forever grateful

Susan Hicks, 39, calls her father, Mel Siemers, 71, of Estacada, Ore., the most amazing man in her life, even though he is not her biological parent.

"I never missed a minute with my dad," said the Kennewick woman. "I'm not even sure how it came to be that Mel was my dad. I just know from the time I was born, that's how it was.

"The love he has shown me my whole life has given me everything a child and now adult could ask for in a parent. I am forever grateful to him and I love him dearly."

Pillar of strength

Laura Weber, 27, of Richland, has always looked up to her dad, Bill Hale, 54, of Kennewick, as one of the most sincere, honest, loyal and intelligent people she knows.

"I have learned a lot from my dad, but what stuck with me the most is the fact he taught me that when you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want," she said. "He always instilled in me that you must never let anyone tell you that you can't."

She brought his influence with her into adulthood, striving to maintain the responsibility for self that he taught her.

"My dad is a pillar of strength, the glue that holds our family together," she said. "He is everything I want to be in life."

Seeing double

Bill McCullough of Richland will never forget the day his twins Darla and James were born just before Father's Day in 1963 in the parking lot of what's now known as Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

A front page story in the Herald on June 16, 1963, described how he rushed down George Washington Way toward the hospital at warp speed because his wife Shirley had begun a hard labor.

He pulled into the emergency entrance blaring his car horn, but by the time hospital staff got to the car his son James was being born. They were able to rush his wife inside before his daughter was born.

"It was really the greatest Father's Day gift ever," McCullough said.

McCullough had five other children at home when the twins were born.

"I have Father's Day 365 days a year," he said. "And a wonderful wife of almost 64 years. I am one happy and blessed fella."

Exemplifying patience

Kennewick sisters Michelle Dolven and Kristy McKinnon speak highly of their dad, Steve McKinnon, 62, of Kennewick.

"He has always put everyone else's interests above his own, Dolven said. "We are also blessed to have him as a role model for our daughters, exemplifying patience, generosity and dependability."

They are as proud of their dad's patriotism as they are of his devotion to fatherhood.

"Dad is a Vietnam veteran with unwavering support for our country," Dolven said. "We always struggle with how we can repay him for all he does. He truly is one of a kind."

Always a hero

"My dad is a very humble man," said Cindi Evens, 55, of Kennewick. "He's a Christian man and loves God foremost. Everyone loves his gentle, generous, dependable nature, and they know his word is his promise."

Even at the ripe old age of 90, Bob Hilliard of Packwood has not slowed down. He chops his own firewood, and helps other senior citizens get to doctor appointments.

"Mostly, my dad is a great example of the way we should all lead our lives," Evens said. "Without judgment, laughing, listening and loving. He will always be my hero."

Spending time together

Brian Werst, 39, of Spokane, said he's one lucky kid to have grown up in a home where his dad, Ken, now 68, of Pasco, worked and his mom was able to stay home. But even after a long day at work, his dad always found time to be with him.

"Dad always made a point of doing what he could to spend time with me in the evening after he got home from work," Werst said. "We would often talk about everything, and he was always able to find out what was going on in my life."

Those father-son talks continued into adulthood and got them through some tough times, he said.

"I know I'm a much better person for spending time with my dad."

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